Florence Nightingale Syndrome

I'm a spoiled child. Not only did my husband work from home this afternoon so he could take care of me after my traumatizing morning dentist appointment, but I got to spend a couple hours curled up with my best snuggle buddy.

sickday_aud&diz3.JPG sickday_aud&diz2.JPG

Feeling sorry for me? You should be.

After all, I'm thirty years old, and until this year, I'd never had a cavity. Thanks to my Dad (Mr. Flossing-Every-Day-is-For-Sissies-So-Let's-Do-It-Twice-A-Day-And-In-The-Living-Room-So-As-To-Set-An-Example-For-The-Kids), I've practiced superior dental hygiene my entire life. And I put in that kind of effort specifically to avoid the trauma of the dentist's drill.

Now, my bid for dental perfection hasn't been easy.

When my baby teeth grew in, everything seemed all right at first, but then they wouldn't leave. While other kids got regular visits from the Tooth Fairy, my baby molars were digging in for the long haul. I had to get them removed manually by my dentist. Needles and Novocain; the whole nine yards. Problem solved, right? Hah! My adult teeth couldn't wait for the dentist to perform the extractions before they began squeezing in. No room? That didn't stop my teeth. They popped through the gums in all the wrong places, at weird angles, too. Snaggletoothed doesn't begin to describe me and my mouth back then. When I smiled, people cringed. Full-grown people with excellent manners. One grin from this gal and they headed for the hills. 

Then came the years of orthodontia. Oh, the orthodontia. Two phases of braces. Head gear. Neck gear. Rubber bands to correct an overbite. A dollar jar to punish me--er--motivate me when I forgot to put the rubber bands in. Removable retainers, then a permanent retainer. 

Exhausting, isn't it?

Basically, I spent a full decade sitting in one of those reclining chairs, wearing a bib, and trying to keep my tongue from impaling itself on the orthodontist's gaffing hook.

Then, just like that, I was done. All the shiny, sharp pieces of metal in my mouth were removed. My teeth were in the proper order, facing the right direction, smooth and polished. It was my sophomore year of high school, and things were looking up. When I smiled, people smiled back... and they seemed utterly sincere about it.

Proudly, I continued to visit the dentist every six months for my routine cleanings. Got my A+ for hygiene. Got my lollypop. Left. Smiled at everyone in sight. Never worried. Never stressed.

Then I moved to Norway. 

Being lazy, I allowed the cultural confusion and shock to keep me from finding one of the many tannleger (dentists) in Oslo to clean my teeth. I waited two years. And now I'm suffering the consequences. Two of my rear molars happen to have a concave side; the better to trap food with and decay quickly, my dear. 

So, today I took my cavity in to get fixed by my very sweet Norwegian dentist. A filling. My beautiful teeth. He was going to take a tiny drill to my teeth. Teeth I had spent years pushing and pulling and rubberbanding around my mouth. Teeth that had withstood wave after wave of assault. Survivor teeth. He was going to drill a hole in one of my survivor teeth.

I made it. Shook the whole time, but pulled through. 

Thankfully, my filling is the same color as my tooth! I can pretend everything is still good. I feel like someone thumped me in the head a couple of days ago with one of those giant Q-tips the Marines use to train in combat. But mostly I'm just tired. I couldn't sleep the night before because I was quaking with dread. Unnecessarily, as it turned out. But I definitely don't want to do it again.

I'll be flossing tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. And the next... Oh, dear lord, I'm turning into my father. Help!

At least Disney knows what to do.

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This page contains a single entry by Audrey Camp published on May 16, 2013 2:09 PM.

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