When I was younger, going to the dentist meant being told I had cavities. No matter how well I brushed my teeth, they functioned as veritable sugar sponges and filled with holes. I followed all of the dentist's advice and brushed religiously, singing a song as I brushed to ensure that I was cleaning long enough, but nothing helped. My teeth looked at fluoride and its supposed effectiveness and laughed.
Now that I'm older (just slightly though) I do not have cavities each time I visit the dentist. However, stop your celebration because this does not mean that my pain is over. Don't make me laugh a crooked, numbed mouth awkward laugh. Here's what happened...
This August, I was lucky enough to finally get dental insurance through the Army. (Wow, aren't they so nice? I almost forgot that they were war mongers!) I went to the local dentist, meaning a dentist in Korea, and I was told that I could have all sorts of work done at no cost to me. It was a jackpot of sorts, and I felt lucky. This feeling soon dissipated.
The dentist informed me that many of my silver fillings from my youth had mutated into broken trouble spots. He said he would have to redo them in gold, thereby making me look awesome, as well as redo some smaller white fillings. I smiled and nodded. Then he pulled out the mask.
I am used to a dentist wearing a mask during my visits. In fact, it would be strange if the dentist was not wearing one. I might think, "Um, hello! What do you think this is? Some sort of disease party?" I like the dentist's mask. It makes me feel comforted. I am NOT used to wearing a mask myself. And this was no normal mask. What it looked like was an opaque green cloth with a large hole for my mouth. I'm going to draw a picture:
The mask was meant to protect my face from spraying water, but what it actually did was make me feel claustrophobic and like I couldn't breathe. Not a good feeling, especially when water is running down your mouth and the dentist keeps telling you to "relax". Yeah, buddy, I'm going to relax when I can't see and feel like I'm suffocating. Good advice.
I suffered through four visits to the dentist to redo fillings. Three of the visits hurt immensely, and the fourth one just hurt a little bit. Today was my last visit to the dentist for a while (hooray!) and I was delighted to be well numbed for the fillings. Chin-Hwa was delighted to see that I couldn't smile right due to the after effects of the shot. Here's a picture for you to enjoy:
The moral of the story is brush well and often, unless you're me and then you just have to go to the dentist frequently.