Oddly enough, Maud and I were both at the dentist on Tuesday. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I like Dr. S very much, and I hope that she gets a personalized license plate for her new Mercedes-Benz SL that says DANAPD4THS.

The genesis of Tuesday’s visit occurred a few months ago when I noticed this jagged spot on one of my molars after I had two fillings. I assumed that she’d used too much composite and created some kind of overhang. So I mentioned it to the hygienist during my routine cleaning last week. “Do you think Dr. S could grind it down a bit?” It seemed to be catching a lot of food, particularly red meat, a problem that, though small, is somewhat of an eating deterrent for me. It’s a free country; why not demand unfettered access to red meat?

But when Dr. S examined the tooth in question, she furrowed her perfectly manicured eyebrows. “This isn’t a filling that’s causing the problem,” she said, cautiously. “Tell me, have you…bitten down on anything hard recently?”

“No.”

“Have you had any pain when you’re chewing food?”

“No.”

“Are you sure you don’t remember biting down on something really hard?”

“No,” I insisted, beginning to wonder if she suspected I was into pony play.

It turns out that I’d broken a tooth. Not bad or anything, but sheesh. The subject of my recurring nightmares, and I didn’t even notice when it happened. She looked skeptical.

She said that it would be easy to repair–it wouldn’t require a crown or anything; just some bonding material and whatnot. I didn’t even need to have Novocain if I didn’t want. So I went in on Tuesday.

“This is going to be a lot more complicated than I originally thought,” she said when she looked at the tooth again. Red cordovan leather seats! Harman-Kardon stereo! “I’m going to recommend that we use Novocain.”

(At least Dr. S is kind and generous about pain management. My dentist when I was growing up–an aging Austrian fugitive Nazi war criminal–would give me only one shot and no more. You vill hev to suffer, young lady! Perheps you hev decided to tek better care of your teeth from now on, jah?)

And then the party favors came out. Needles, grinding tools, high-powered water thingies, super-sucker tubes, clamps that resembled miniature car jacks, a Photon laser gun, little metal wedges, and dental dams. (So that’s what those are for!)

Dr. S cranked my jaw open and draped me with the plastic and giggled. “This is quite a sight!” My mouth as wide open as it’s ever been (and that’s including the time backstage during the Look What the Cat Dragged In Tour), I counted no fewer than 20 implements in use, most of them at the same time. I started to wonder if this wasn’t just a little game to see how many things she could fit in there. A human Oolong! Oh god.

After she completed the reconstruction, she took a look at my night guard. Again, she appeared concerned, turning the chewed-up plastic around in her hand. “Have you been more….stressed out lately?”

I really think she thinks I’m running a meth lab out of the apartment.

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