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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dental Dummy

This morning I had a dentist appointment, and I have to admit that I was more than a little apprehensive. Mostly because I haven't been to the dentist in about five or six years. Yikes! I know that's a long time and that I shouldn't have let it be that long, but for years I was without insurance, and I was also incredibly lazy, so I just didn't go. But because I am now among the insured, and because I am trying not to be such a procrastinator about such important stuff, I called yesterday hoping to get an appointment in the next few weeks, and to my dismay, they fit me in today.

So, the first question the hygenist asked was: "When was your last cleaning?" I was embarassed to admit that it had been years, and when she looked at my teeth, my plaque build up confirmed that I had spoken truthfully. For the next thirty to forty-five minutes, she ground away at the disgusting plaque with her little tools and I could feel my gums bleeding (weaklings!). In the end, after she polished and flossed my teeth, and they were sparkly, clean, and smooth, I also noted how much bigger they looked: Apparently, there's a lot more tooth there when it's clean. Anyway, I humbly submitted to her chastising about regular visits and cleaning and swore that I did not want gum disease and, therefore, would come back in December for my next check up.

Thankfully, I didn't have any cavities (an amazing feat for someone who visits the clinic so rarely; the dentist seemed impressed by the quality of my teeth; he should be -- I grew them myself). But I know I have been bad about visits, and I honestly do worry about gum disease, more so than rotten teeth.

I read not too long ago in a "Time" article about health how keeping up with regualr dentist appointments and cleanings can extend your longevity and improve your overall health, and it's easy to overlook the chompers. We get so concerned with the food we eat that we tend (or, at least, I do) to forget the teeth that have to chew that food day in and day out. So, I guess I should start making a real effort to floss (I'm a good brusher, years with braces taught me that, but I hate to floss) so that next time the hygenist can praise my teeth and gums instead of spend half her morning scraping away at them.

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