You get to a certain point in life and there aren’t that many “first times” left for you to experience. You’ve already had your first day of school and the other milestones both significant and unremarkable that define a life.
And as you reach the middle ages, you realize there are a lot of “firsts” you are never going to experience. If you haven’t yet danced the lead in The Nutcracker, well, your calendar probably won’t be filled with rehearsals and fittings come the fall.
To everything there is a season. And that isn’t necessarily all bad. I mean, I am not exactly crushed by the knowledge that no matter what terrible things happen in the world, there is no chance — none — that I would ever be drafted into the military.
Anyway, despite the many medical diagnostics and interventions inflicted upon my various body parts, I managed to reach a rather mature age having had no more than a cursory acquaintance with the dental profession beyond the biannual cleanings.
Some people don’t believe, but I never even had a cavity. For this we can thank twice daily brushings and fluoridated water. Don’t tell the kids, but it is only on rare occasion that I bother to floss.
Full disclosure, in my late 20s, the dentist did discover an impacted wisdom tooth. Only one. Did I not mention I am a highly evolved being? In extracting the vestigial molar, however, the oral surgeon put me under a general anesthetic so it’s like it never happened at all.
In actuality, I wanted more dental attention. In a rare moment of vanity, I inquired about braces and whitening and other ways to smarten my smile. But the dentist suggested that if I would like to spend more money at his office, I should simply drink more Coca-Cola.
So, at my recent checkup, it came as quite a shock to learn that I had not one, but two cavities. To be clear, these particular pits were not the result of tooth decay, to which I remain immune, but rather “abruxion”. Grinding.
The development of these dents really should not have been a surprise. After all, I was diagnosed with Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) several years ago and have been wearing a mouth guard for more than a decade. Still, the cavity-prone years have long since passed.
There was no point to delay, so I made an appointment and earlier today, I had the cavities filled. I relaxed in the chair and declined any numbing agents.
I was not apprehensive. I mean, it’s not like going to the regular doctor where you have to remove your clothes. I did not need to worry they might think I was too fat.
Dr. Choudhury, who is not my regular dentist, approached me from the right and rear and put her arms around my upper torso, kind of like she was going to teach me to knot a necktie. My head, she cradled against her ample bosom.
Now, keep in mind that my mother did not hold us. Even had she had been so inclined, she lacked sufficient body fat for growing a bust.
So this was another first, this head against breast sensation. It did not bother me, but neither did it provide the comfort of resting my head against the firmness of a man’s chest.
On the one side, Dr. Choudhury triggered the drill. On the other side, her assistant started the suction. It felt a lot like a teeth cleaning, what with the whirring sound and excessive salivation and flying flecks. Except this time, it was not speckles of industrial toothpaste shooting through the air, but rather particles of my damaged denticles.
Though Dr. Choudhury and her staff complimented me on my bravery and fortitude, it didn’t feel like such a big deal. Maybe I am highly accustomed to pain and discomfort, but like so many other first times, I left wondering why so many people make so much fuss.
© 2015 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.