“Very impressive,” she says, calling me ‘Miss,’ pronouncing my last name right on the first try. “No cavities.” She removes the shiny pointy instrument and returns it to the sea green paper on the small tray.
“Really?” I think to myself, but end up saying out loud. I hadn’t been to the dentist in years, I thrive on sugar cereal, and I love to suck on lemons.
She turns her eyes to me and, with a smile, remarks that I must have good genes.
“I’ll be right back,” she tells me. “And we can proceed with the cleaning.”
It’s funny how your tongue just can’t sit still while your teeth are getting attention. Like the kid in the class who needs to know everything that’s going on with everybody, and makes sure he’s the center of it all. While my teeth are being polished with the little pulsating device and the water is being sucked up by the micro-vacuum, my tongue is doing somersaults, carelessly bumbling into the equipment as if set free in a giant Bounce House. I feel a little embarrassed; I’m not a little kid, I should be able to control my tongue, to make it cooperate for this short amount of time.
“You doing ok?” she asks me. I nod. I’m glad she’s not the type of dentist who tries to carry on a two-sided conversation with me while I have six sharp silver objects protruding from my mouth. I realize that my eyes have been open this whole time staring into the artificially yellow light, and I worry that it might be freaky from the doctor’s perspective to have me watching her work, so I close my eyes lightly the way it is customary when you’re receiving a Swedish massage.
I may not have any cavities, but I certainly have accrued some considerably stubborn plaque, and it hurts a little as she scrapes at the gum line of the backs of my bottom teeth.
“Could you close your mouth please?” she asks sweetly. Then thanks me, when I do. She has me reopen and continues the cleaning. I don’t close my eyes right away this time; I take a moment to sneak glances at this woman mere moments away from my face, with her soft chestnut eyes, pink skin.
“You have beautiful teeth,” she says as my reclined chair returns to its upright position. Does she say that to everyone? She has certainly seen her fair share of teeth. I can’t imagine that is part of the exam, nor can I imagine that she would, as a medical professional, tell me something that she didn’t believe to be true.
“Thanks,” I say. It’s weird how we don’t see ourselves, how my biggest insecurity yields a not-at-all-required, yet delicious compliment.
“So, we’ll see you in six months,” the dentist hands me my chart. I meet her eyes as I take it from her precise hands. Her white lab coat hugs her curves, and between the large buttons, I can make out a tiny blue floral print top elevated by her generous breasts.