It’s no secret that I have no love lost for the medical profession in general: I don’t like psychiatrists, pediatricians, gastroenterologists, opthalmologists. Or that orthopedic doctor who thought that the best cure for my scoliosis outside of strapping me to a back brace was to lock me up in a painful submission hold that was supposed to be “physical therapy.” But if there’s any kind of doctor that wouldn’t receive Christmas cards from me this Holiday season, it’s a dentist.
I suppose my dad wouldn’t give Christmas cards to his proctologist, either, but I spent more than my own fair share of time on a dentist’s chair. Having had braces for the better part of six years meant that my dentist knew more about the sorry state of my teeth better than anyone else in the world, including me.
Because I had braces, my teeth required cleaning every appointment for the stuff a toothbrush wouldn’t clean. “Oral prophylaxis” is a fancy term for the dentist hovering above you picking away at your teeth with something off the toolbox of a serial killer. The saliva-sucking tube dries up your mouth and leaves you with the sour aftertaste of days-old sinigang. As you rinse and spit, you literally brace for the Hell that comes with adjusting the wires in your braces, and applying elastic bands that feel like your face is being ripped sideways by Hulk Hogan. Or that a new asshole is being torn right smack at your nose.
As much as I express my dislike for my dentist, he doesn’t fall short on expressing his dislike for me either. I come in late for appointments, and I don’t heed his advice on drinking Coke. So you can figure out what I felt when they finally took the heathen metal off my teeth: freedom, sweet freedom.