OK, maybe I was just in for a cleaning. But statistics show that just thinking about going to the dentist is now the No. 1 killer in this country.
As the hygienist probed my gum line with a tool that would excite Hannibal Lecter, I wondered, "Why?" Why are we so afraid of going to the dentist when we’ll gladly kill ourselves with Big Macs, tanning beds and music from Courtney Love. (There is some debate here because Kurt Cobain’s calendar showed a dental appointment for the day after his suicide).
We see photos of the local dentist smiling and surrounded by his smiling family (but Charlie Manson had a family, too).
And here we have a PR nightmare—dentistry being invariably linked with Nazism. For all I know, I have a swastika carved into my gums.
And, of course, there is the brouhaha about mercury being injected into our mouths to fill those (imaginary?) cavities we had as kids. Mercury is a noxious element that when released into the bloodstream—from these cavities or from eating a thermostat—leads to a slow, painful death often accompanied by bouts of infidelity.
And how safe can dental X-rays be when my dentist takes the pictures wearing a welding mask and lead body bib? Between the radiation and mercury, I’m surprised I’m not asked to rinse with hemlock.
At the office I’m always lulled into a false sense of complacency with the soft jazz, the gurgling aquarium in the lobby and the pastel painted walls around the chair.
I found out recently that authorities used to create the exact same atmosphere with another chair in San Quentin.
And if you don’t brush and floss regularly, those pesky bacteria will start loitering around your gums just looking to cause trouble until SURPRISE, SURPRISE, off they go, joyriding in your bloodstream until they run into your heart!
And then you drop dead.
So you have a right to be scared.
I also know it’s important to keep our teeth clean, but when watching Law and Order I’m always surprised at how the street thugs and hookers have the whitest and straightest teeth. (The hookers may work the streets and be strung out on crack, but their pimp has them on a terrific dental plan).
My teeth are only straight because about 15 years ago I finally got braces. I couldn’t take being called the Mouth of Lombard Street any longer.
So it really is a wonder any of us get our teeth cleaned or cavities filled or, heaven forbid, teeth pulled. (This pulling is prefaced by something funny to mask the pain—either laughing gas or Republicans finding a viable presidential candidate).
But not only are these dentists scaring us, filling us with poisons and threatening us with death if we don’t stop in at least twice a year.
These dentists are also devious.
They even invented Halloween.