I sat back rigidly, trying desperately not to hyperventilate. The dentist's office is undoubtedly my least favorite place in the entire world. No matter how carefully I brush and floss, I rarely escape that dreaded chair without some type of bad news. To make matters worse, as far as I can tell, I rely completely on my mouth to breathe, so when someone starts tinkering around in there with spit tubes, metal instruments, and the like, things get really awkward really fast. Did I mention I have a terribly tiny mouth? Needless to say, my anxiety regarding all things dental is HIGH, but I digress...
Back to the chair. December 2011. First visit to my new dentist in Indianapolis. I have to keep consciously reminding myself to unclench my fingers from the side of the chair. Play it cool, Kelly. You've been flossing, brushing, and mouth-washing several times a day. It's going to be fine. BREATHE... through your nose.
Finally, after what seems like a terrible eternity, the actual exam is over. Now the next worst part begins: the bad news. The bad news went down something like this:
Dr. Dentist: "Well Kelly, that one molar* is remarkable."
*Two years ago I had my impacted wisdom teeth removed. Ever since then, one of the poor neighboring molars has struggled with bone loss. **This is only important so that you understand the context for the rest of the story, and so that you understand that I am VERY sensitive when it comes to that tooth.
Me: Temples are throbbing. Perspiration is forming. "Remarkable...? So it's awful then? Do I need to have it removed? Am I going to have to get a fake tooth or something?"
Dr. Dentist: "No, no. I didn't say that." Taking notes in his chart and shaking his head. "But for someone your age, that tooth is... remarkable."
Me: Confusion and concern really heightening now. I sit up in the still-reclined chair, trying to wipe the fluoride-spit mixture off the side of my face so that I can regain a bit of my dignity. "Dr. I'm confused. I think you and I have different definitions of the word 'remarkable'. When I use the word 'remarkable' it means 'extraordinary' as in 'I've never seen anything like that before', and you've said it about my tooth now twice, but you don't seem to think it's a big deal. IF I need to have the tooth pulled, just tell me. I can handle it." *It should be noted that I rarely use my hands to speak, but during this time I managed to remove my death-grip from the side of the chair and start flailing them around to help communicate my definition of the word "remarkable".
Dr. Dentist: Trying to cover his smile and not laugh at me. "Ok, Kelly, I think you're right. We do have different definitions of the word 'remarkable'. 'Remarkable' just means that it's worth remarking on. If it weren't worth noting it would be 'UN-remarkable'."
Kelly: Defeated. I slump back in the chair. "You can just give me the spit tube again."
Dr. Dentist: Laughs. "See you in six months. Unless something REMARKABLE happens."
The Good News: I didn't have a single cavity.
I think I actually look more awkward than this at the dentist.
*Pretty sure both of our definitions are correct.