Thursday, May 16, 2019

Ole' Toothless Magee

A few years ago I had a dreadful dental experience that included hours of drilling, a dental dam that made it impossible to close my mouth for 3 hours, and an assistant who was not very conscientious about suctioning, so I literally felt like I was drowning while a drill worked its way down to the depths of my soul. Fun! All of my dental visits since then have just been for cleanings and I can handle that. I went about my life convinced that if anything went wrong with my teeth I would just let them all fall out and I could take on a kicky nickname like Ole' Toothless Magee. Well, one molar decided to test that resolve and broke clean in half in January. On a piece of pineapple. The most pernicious of all tropical fruits. I decided then and there that I didn't have it in me to be Ole' Toothless Magee and that I needed to find a new dentist and start fresh.

Enter Dr. C. He was on my list of providers, had good reviews on Yelp, and his office was less than a mile from my home. There is one very important thing you need to know about him: he's a Disney fanatic. I mean, every inch of his wall is covered in Disney memorabilia. His biggest dream is to purchase an old People Mover car and put it in his lobby. He works at Disneyland on the weekend as a canoe guide. Wait, I'm going to repeat that because maybe you just skimmed over it: he's a 50-something year old dentist with two practices who works at Disneyland on the weekend as a canoe guide because he loves it so much. I mean, I certainly do love Disneyland and I have often thought it would be fun to be a Jungle Cruise guide, but that's after I retire and before I begin my life as a Palm Springs eccentric.

He also is the type of guy who laughs at his own jokes. He thinks he's the funniest guy on the planet. This is what makes him truly funny, rather than his jokes. And I have to say, it's the best characteristic to have in a dentist. There was a lot of drilling for that broken tooth and I was really nervous going into it but once he started cracking dad jokes and then laughing his head off over them all of the nerves went away. 

But he took it to a new level yesterday. I had to go in to have a filling replaced which meant more drilling. (Fun fact: when my teeth are being drilled there is a very distinct odor of nacho cheese Doritos. Neither Dr. C or his assistant could smell it but I've smelled it every time. Is that what my teeth smell like on this inside? I want you to image the moment, because it's bound to happen, when I'm in a new situation and I'm a bit nervous and have to share interesting things about myself and I blurt out, "My teeth smell like Doritos.")(I digress.) When Dr. C came into the room he turned on a classic rock station, and you would think that listening to Welcome to the Jungle would be stressful when the drilling began, but it wasn't. It was actually kind of funny and very fitting. A few more songs played and then, near the end of the drilling, Cypress Hill's Jump Around came on. Now, this song is objectively great. Everyone loves it. And you can't sit still when it's on. But I was in a position not conducive to dancing, that being fully reclined in a dental chair with two pairs of hands shoving instruments into my mouth, one of them a live drill. And yet, when it comes on I manage to garble out "Yeah!" and start tapping my foot. Both Dr. C and his assistant start bopping their heads and mumbling the words through their masks. Then it gets to the jump-jump-jump part of the song and Dr. C removes the drill and starts jumping around. I'm lying on my back with the water thingy and suction still in my mouth, surrounded by Disney princess pictures, Jump Around is blaring through the speakers, and my dentist is raising the roof and laughing at himself, all with the smell of nacho cheese Doritos in the air.

I'm officially over my fear of the dentist.