I had a dentist appointment this week. I was one of those kids who always had a cavity when I went for my checkup. Awful. So much drilling. So many amalgam fillings slowly leaching mercury into my system and making me even crazier.
But then when I was about seventeen, they just stopped. I didn't do anything differently. In fact, when I went away to college, there were probably a lot more nights when I was a little too . . . preoccupied? . . . to brush my teeth before collapsing into bed. But the cavities didn't return. I've had maybe one since I graduated from high school ten (gasp!) years ago.
The fear of the dentist, however, remains. I still go to the same dentist who saw me as a child. (Dr. Kincaid in Lawrence - look him up if you want thorough dental care mixed in with a strange sense of humor and lots of nitrous.) I also retain the sense of ebullient triumph when I hear those words at the end of an exam: No cavities!
One thing that always comforts me in the waiting room is this toy:
What are these things even called? I have never seen one outside of the dentist's office. I wonder if they are marketed specifically to dentists for some reason.