Tomorrow marks the day I am allowed to sign up for Medicare benefits. That means I am within three months of my 65th birthday. I am very blessed that many things about my body don’t feel 64 years old. Not prone to make much about my appearance, as many of you who see me on a regular basis can attest to and wish otherwise, I saw an ad and thought, “Yes, I deserve that.” I made the decision to have my teeth professionally whitened. Not with the do-it-yourself kit, but with the LaserMouth Sandblaster 5000! Go big or go home, I say (possibly toothless).
All of my work is done over video chat now, so my smile is right out there on display, front and center.
By the time you reach 64 your teeth aren’t much to brag about. Mine, anyway. Granted, I still have all the ones in the front, but there’s a lot of fancy footwork, or should I say tooth work, taking place behind the scenes. My brother likes to call me Seattle Slew because I am the proud owner of a Triple Crown. Also, five root canals with their respective crowns and a tooth that decided long ago to go rogue and come in at a 90 degree angle. It creates a nice resting place for my tongue. My two eye teeth are responsible for the nickname “Fang” and the chips in my front teeth give me that Don’t Mess With Me mien.
So, with my daughter’s wedding reception approaching, it was off to the dentist with visions of porcelain dancing in my head.
The staff was welcoming, their enthusiasm about the procedure was contagious and the pain was quite unexpected. The ordeal began with an attempt to insert a device in my mouth quite reminiscent of something my gynecologist uses to hold open a different part of my body! Nonetheless I was strapped in, mouth guard inserted (looking like Wallace and Gromit) and the blue lights were upon me. Okay I can do this, I reminded myself. Remember being on the Tower of Terror and having no escape after that first drop? Hang in there. How long could it take?
After 20 minutes the sweet hygienist returned. Thank goodness the throbbing, stinging and sharp jolts of pain were over. I made it! She heaped praise on the results and announced that we were good to proceed to Round Two. Being rendered speechless by the apparatus in my mouth I was unable to express my feelings at that moment. I would have thought the tears in my eyes might have been a clue. Teeth of Terror began again. I quickly configured that 20 minutes would translate to about five songs on their radio. I kid you not when I tell you that the next song was “Killing Me Softly.”
I was able to put myself into a hypnotic trance for the rest of Round Two. The lovely hygienist returned, seemingly delighted with the results, and told me that most people go another round, but they report some discomfort. “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din” (Rudyard Kipling). I was done! The mouth speculum was removed, chapstick applied and my teeth glistened as I exited the building. It is well worth the occasional electric shocks I continue to feel. Vanity, thy name is Teeth Whitening! See you in another 64 years.