It's been five and a half years since I last went to the dentist. Something that is easy to check due to the compulsive nature of my blogging. I mention it here! It doesn't feel like that long. Even the dentist was surprised. I was three and a half months into the relationship with the woman who would become my first wife (we're still married, I just like to keep her on her toes) and a similar length of time into my slightly less long-running podcast relationship with Andrew Collings.
My teeth haven't been giving me any trouble and so I haven't bothered to make another appointment. I'd noticed that my gums were looking a bit ropey, but thought I'd better get a check up anyway. And though I didn't need any fillings my dentist said that my gums were in a bad state and asked me how often I flossed (I never floss). Although the damage is reparably my gums scored a 3 on a 4 point scale, where 4 indicates gums that are essentially fucked and incapable of holding your teeth in. I knew what this would mean (aside from me starting to floss them for a bit before getting bored and not doing it any more). I was going to have to go to the hygienist to have all the plaque and tartar and shit (not literally shit), that was puffing up my useless gums, scraped off. And blasted off with the sonic screwdriver thing that hygienists use. I don't really mind going to the dentist and I didn't have too much of a problem last time I was there when I had quite a big filling put in (i actually quite enjoyed seeing the massive gap in my teeth before the filling went in), but I hate having tartar taken off in this way. The sonic screwdriver (might not actually be a screwdriver) makes a horrible noise and the drill bit (might not be an actual drill) jangles against the nerves of your teeth and gums and your mouth fills with blood and occasionally you smell a smell that's like your teeth are on fire. Last time I had this done I absolutely vowed that I would take much better care of my teeth so I'd never have to have it done again. But this afternoon I had to return for a full hour of this torture to remove 5 years of scum in order to save my teeth. The lady who operated the light sabre was perfectly lovely and usually I would love a woman spending 60 minutes dipping foreign objects into my mouth, but this was like being in a very mild torture chamber. They didn't want to find out about a crime or terrorist act, they just wanted me to admit that I was a dick. That level of torture.
"I'm not a dick," I would have said, "I am one of life's good guys. I am running a half-marathon for Scope."
"Bring out the tartar remover."
"All right, all right. I am a dick. I am only running the half marathon as a self-destructive attempt to get some attention. I don't care about anyone but myself."
After she'd inflicted me with mild pain and left me literally spitting blood the hygienist gave me a lesson in cleaning my teeth. Like I was 3 years old and hadn't even learned to do that properly yet. To be fair I had been brushing my teeth incredibly badly and I learned a valuable lesson. It's amazing I have anything but bare inflamed gums in my mouth. But even though I vowed to turn over a new leaf to save my pearly whites I am pretty certain that I will return to my old lackadaisical, flossless ways again within the month. Even though my brain says I mustn't because it doesn't want to experience the bearable slight pain of the hygienist's array of ethical torture implements again.
I am a dick. See, I can admit it even when I am not being mildly tortured.