Torture in the Chair

The sharp, curved tool scraped the very roots of my existence until the tips of my fingernails dug into the palms of my hands, bruising my skin and drawing blood. She adjusted the light. More scraping . . .this time sending electricity down my spine. A tube squirt moisture . . . ice cold water . . . onto the white porcelain. I don’t know which hurt worse, the pointed metal on the roots or the cold water spraying on the thin spires. Once again the light was adjusted to illuminate the dark cavern so the torture could be continued. Squirt . . . suck . . . scrape. Finally, the gritty, minty paste twirled around each element, softly polishing the pearly surfaces. The pain minimized somewhat to a dull ache; the whirring sound replaced the jerky scratching. Peace at last. My fists released their tension, leaving imprints of my nails in the skin. She twisted the light once more and inspected, searching for wayward bits not visible to the eye. More cold water was sprayed, this time everywhere in the dark hole, erasing the calm with a violent jolt. Another tube . . . close, suck . . . the excess moisture was drawn forcefully out and down into the sewers below. The light grew brighter. More inspection. She reached for the pointed metal again . . . my silent voice screamed, “NO! NO MORE!”


“We must! It’s not all gone! It must be done!” The sharp, curved tool scraped the very roots of my existence; my soul lost the battle and died in the chair.


Somewhere in my DNA lives a gene that blessed me with receding gums. A birth mother, or donor sperm, passed along a curse known as periodontal disease. I’ve had two gum grafting’s over the last five months, the first one three days before Christmas. The surgeries take two hours to complete, and six weeks each of chewing on one side of my mouth, swishing with a teeth staining medicinal rinse. Having a mind of its own, my tongue searched out the sutures and played tag with them during every waking hour.


I’ve tried so hard to take care of my teeth. I floss, I brush with an electric Oral B, I have a tiny brush for in between my teeth, I have a smaller brush for the narrower openings, and I use Sensodyne. But there is always that dreaded tarter buildup the hygienist has to scrape, and this means disturbing the roots with that torturous metal pick. And the cold water spray . . . that can be worse than scraping the tarter. I think I am the only person alive who has to zap in the microwave such foods as fruit, pickles, salsa, and anything cold that normal people can pop in their mouths and chew away.


More grafting is scheduled for October. More nasty staining mouth rinse. More yogurt for breakfast, Ensure for lunch, and soup for dinner. And more teeth cleaning. Just give me some drugs and let me sleep while she tortures me in the chair.