At Home Dentistry, Or, It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

eCrush is on a perpetual crusade against plaque. He’s so hyper-vigilant about oral care that on his Personal Hierarchy of Evil, I’m pretty sure cavities rank above Darth Vader. As a result, eCrush has slowly built up a tooth decay prevention arsenal. My medicine cabinet now contains two types of floss, prescription mouthwash I suspect eCrush acquired on the dental black market, whitening strips, fancy toothpaste which costs $9 a tube, and a toothbrush that needs electricity to work properly. Compared to his Mouth Shrine, my classic Oral-B is pathetic.

On Sunday night, as we were brushing our teeth, eCrush offered to let me use his swanky toothbrush.

eCrush (sort of like a playground drug pusher): Wanna try?

Me (all raised eyebrow): Ewie! No way. It’s got your germs on it. Sharing a toothbrush is a relationship line I won’t cross.

eCrush (shrugging as he put his toothbrush away): Better my germs than gingivitis.

Me (after a thoughtful pause wherein I seriously weighed the pros and cons of having dentures by age 33): Give me that!

After two minutes with eCrush’s Mach 9 SuperTurbo Whirly Gig Plaque Elimination Machine, I rinsed, looked toward the mirror and smiled pretty. But the reflection wasn’t the picture of oral perfection that I expected. Amidst all the twinkle and sparkle was my chipped front tooth, glaring like a big neon sign flashing “Dental Problem.” The Unfortunate Skittle Incident that caused the chip was months ago, but I’ve yet to get it fixed. And standing there, I couldn’t help but focus on it, all flawed and taunty.

While I admit that looking like JoBethBob and Bubba’s dental love child is not my idea of a good time, what are my other options? A good dentist is DC’s version of the Loch Ness monster: it may or may not be out there, but either way, a hell of a lot of people are looking. Trust me, I know. Dentists who are Metro accessible, believe in the copious use of calming drugs, and who take dental plans are closely guarded secrets around here. And when you find one, they are usually too busy capping the teeth of Congresspeople to accept new patients. That’s left me with months of chipped tooth glory.

So, there I was, smiling at the bathroom mirror, annoyed that one Skittle had so easily ruined the perfection that a lifetime dedication to flossing and two rounds of braces had created. I was cursing my front tooth, wondering where my mouth ranked on the Hick Scale, when I got an idea: I could fix my tooth. I mean, who needs a dentist when there’s a perfectly good manicure set, complete with nail file, just under the sink?

Seven Loyal Readers, this is your Public Service Announcement:

DO NOT ATTEMPT AT HOME DENTISTRY!

After I got the nail file angled into my mouth so that I could smooth the chip without sawing off my tonsils, I started to rub. There were a few wee flakes of tooth grit and then the most awful, squeamish feeling in the world engulfed my tooth. It was exactly like fingernails on a chalkboard. Except in my mouth. And then, suddenly, the Most Horrific Pain Ever radiated from my tooth into my entire head. I swear I felt it in my ear drum hairs. I only made it through half a swipe with the nail file before the pain had me hyperventilating on the floor. eCrush heard me whimpering and come in to investigate.

eCrush (at a loss): By all that is holy, what are you doing?

Me (still clutching the front of my mouth): Trying to file my tooth.

eCrush (clearly questioning how I came from a supposedly evolved gene pool): WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? YOU DO NOT HAVE A DENTAL DEGREE! YOU ARE AN ATTORNEY! AND APPARENTLY A DUMBASS!

Me (whiny): But I hate this chip and don’t want to look like Bubba and JoBethBob’s spawn anymore.

eCrush (in that self-righteous voice he gets): Well, filing your own tooth is something their inbred second cousin would do.

Me (still in agony): I realize that. Now.

And yeah, I still need a dentist.

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18 Responses to “At Home Dentistry, Or, It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time”

  1. pithycomments Says:

    My entire jaw is in pain just reading this. I can however, top it. Try getting a mouth full of fillings WITHOUT ANY FRIGGIN’ NOVOCAINE. Moi, bitter? Why do you ask?

    Colombian dentistry, FTW.

    Sweet Baby Jesus! I am never going to Colombia. Evvvvveeeerrrrr.

  2. Megan Says:

    That’s a little horrific. I’m still cringing…or maybe developing a tic. I go to Sterling Dental Center in Wheaton, MD (they have other offices, but I think they are all in MD). You could metro to Glenmont and then take a cab (I just looked it up and it’s 0,58 miles from Glenmont). I think cab fare would be worth it. Dr. Winkelman and Dr. Shon are awesome. Dr. Shon is easier to get in to see. Seriously…I read all the time…and have never commented…and if wouldn’t seem super weird I would offer to pick you up and drive you there myself…that’s how well you described the scenario and the pain I guess.

    Ohhhh! Fresh commenting meat! Thanks for the recommendation and the hypothetical ride and for reading this wee bit of the webbernets!

  3. laura Says:

    *shaking head*…

    This is a no judgment zone!

  4. lacochran Says:

    I, too, am an inbred second cousin. I filed my tooth a wee bit but managed not to hit the nerve. You have my complete understanding and my sympathies.

    Ha! I am not alone!

  5. Kevin Says:

    The absolute best, best, best dentist I ever went to was Jeremi Arroyo. He and his dad have a practice on 19th Street NW between L and M. Here’s their Web site: http://jarroyodds.com/index.html. They weren’t on my insurance plan, but most plans pay half no matter what. Seriously, they are really, really good.

    Ohhhh, so close to the Place of Lawyerly Things. Much investigate. Thanks!

  6. Laina Says:

    I live in Hillbilly Land and I would never even think of doing my own dentistry.

    That’s why you are my favorite Hillbilly Princess!

  7. Jen Says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but never commented until now… your dental woes have moved me to action.

    I have to tell you about my dentist! Check out Tsaknis Dental Associates at http://dentalbug.com. Dr. Tsaknis is AWESOME! I’m a nervous wreck at the dentist, and he’s so great. Seriously–check him out…

    Investigating him, too. And thanks for reading!

  8. Herb Says:

    No! No! No! No!

    Why didn’t I stop reading at

    DO NOT ATTEMPT AT HOME DENTISTRY!

    Herb, you know you had to keep going. So good it’s bad kind of thing.

  9. J.M. Tewkesbury Says:

    I’d love to recommend the dentist I had for a short time, but he makes the dentist in The Marathon Man look like a saint. So, scratch that.

    My favorite dentist was in San Francisco. I flew out once a year just to have him take care of my teeth, he was that good and he’d take any insurance I had. Then he retired and didn’t bother to ask me if that was okay. Bastard. Beyond that, I’m useless.

    A good dentist in this area is about as hard to find as an honest politician. The last time this town had one of those (an honest politician, that is), it was a lanky guy named Jefferson Smith in a fabulous little flick called Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Sadly, he was fictional. Like dentists in this town.

    Why do the good ones retire? Maybe I should consider going to NYC for dentistry…

  10. Sean Says:

    Although she is not that close to the Metro, I highly recommend Dr. Maggie Lee in Springfield. Even though I don’t live in that area anymore, I still drive the 40+ minutes twice a year.

    That’s dedication!

  11. Leon Says:

    Oh Gosh. OUCH! }ugh{

    Yep. Big ouchie!

  12. Stella Says:

    Holy Jesus. I guess enduring sexual harassment in pursuit of good dental care is child’s play in comparison: http://prayforstella.blogspot.com/2008/11/shameless-plug-for-sonicare.html

    I love that story and am tempted to haul myself to Georgetown just to use that guy.

  13. Gilahi Says:

    I once had a dentist offer to fill a “tiny, tiny, tiny” little cavity with no novacaine. He swore that it would be worth the “itty bitty amount of pain” to avoid having a numb face all day. He promised he would only have to drill for “10 seconds”. This was the longest 10 seconds of my entire life. Never, never again. If you’re going to be abrading my teeth, just go ahead and put me to sleep.

    Agreed.

  14. MTME, J.D. Says:

    You’ve given me the chills… the kind that can only be produced by chewing tin foil while wearing braces. Now I think we both need some nitrous!

    Or tinfoil on old style fillings. Shudder!

  15. lacochran Says:

    Wishing you a fantastic 2009!

    You too!!

  16. Rachel Says:

    Holy Lord! That sounds painful! *shudder* Tooth pain is my absolute weakness.

    Apparently, vanity is mine.

  17. Pages tagged "swanky" Says:

    […] bookmarks tagged swanky At Home Dentistry, Or, It Seemed Like A Good Idea … saved by 8 others     xxxMayChanxxx bookmarked on 12/31/08 | […]

  18. LiLu Says:

    Eh. I’d do it.

    And that, my dear, is why we are just so good together.

    Luvs your guts!

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