September 2nd — Not even an act of God could keep from me the dentist last week.  Which is a pity really, because I really, truly hate the dentist. 


I live in Charlotte, aka the City of Trees.  In fact, we have such a massive tree cover on the back of our house it’s hard to get a good read on the weather. And for 360 days a year, Charlotte is a great place to live.  But on those rare occasions when the rains flood and the snows freeze, it’s a real pickle.  Trees snap or fall over from the roots.  Creeks overflow.  Houses built in the flood plain flood (I know, people live in homes in a flood plain).  And traffic becomes so snarled and backed up it takes me an hour to get to my dentist’s office (which is a stone’s throw from my house).


So I stay in touch with the doc’s office to tell them it’s not looking good.   That I am boxed in my neighborhood by fallen trees, flooding streets and busted traffic lights.


And this what I’m dealing with every, single time I call.  “Good morning, thanks for calling Charlotte Family Dentistry and the offices of Dr. Tooth and Dr. Decay. This is Tiffany and how many I help you with your gums today?”  Seriously, cars are being carried off in the tides of Hurricane Fay and I’m on my cell phone every fifteen minutes with the world’s perkiest dental receptionist. 


And every time I try to rain check (sorry, I couldn’t help it), Tiffany is hanging in there.  “Keep trying, hon.  We have time to see you.”  Well, no wonder, everyone else who was scheduled to get their teeth scraped was smart enough to stay home on the ark.  In fact, when I arrive at the office of Dr. Tooth and Dr. Decay, everyone is standing around waiting for little ole me.  Including Tiff.  “Come on in, hon!”  


The weird thing about the dentist is that it doesn’t really hurt and yet…it really hurts.  My jaw aches.  My toes curl.  My shoulders are scrunched up.  And my ears are ringing from that freaky cleaning apparatus that sends sonar signals to bats, I’m sure. 


And my teeth are fine. 


Well, of course they are! When you’re 41, all your teeth have been filled with metal (or some sort of substance that will survive nuclear war).  And I have a lovely little root canal, too, that I picked up when I was 40 weeks pregnant with my first child.  Good times.  Anyway, there is little left to be done when it comes to my teeth.  Apparently, it’s my gums that are wreaking havoc.  Well, no wonder – when someone is paid to stick a small, insanely sharp fishhook in my gums to see if they bleed, I’d say havoc is wreaking, wouldn’t you?  Apparently, I need to come to Dr. Tooth and Dr. Decay more often…say every three months, so they can stick that small, insanely sharp fishhook into my gums to see if they bleed…or not. 

In case you didn’t read the memo – tender gums are bad.  They can cause all sorts of digestive, heart and internal issues.  And I thought bad breath was a problem.