Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wanted: My Gums (Also Answers to "Chops")

Traits I inherited from my momma:

The Bennett nose
The Bennett sour stomach
The Bennett curse which skips a generation (hi me!)
The Bennett antiqueing gene (it's sick!)
The Bennett big feet
Bennett youthful good looks (and if you are going to put up a fight we can just go with youthful looks, party poopers)

And, P.S., I am going to go out on a limb here and point the blame on the family with this one: Bennett gums.

I am my momma's girl.

When we were younger, my brother liked to tease me in that way that little brothers do, and tell me that I was adopted. It's beside the point that he still does it, because why let an inside joke die? But back when I wore tube tops and powder blue sneakers and stood with my hands on my hips with the pouty snarl, (yes, party poopers, kind of like I still do, tube tops and all), I would believe him for a split second. But all I would have to do is look at a picture of my mom when she was younger and see myself staring back as if to say, "Yes, honey, you are Bennett and not a Barnum or Bailey."

Now my dentist does not know of my Bennett lineage. The Bennetts are a classy bunch. They get written up in the Washington Post when they want to redecorate their beach house or celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary (can't find link but - really!). They are all musical - and I guess it is possible that there is a relative who plays the washboard with spoons, but I don't know of this very cool person, while the family might think otherwise. All the ladies wear scarves and antique broaches and like their gin and tonics. These are my genes. What I'm trying to say here is: We brush our teeth, y'all. Yet, my dentist has mistaken me for a descendent of the Clampetts, and not the Bennetts.

Let's break now for an oral hygiene history!

April 1971: A few days-old baby has her first jelly bean somewhere in the valley. Baby can't figure out if big sister was trying to kill "the thing" or make nice to little sister. But since the big sister is the sweet one, historians have sided with the Making Nice theory.

Circa1970's: Mean mother of Jelly Bean-Loving Baby forces the now growing child to visit a dentist once a year. Now the Jelly Bean-Loving Baby becomes addicted to bubble gum-flavored flouride treatment. Now looks at the dentist office as possible candy shop.

1980's: Ground-breaking study reveals that you need to visit the dentist twice a year so mother ups the visits. But still lets child go outside with no sun screen. Oh, and then mother takes what has become Gap-Toothed Child to orthodondist for braces to correct a Lauren Hutton space in the front teeth.

1986: Shortly before braces were to come off, drunk-ass guy rear ends car that Brace Face was residing in. The impact propels Brace Face forward who smacks her mouth on the back of the front seat. Braces slice right through mouth and require 200+ stitches in and out of mouth. High school boys starts to call poor child Mouth. Year book from that years recorded the phenomena. On the plus side, braces saved the Mouth from losing all her teeth and being a denture patient at the young age of 15.

Circa 1987: Braces come off! Teeth are in tact and straight! Now have to wear a big black retainer every night at bed time. Looks like Darth Vader and makes you breath like Darth Vader. But I don't think Darth Vader drooled like this.

1990's: After graduating from college and getting first full-time job with benefits meant getting dropped from paren't medical coverage and being responsible for own dental care. Jelly-Bean-Loving, Bubble-Gum-Flouride-Lover, Gap-Toothed Child, Brace-Face, Mouth, Darth Vader-By-Moonlight now becomes Rebel, and skips the dentist for a few years and manage her own oral hygiene. Discovers Act flouride treatment in the meantime.

Still 1990's: After a few years of living free from dental drills and shrills and, generally, things that go "eeeee!" with no chalkboards present, Reformed patient returns with tail between legs and resumes twice-yearly exams and cleanings.

Circa 2000: Discover the glory that is SonicCare when boyfriend re-gifts you one. This replaces the water pik of childhood. Also discover a dentist in drag. This is the first time you hear that your gums are receding so cross-dressing dentist takes measurements of your gums. Also introduces you to the "night guard" which is really the Darth-Vader retainer in a "cuter costume."

November 2006: New dentist comes to Cross-Dressing Dentist's practice and wants to treat me as new patient that she will now refer to as Clampett.

So, my gums are receding y'all. By mere millimeters. In fact, after her careful measuring, it was discovered they aren't really that bad at all. So I won't need the gum graph that scrapes the roof of my mouth and implants new gums. Holy burn-the-top-of-my-mouth-from-too-hot-pizza! Except no pizza in my belly.

But she still insisted on reasons why my gums could be skipping town (one could argue they don't like her and her preachy, condescending exams).

Possible reasons by the dental book, or science, or the Clampetts:
1. Not using an electronic toothbrush.
2. Not rinsing with flouride.
3. Drinking soda.
4. Drinking red wine.
5. Hmmmm.....

I'll give her the hmm, but I brush, floss, and rinse regularly. I don't drink soda that much nor red wine. Champagne and beer, but she didn't mention them.

My retort to help the girl along in her quest to find my missing gums:

Might it be a case of the Bennett gums? See, my mom, also has this issue - and since the dentist is putting me on the defensive with my oral hygiene or what she sees as lack thereof, I offer: but she takes even better care of her teeth than me. She instilled in my good oral hygiene!

So now I started her down this path and then she offers that maybe heredity, braces, and the jilt of the car accident - and the general shifting of teeth - all could contribute to my fleeing gums.

So she decides to close the book on the case and bill me $185 for this here "flouride consultation" anyway - because I guess she can't bill me for "patient schooled me consultation" - and wrote up a prescription to an over-the-counter toothpaste that, I ask, what is in this toothpaste that can't be sold over the counter? And, will I become addicted to potent toothpaste?

I can see it now: I'm a brush away from popping squeezes of toothpaste and a stay in the Betty Ford clinic where I room with Lindsey Lohan and discover that we are long lost sisters of the Clampetts.

Must patch up with the Crest White Strip.

2007: Receding gums hold out until Cross-Dressing Dentist takes them back.

No comments: