Went to the dentist today to get my permanent crown cemented and also a filling because apparently my oral vigilance doesn’t pay off. After the hygienist removed the temporary one and finished cleaning off the old cement, she must have noticed that my face had blanched because she withdrew the suction tube from my mouth and asked, "Are you OK?"
"Oh, I’m fine," I answered curtly. "Just trying not to let my tongue touch the old tooth. The one that’s a stub now? Kind of freaks me out."
The hygienist laughed. Not just a tiny giggle, but a hearty laugh, a Santa-getting-his-taint-tickled belly laugh. It was so unnecessary.
Later, when my dentist came in to do the heavy duty labor, she replaced one of the cotton logs that was resting against the side of my tongue. "That’s always the worst part, you know? The feel of dry cotton in your mouth."
Absolutely. It’s not the syringe pinching burning hot Novocaine into the gums; it’s not having two masked faces and two sets of hands hovering over and probing every cranny of the grill; it’s not that shit they use to fill cavities, because that tastes delicious, like a cup of molten dime juice; and it’s certainly not the money coming out of the pocket afterward because dental insurance is a joke.
It’s the feel of dry cotton in your mouth.