Dentist Appointment

My feet were kicking back and forth under the chair. The other people in the waiting room sat and looked down like attending a funeral. My mother sat next to me, reading a months old magazine about garden furniture.

“Don’t be so nervous.” she said to me. “It’s not like this is your first time at the dentist.”
It was the first time since we moved though. All the comfort in familiarity I built in the old office was not present here. In my mind, whether the doctor was going to whip out the scary heavy machinery or attach some contraption right out of a Saw movie to my head was not based on how bad my teeth were but on how evil the doctor was. It wasn’t illegal for dentists to be evil.

The glass door opened and a woman in white poked her head in. “Lena, please.”
“Do I need to come with you?” Mama asked.
I shook my head. I was scared of the doctor but I didn’t want him to know that. And I wanted Mama to think I was tough. I got up and followed the woman.
“Room 2, please. The doctor will come shortly.”

I sat on the torture chair and half expected restraints to clamp down on my limbs. Outside the window there was a short orange tree. Must be tough to mow the grass under it.

The door opened behind me and the doctor stepped into my view. He was older than Mama. He was bald but that did not hide the fact that his hair was graying. Black rimmed glasses sat on his nose that poked out of his face like the tip of an arrow shot through his head.

“Soo, hello Lena, you’re here for a checkup, right?” he said while washing his hands and putting on fresh rubber gloves. An assistant followed him inside and typed something into the computer behind me.
“Yes.” I said.
The doctor put a napkin around my neck, adjusted the chair and turned on the bright overhead light. He picked up the little mirror on a stick and the one with a bent needle at the end.
“Then let’s have a look, shall we?”
I opened my mouth to let him stick his torture devices inside. He hesitated to. “Huh.” he said.
He started mumbling to his assistant, an assortment of letters and numbers which were the fancy terms for individual teeth I figured.

Once he was done he paused again.
“Could you touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue please?” he requested. I did.
He looked behind me to his assistant. “Could you take a look at this?”
He’s gonna drill, isn’t he? The assistant walked around and looked over his shoulder.
“See, she should’ve lost more milk teeth at this age. The permanent teeth that are coming through aren’t shaped right either. We’ll have to x-ray this. But most bizarre of all, her tongue isn’t attached to her jaw at all.”
He made it sound like this was very bad. I wish I could close my mouth.
“You’re right, that’s unusual. But it’s perfectly fine, it just means she’s growing faster.”
He looked perplexed.
She saw I was getting uncomfortable and pulled his instruments out of my mouth and shoved him aside.
“Don’t worry, everything’s fine. You’re quite lucky even, I remained tongue-tied into my mid-teens, even after I got all my adult teeth. Still had to use my hands to hunt. Did your parents sign you up for a training course yet? The prey gets harder to catch every year. Now let me check if your jaw unhinges correctly.”

She took the instruments out of the doctors hands while typing something into the computer behind me with her long tongue.

The doctor jumped off his chair and ran outside.
“Aw jeez.” the assistant said. “I’m guessing we won’t see this one again either. We kept telling him he doesn’t need to be afraid of being a dentist.”