Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – November 17, 2004
A Killer Smile – Woman Of Teeth
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – November 17, 2004 – This is the day. I cleared my calendar of appointments and finished everything that needed to be accomplished by noon, then headed down town to see Peter my dentist. The plan for the day was a mere two hour appointment, during which the dreaded temporary bridge was to be removed and the final, ten months in the making, permanent bridge would be smacked into place – giving me my long awaited “killer smile”.
Peter came into the treatment room and we went through our usual banter before I stretched out on the reclining chair for step one of my dental beautification. The freezing came first. Always the nasty bit. Soon my face, from my upper lip to the top of my head, was numb. I opened my mouth and Peter pried off the temporary bridge, leaving me once again a picture of feminine loveliness. Well perhaps not loveliness – instead a babe with no front teeth.
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a great leveller to have no teeth. My upper lip folded in on itself and I drooled when I rinsed out my mouth. You’re probably thinking you don’t need this much detail, but I’m just preparing you for future eventualities.
I had already told Peter that this bridge had better stay in place until I no longer need teeth. It’s made of a metal frame coated with porcelain, so I think there’s a good change that it will outlast my aging body, and if my mind goes first, I won’t give a twist about my smile anyway. Now was the moment for the unveiling. I had my first look at my new teeth. They are white (but not too white), straight, even and sparkling. It would only be a matter of half an hour and I’d be skipping down Wellington Street grinning at every passing person, and pointing out my new chompers to anyone who cared to see them.
Peter fitted the bridge into my mouth, pressed it firmly in place and stepped back to admire it. He said, “Try smiling”. I tried, but I had no idea if I was being successful or not, because my face was frozen solid. I attempted in vain to manoeuver my lips into a reasonable facsimile of a grin, but to no avail. Peter said, “Here let me help you”, and put his fingers on either side of my mouth and drew my face up into a wonky smile. He handed me the mirror and I had my first look at the new me.
I was prepared to be mesmerized. Instead I noticed the significant gap between the top of the bridge and my gum line. “Disappointed”. Peter said, “Well the lab doesn’t always get it right on the first try. I’ll just do a bit of tweaking and send it back to the lab for the final adjustments”. “Tweaking”, I thought. “Okay, this won’t take long”. I learned that tweaking can be a very slow, deliberate process, involving string, putty, pliers, drills and retractors.
The moral of the story is – never trust your dentist. He doesn’t mean to be a dirty, rotten liar – but he is. Tweaking cannot be rushed. With my jaw aching and the temporary bridge once again cemented into place, I left Peter’s office “fully tweaked – but still frozen” at four o’clock.
I still don’t have the smile of a screen siren, but I’ve been told that early next week I will have my last visit to the dreaded fifth floor of the Flat Iron Building, where my smile will be transformed from plain to dazzling. Is Peter to be believed? Just because he’s married to the lovely Lisa and the father of two divine daughters, doesn’t mean that he’s trustworthy.
I think he’s secretly video-taping my toothless humiliation for eventual release at the Market Square theatre. Probably a compilation of stories chronicling modern day “dental intrigue”. I’ll be front and centre in the lead role of Gummy Bear – the story of a middle-aged woman hell bent on having the grin of a goddess during her declining years.
However, I remain expectant about my prospects. By God if I can’t have the body of a babe, the lifestyle of the rich and famous, a house on The Bridle Path, my own T.V. Show, a black Porsche, a vacation spot on the Mediterranean, six horses, a cook, a butler, a personal trainer and a thirty year old lover with a six pack and a welcome shortage of brain cells – then I’m going to have a great smile – guaranteed!