From bragging rights to fillings: The humorous story of my first adult cavity

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Up until last week or so, one of my bragging points was that I never had a cavity. Not one, not even as a child. And they say north of 60 percent of children get cavities. I prided myself on this and would keep it in my back pocket when I had nothing else to say, or I’d bring it up if I felt the person I was talking to thought they had better dental hygiene than me. It was a cool talking point, at least to me.

Two weeks ago even, I had a conversation with my girlfriend’s colleague about her first cavity at age 32. While I commended her on her run, I happily told her that I still hadn’t had one. At least up until that point.

Last week Tuesday, though, I went to the dentist for an impacted wisdom tooth. The dental technician checked my pained tooth, completed x-rays and proceeded to tell me that all four wisdom teeth would need to be removed. She then laid it on me that I had two small cavities and that those would need to be taken care of as well. That sucked, of course. And the pain of the impacted wisdom tooth was unbearable. The financial burden would hurt later on as well, but what hurts most of all then and now is that this seemingly friendly technician wasn’t all impressed when I told her, repeatedly, that “those tiny cavities are my first ever cavities and I’m almost in my 40’s.”

She looked a little confused more than anything and called for the dentist.

Finally, the dentist arrived. She told me the same, that all four wisdom teeth would need to be removed, that I have four small cavities and that I should floss more because she hates the way I look or something like that. And even though I knew she hated me, I proceeded to tell her the same, that “if you check my chart, you can see that I’m nearly 40 and that I’ve never had a cavity before.”

She was out for gold. And my money.

Those suspicions were put to the test a few days later when my dental health insurance — after finally getting back to me — decided that they wouldn’t cover the costs for any procedure at that location. So, I had to go somewhere new.

The same situation played out. The dental technician checked my teeth, confirmed my situation, called for the dentist who berated me for having cavities and for not getting my wisdom teeth taken care of earlier.

“Look, I’m in my 40’s and haven’t had a cavity ever before. Not once, not even as a child,” I said.

I was really trying to impress upon them the importance of the situation. And just like how I put my girlfriend’s colleague in place by frowning on her achievement, a second dentist had done the same to me.

So, I did what all defeatists do in the situation and left.

Not because I didn’t want to face the shame of my reality, but because American healthcare is a joke and they wouldn’t work on me without this or that. I’m still figuring out the California health care system post-pandemic.

But it’s ok. I’m fine. Because whenever a conversation veers towards dental hygiene, I do my best to steer the conversation towards something else, like how I haven’t had a pimple on my face in like 20 years, which, if I’m being totally honest, is quite an accomplishment.

One response to “From bragging rights to fillings: The humorous story of my first adult cavity”

  1. […] actually why I wanted to leave Missouri and finally did, because it gets so cold and the weather is so unpredictable. In fact, there’s […]

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