Thursday, June 8, 2006

good teeth, good life

"I don't know if I told you this at your last visit, but ever since you got married, you've seemed happier and happier," my dentist told me yesterday afternoon, after he was finished probing my teeth and checking my gums. "Life must be good."

"It is good," I agreed. But I was surprised to hear him say it. Not that it isn't true, but how does a dentist who sees me maybe 10 minutes every six months (not counting the cozy couple of hours we spent together when I got a crown) pick up on a vibe like that? It's not like I used to dish to him about my confusing love life or cry on his shoulder about how lonely it was to move to a new city all by myself. He must have picked up on something that didn't need to be said. Maybe it's like the pregnancy glow — people started to notice it before I was really even showing.

He's a 40-something guy with dark brown hair, eyes full of life and a wicked sense of humor. He always manages to make me laugh. I only know bits and pieces about his life, but he seems like a happy person. He doesn't wear a wedding ring, and I don't know if he has anyone significant in his life. I do know he has a cabin on the North Shore that he goes to whenever he can. I'm a little envious — even if it doesn't have indoor plumbing and he has to use an outhouse. He's Lutheran. (These things come up when people ask me about my job.) But he likes the Basilica — he enjoys going to concerts there.

He cracked me up when he first looked into the room where I was about to get my teeth cleaned. He wasn't supposed to see me until after my cleaning, but he happened to glance in as he walked by. And stopped. And stared at my midsection. "I'm sorry to stare," he said gleefully as he walked into the room, "but this is great! When are you due?" It was funny. He makes me giggle.

I got high praise, too, for the good shape of my teeth and gums. Much less bleeding, and much less plaque, said the dental technician, a woman around my age with two sons who works part-time at the clinic. That's because I've been flossing every night for the past month and a half! That's a record— and a new habit I hope I never break.

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