She seems to have been expecting me somehow, as she motions for me to sit down on one of the couches or chairs. A few nervous patients are already there. They try to keep their eyes turned away from the closed, threatening doors leading to the dental surgery rooms, where the scary sounding high pitched screeching sound is coming from. Every once in awhile, I hear a muffled bang, or cry. One by one, the receptionist calls out the patients name; “Sarah Klein! ” or, “Devora Saks! ” Covering all the walls are dramatic “Before/After” photos.
They show yellow teeth, set crookedly in red raw swollen gums becoming perfectly white and straight. The walls are painted a clean white. However many different pictures of people with toothy grins look down at me, from newspaper clippings from over the years. I guess Im imagining it, but I can already taste the slightly stale, bubblegum flavoured gloves, the cool hard metal of the examining probe, and the chink clink it makes when it sometimes collides with my teeth. I can feel the vinyl of the reclining chairs, which are covered in plastic, and also which clammy legs have a habit to stick to.
In my mind I see the perfect teeth of my dentist, a great advertisement for his business. I watch as a little girl leaves the dentists room. In her mouth she is biting down on a big piece of white cotton, that is slowly but surely turning red. Her eyes filled with tears, she runs towards her anxious mother. A friendly nurse offers her a balloon for her good behavior. She isn’t interested. All she wants is to leave the office as soon as possible. She is tugging on her mothers hand as the nurse is giving her instructions on how to take care of her mouth.
She is given a long list of foods not to eat. Watching this is not helping my anxiety level A sudden tapping of high heeled shoes from the corrior awakens me from my day dreaming. I look up. My pulse quickens, and my hands sweat, and I start trembling from head to toe. I swallow the huge lump in my throat that has accumulated somehow. Blood is pounding through my head, but even that doesn’t help me tune out the dreaded words that I hear next; “Bassy Stein, Doctor Gross will see you now. ”