- Testicular cancer
- Dental issues related to wisdom teeth
Statistically, if a man hasn’t had to deal with any of these three things by the time he hits his Jesus Year, he’s in the clear for the next 33 years. I’m a little past my Jesus Year, and I’m happy to say I’m free and clear of all three of these. My dentist, however, sees things another way.
I chipped a tooth about two weeks ago and took that as a sign to finally get to the dentist for the first time in, uh, a little while. It was an incredible experience because I discovered that the way I’ve been brushing my teeth since I was six—using the method a dentist showed us in school–is been absolutely the worst way to brush one’s teeth. It was a revelation, and I’ve been attacking my dental health with the fervor of the converted.
But, again, there’s the problem my dentist has with my wisdom teeth. I’ve got all four–had ’em since, what, I was 12? 13?–and my teeth are neither pained nor crowded.
“You may want to consider getting them out,” he said to me while demonstrating the difference between my highly functional mouth and some model chompers straight out of a Kardashian look book. “Teeth should do this”: he slid the model’s top and bottom in different directions to show how the teeth slide over the incisors and then the cuspids. “Yours do this”: he rocked the top and bottom back and forth, grinding over the wisdom teeth and molars, incisors and cuspids never touching. “Besides, it’ll be easier to clean, and you’ll feel so much better about your smile.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was supposed to have body issues with my mouth” is what I would’ve said if he hadn’t loaded my mouth up with gauze and that sucking thing that kept catching on my tongue.
It was a blatantly naked play to get me to pay for expensive dental surgery that left me a bit more shocked than I think I should’ve been. What other non-cosmetic medical professions (and I say “non-cosmetic” because this is a goddamn dentist! somebody who’s supposed to help keep you healthy) recommend surgeries whose only real benefit is that they help you fit in with the wider cultural norms of beauty (well, that and there’s less of you to clean up after at the end of the day). I think the closest thing might be a gastroenterologist saying, “Listen, this small intestine biz? You got too much of it. If we take out a couple of feet, food will pass through your system faster, meaning you’ll absorb less of it, meaning your poop will come out easier and you won’t have to use as much toilet paper. Plus you’ll feel so much better about your figure.”