Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Workaday World XI
I went to the dentist this morning, leaning into the bitter North End cold and waiting awhile in the lobby because the fellow ahead of me had been 35 minutes late because of traffic. While waiting, I read the Wall Street Journal, and in today's Personal Journal there is not just one, but two articles about tooth care.

The Cranky Consumer Works on Its Smile
We test five tooth whiteners, from gel to dentist's chair; fighting the drool factor

Toothbrush Wars: Study Gives Buyers Much to Chew on
A power brush that twists removes more plaque than one that shakes

Speaking of drool, the chip in my lower front tooth -- a chip I got back in September while traveling -- seems to be OK, and I learned that enamel is "multifaceted." That means that it's got a series of cracks already running through it, and it's not uncommon for teeth to chip or flake. On the down side, I had quite a bit of coffee stain on my inside lower teeth, but the hygienist scraped it away without much effort.

On the scrape tip, does anyone else find anything slightly J.G. Ballard- or Crash-like about going to the dentist? There's the element of sadistic and masochistic artifice -- the scraping, the chair, the floss, the mirrors and lights, the devices you bite down on to hold X-ray film in your mouth. And there's the erotic undercurrent that comes from any situation in which you're being administered to -- hair dresser, nurse, dental hygienist.

Maybe it's just me, but all I think think about while biting down on the painfully awkward X-ray film holder was J.G. Ballard.

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