For Christmas last year, my mom and dad gave me $500 for new glasses. I told them I thought I would spend it on a trip to the dentist instead. My eyes and my teeth need attention, but I decided my teeth should come first.
I used to get my teeth cleaned every 8 months or so. I loved my hygienist and dentist in New York. And in Nashville, I went to the clinic at the Vanderbilt dental school. But I got out of the habit when I was living on the road, and since then I just haven't had the money. So it's been a few years. I take good care of my teeth, brush and floss religiously, but still...
So I took my $500 to the dentist down the street. He found a few cavities, nothing too big, and he decided he wanted to replace the enamel in some spots where my gums are receding. Fine. But the whole thing was going to cost about $1500. So I had him do $500 worth.
The price of the first visit, the exam, included a cleaning, but he said they do that after they fill the cavities. But since I can't afford to have the rest of the cavities filled, I don't get the cleaning that I paid for. I guess I could go down there and tell them I won't have the money for the cavities any time soon, so I'd like to cash in on my cleaning.
I'm embarrassed to do that. Embarrassed, I guess, that I'm so poor I can't afford to take care of my teeth. Worried that the people in the dentist's office will think I'm pathetic. As if it matters what they think of me. It seems every little stress in my life can be traced back to my feelings of failure.
Now, every day when I have to take my glasses off to see anything closer than 2 feet away, I am reminded that my teeth still need attention and I still need new glasses.