Now, let's get one thing straight. Anyone who truly knows me can tell you three simple facts about me right off the bat: I love God. I love my family. I HATE going to the dentist. Did I say hate? That's right. And I meant it. I hate going to the dentist.
Unfortunately, I don't have what you would call a "good track record" with going to the dentist. That isn't to say I don't go...I do!...but it never is cheap or easy or pain-free. Never. I always do the full brush/floss/rinse routine right before going - you know, we all do it. Even if you are religious about your dental hygiene, you still try your best to hide the fact that you skipped out on flossing that weekend your mom was in town, or that you totally didn't brush that night (or two) the baby was up crying all hours. Somehow we all think that a good "twice-over" with the Sonicare will completely fool the tiny mirror the dentist uses to scope out our little imperfections. Nope, never. We still go, get the "try to floss more often" slap on the wrist, and keep our fingers crossed that the worst is over.
I've been to several dentists over the years. I even went to one that guaranteed "no pressure or guilt" in the fact that I don't want to be told again and again that I must take better care of my teeth. They even served chocolate and wine (I kid you not) in the lobby. I think they were really just trying to conjure up more business if you ask me, but still, it was simply genius in a mad-scientist-with-a-nice-fireplace-in-the-foyer sort of way. Ah yes, that was back in the "elite dental insurance days"...memories.
Just a snip-it of my dental history: I've had cavities, endured root canals, chipped a tooth, and even had an extraction. And, I could pretty much go down in the Guinness Book of World Records (not that I'm trying) for the most wisdom teeth: 6 in total, all surgically removed. [Insert joke about having extra wisdom removed here.]
Yes, my poor chompers have been through the ringer. Until this week! I can't even remember the last time I went to the dentist and didn't get bad news. Maybe second grade? So this is a big deal for me. I'm pretty sure everyone in the waiting room could hear me yell "Really???" when the dentist congratulated me on having no cavities.
I am thankful for my teeth. It might be silly. But, truly, it's just another one of those things on the long list of items we all daily take for granted (i.e. socks, fingernails, toilet paper, the freakish fact that our skin just heals all by itself...). My teeth seriously effect my everyday life. I talk. I eat. I chew. I smile. Thanks, teeth. Way to go, God. Tiny squares of bone, right in the front of our faces - helping us convey feelings and emotions, verbal and non-verbal, and helping us nourish ourselves with each delicious bite. Pretty remarkable.
I have totally taken my teeth for granted. In fact, they've been a source of discontent for me. I endured the retainer/braces regimen throughout junior high, and yet, still have a distinct overbite that is all but signature with my smile. Yep, I know it's there. I know my front teeth buck out a bit. I know my bottom teeth are a little crooksy. I know, and I don't always like it. That's honest and fair. But, I also know that these teeth and I have been together a long time and hopefully will be for years to come.
Yes, this might be one of those sigh-and-roll-your-eyes posts that you think "Well, duh, we all have teeth, that's nice." But, seriously this moment to pause and actually think about it has made me want to care for them more. To stop and invest the time to floss a little extra or brush a little longer. I'm not just ensuring my no-cavity streak continues, but I'm also just wanting stop and appreciate God's handiwork. Teeth! Who knew!? And maybe the next time you take a bite of your favorite dessert, or sing your favorite song, or even just brush your teeth tonight...smile...and be grateful for those pearly whites.