Humility is a Dentist’s Chair

February 11, 2021

As a martial artist, I have been punched, kicked, head-butted, elbowed, and knee-ed all over; thrown and smashed in grappling matches on the mat; been donked on the hands and head with wooden sticks and knives; and been drenched in sweat and sucked wind from exhaustive functional fitness workouts; however I am of the opinion that from a mental toughness perspective, there may be no more grueling exercise than getting fitted for a night guard at the dentist’s office.

Yeah, my “I can take anything” mentality met its match this morning. I’m apparently a nighttime teeth-grinder and my dentist recommended a custom night guard so I don’t chaw the enamel off my teeth as I sleep. I have a boil-and-bite guard, but it isn’t doing the trick, so I opted for the office molded version, not knowing that taking the impressions for the thing would make my dentist’s office sound like the Spanish Inquisition.

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself; perhaps if they had told me in advance that they were going to be putting a moose-sized dental tray in my mouth over-filled with pink putty that would spill out of the tray and start to ooze down my throat as the dentist and her technician held the thing in my head, I might not have drooled and gagged like a Saint Bernard trying retch up a bottle of ipecac.

But alas, what to expect was not disclosed and they had their hands full…literally.

I like to think I was a good sport and what made it all the more entertaining was that they were so sweet. As they mashed this stuff in my mouth they told me my response was completely normal and simultaneously yelled at the office Alexa to play something calming to keep me from yacking up my breakfast. So, from this day forward “I Wanna Know What Love Is” by Foreigner will no longer remind me of Miami Vice, but rather the sensation of being waterboarded by my own spit.

After what felt like an eternity (I’m a firm believer in dentist chair time dilation theory) and two failed attempts, they were somehow able to get useable impressions for my top and bottom teeth…yaaay.

The dentist told me I was lucky I hadn’t been there a week before b/c she herself evidently went through the same ordeal as me, but didn’t fare as well (they had to try on three separate days with her), so I guess I did alright overall. But I’m confident I’ll never need to wonder what a horse’s bit feels like. And if I hadn’t been going to the hygienist a few minutes later, they might have even given me a lollipop…So big.

Moral of the story, you never know how tough you aren’t until someone finds that little “humility reset” button in you and you find yourself covered in your own drool.

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