So do I have your attention now? I inherited poor oral health. Unfortunately, studies have confirmed that a person’s genetics have an effect on the overall healthiness of teeth and gums, so even people who execute perfect dental hygiene, such as myself, could find themselves at risk. I may be rewriting family dental history, but since the time I knew there was something other than permanent teeth, my father and mother wore dentures. For my father, all of his teeth were removed right his return from the Korean War, and as for my mother false teeth replaced everything in her mouth well before she turned 25. Add to that because of their limited knowledge of oral hygiene, I only recall visiting dentists who were mouth monsters with manual machines. So for me, a visit to a dentist has always been traumatic. Whether it is a miracle or luck or God’s blessing, I still have all but three teeth (not including the wisdom teeth that left the house long ago). Conscientious as I am… twice daily brushing, nightly flossing and mouthwash, God has cursed me with unhealthy gums, cracking jaws that have shifted and a high build up of plaque. I had braces late in life, root canals, crowns, cavities and periodontal work. And instead of the required visit to the dentist twice a year, I am on the trimester plan. I get sick the day before my appointment. I break out in sweat the morning of. I have tried meditation, prayer, prayer beads, music, books on tape and Dennis Prager in my ear and there is nothing to ease my fears. I believe I am in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest teeth cleaning appointments at 120 long, gruelling minutes. Tears stream down my cheeks, and yet, each time I survive the ordeal. Is the alternative better? Well, for now, I am not willing to find out.