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Sunsets Make Me Uncomfortable

By: Kennedy Rooke

Graphic by Erika Kindsfather

When I was a kid I had six of my adult teeth removed. Three sessions, two teeth each time. Each time I nervously entered the dentist’s office waiting for the inevitable prick of the needle four times in my mouth, and then a numb, painless feeling of prying and wrenching the teeth out of my mouth. Then for the next six hours or so my mouth would be stuffed with gauze which needed to be changed periodically as it became soaked with blood and drool. I hate the dentist. This is obviously not an uncommon feeling; I don’t believe I have ever met anyone who enjoys a trip to the dentist.

A trip to the dentist is a familiar feeling. Bright-smiled receptionists, Reader’s Digest in the waiting room, the weird smell that’s apparently the lack of smell. But maybe the most familiar is the artwork found in the halls. You know, orange sunsets, beach patios, tropical plants. I don’t know who decided that these landscapes would be the signature look of dentist offices across the world, but I do believe they did not think it through. Honestly, the last thing I want to look at while someone is poking and prodding around in my mouth is a picture of somewhere I would much rather be. It’s almost like they are laughing in your face while they are also literally manhandling your face.

And to make matters worse, there’s almost nothing else you can look at. The only other wall hangings are photographs of other people’s teeth. Those awful before and after shots. I don’t want to look at those either. I guess you could always watch the tiny TV in the corner, but all that’s ever on are soap operas or family court shows and those just make me feel depressed.

Graphic by Erika Kindsfather

I guess all I’m trying to say is that going to the dentist is awful but somehow people have found a way to make it even worse. Everything about it is eerily unsettling and I always leave feeling sad and uncomfortable, and usually ashamed of my sub-par dental hygiene.

Adult teeth do not look like the tiny baby teeth that fall out of your mouth when you eat a cracker at six years old. They look like vampire fangs; I was amazed the first time I saw them. Those six fangs are in a little box along with all the baby teeth I have lost throughout the years kept by my father. Yes, weird, I know. Maybe if I were ever to become a dentist (that would be a plot twist) I would take all those teeth and turn it into an art piece that would adorn my office in lieu of a pastel sunset or Florida beach. Gross, but definitely more interesting.

Basically, the dentist is awful and the aesthetics of it only serve to reinforce the unpleasantness of it all. I have never looked at a sunset and not thought about getting my vampire fangs pulled out of my mouth. The dentist truly ruins everything. Maybe I’ll stop flossing in protest. Just kidding! I never floss anyway. Tune in next time where I find new ways to use this platform to share my thoughts on things that only vaguely have to do with art.

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