Sept. 14, 2015
"Looks like they're coming in nicely, Mrs. Gleeks," said Dr. Bruns, as he peered into the mouth of the woman's son. The long metal instrument scraped and prodded, and the boy did a decent job of not squirming too much. Satisfied there were no obvious cavities, he gave the nod to the hygienist to start the flossing procedure.
"I'm a little concerned about the fourth row, a few there seem a little crooked, but we'll know when he loses set number two," said Bruns. "What we really want to be careful of is that the other rows that come in aren't crooked."
"Oh dear," said Mrs. Gleeks. "Is there anything we can do?"
"Has he been sucking his tentacles?" asked the dentist, looking at Mrs. Gleeks over his glasses that had many magnifying attachments.
She rubbed her appendages together and flushed a deeper shade of blue. "Yes," she said.
"Mom!" said the boy, who had paled to a rubbery shade of gray.
"Easy there, sport," said Dr. Bruns. "I just need to get the whole picture - I won't be telling your friends."
The doctor placed a gentle hand on the boy's shoulder and smiled. "I sucked my thumb until I started high school - and even then my mom had to remind me now and then if I got stressed out."
This seemed like small comfort to the boy, who cringed away from the dentist's touch, and slumped in his chair, tentacles twitching this way and that, like an annoyed cat's tail.
"If you look at the X-ray, you can see why there's a concern. If this row gets too far out of whack, it will start to push into the rows that are coming in. The longer you keep it up, the worse the problem gets," said Dr. Bruns, flicking on the light screen behind the X-rays in question. Back lit, four rows of edged teeth could be seen, and sure enough row four had a distinct kink where some of the teeth looked like they were folding in on themselves.
"What happens if he doesn't stop?" asked Mrs. Gleeks.
"Well, worst case is some of the teeth point inward and will actually in-grow. This can cause infection and necessitate removal and immediate braces to correct future rows," said Bruns. "More than likely, it won't come to that. Since it seems like an occasional issue. If you can get it under control, it could even work itself out by row seven. But that's only he if stops the habit now. Whaddya say, sport? Think you can give it up?"
"Whatever," said the kid, not looking at either of the adults in the room. "Can we go?"
"I'm all set. Good job with that brushing sport - I know how hard brushing and flossing so many teeth can be. Keep up the good work and you'll have the scariest set of chompers in your class," said Bruns. He took off the paper bib and pushed the button. The chair hummed and grunted as it sat little Master Gleek in his upright position.
As they slithered out leaving a glistening trail of mucus on the carpet, Bruns rolled his eyes at Cindy, who shook her head.
"How old is that kid, eh? 13? Yeesh, if he doesn't stop now the opinion of his dentist will be the least of his worries," he said
"Give him a break, Larry," said Cindy. "Your mom still keeps your room in order, remember?"
"You're killing me, Cinds. Remind me never to tell you anything," he said, pulling the elastic bands from the mask off from around his curved, wicked looking horns.
"Well, in better news - your one-o-clock cancelled and you get a long lunch," she said, and he could see her grinning under her mask.
"I thought this morning would never end," he said.