My tongue first detected the problem when it caught a sharp edge on my teeth: A hefty hunk of my back right molar was missing. I’m not sure how it happened, but it meant that after months of avoiding any sort of physical closeness with other people, I needed to brave the dentist’s chair.
With the pandemic raging across the United States, the office I entered in Alexandria, Virginia, looked very different from the one I had visited months before. Two cups of pens sat on the receptionist's desk, one for “clean” writing utensils and the other for those recently used. A plexiglass partition divided me from the rest of the office behind, and everyone—myself included—donned a mask.
Dental work is a