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“How long has it been since your last appointment?”

“About two years,” Lowry mumbles around the hissing tube.

“Mm hmm.” Dr. Andrus tugs his gently jaw downward and peers in, over half-moon glasses and the screen of a paper mask. “And have you had any lapses in your regimen?”

“Well, I haven’t flossed enough,” says Lowry, “I mean, who does, but… Um. I drink a soda with dinner most days. Once in a while I chew ice.”

“I see,” says Dr. Andrus gravely. “Well, let us pray.”

Lowry sighs, and tries to remember how to start the Act of Dentition.