How I love my dental visits. Before I leave on my journey to hell, I floss between every tooth like 8 times, and brush til my gums bleed, just so he can’t say “I see you haven’t been taking care of your teeth.” I’m not sure what it is about little chunks of food flinging onto the mirror when I floss that’s satisfying…but I look forward to seeing them stick, as if I’ve made progress on the “cleaning” chart. I check for any clinging particles, and off I go.
The ziziziz sound of the drill coming from behind the office door, as I approach, just makes me cringe with delight. There’s also a certain aroma in the air. I’m not sure what to attribute it to, but I honestly don’t really care. It’s the smell of a dentist and any smell is not a good smell. So I sit in the waiting room, making small talk with the receptionist, and reading the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records. I have to give them credit…at least his office is current with the world record breakers. I always wanted to know who could snort up the longest piece of spaghetti through their nose and pull it out of their mouth. It’s a definite need to know.
As my dentist opens the door to allow me in, with his perfectly straight, white, glistening teeth, I just want to shove a drill down his throat. But I hold back. I figure I shouldn’t do anything nasty prior to the cleaning. You never know if he is revengeful. I would rather wait and see what kind of pain he is going to inflict on me before I take action. I sit in the chair, he puts the little blue bib on me and catches my hair in the clip as he attaches it, already causing pain before we even start. I try to flick my hair out of the way pulling out a big chunk that is left hanging on the bib. Off to a great start.
As he presses on the floor pedal, the chair reclines…and reclines…and reclines, and the blood is already rushing to my head. Do I really need to be inverted? Can’t I just be parallel to the floor instead of at an upside down 45 degree angle where my face is turning bright red and ready to explode? I guess not.
He puts his mask on, as if some germ infested foreign object is going to come projecting out of my mouth onto his face. Or maybe he just doesn’t want me to smell his breath, and vice versa, as half his face is inside my mouth. And that light. It feels like I'm going to walk out of there with a sunburn.
Open wide. Can you open a little wider, please? Uh…nope. That’s about as wide as I can go. I’m not a hippopotamus. He pulls out one of his sharp, probing instruments and starts poking around my gums, in between my teeth. As I’ve gotten older, even that part of the cleaning bothers me because gums recede and nerves start to manifest themselves…only to the dentist’s eye but my pain level is well known by that time. Each time he hits a nerve in my tooth, it’s all I can do to stop the reflex of my fist striking his arm. But I’m also worried that if I did strike a blow, his instrument of torture could be permanently lodged in my gums. So I allow him to continue with his journey through my orifice.
Now to the scraping. You may as well drag your fingernails on a chalkboard or scrape metal on the ground because the sound of plaque being cleaned off my teeth makes me cringe even more.
“So how are the kids?” “uh ey r ate, an urs?” “Mine are fine. Did you have a nice New Years?” “es, idnt o uch, an oo?” “We had a quiet evening, just had people over. When does your daughter go back to school?” “a ew ays. It as ice avin er ome.” I love our conversations when we see each other.
The polishing after the cleaning with that gritty stuff that I'm sure is going to sand my teeth down to little points is also fun. The vibration makes my lips itch but I suppose my shiny teeth will make up for it. He hands me that little funnel to spit into after I rinse and it takes everything I have not to projectile vomit in his face.
I'm not quite sure what it is about getting a brand, new toothbrush at the end of the visit, but it seems to make it all worthwhile. At least til next time.