An Evening at the Dentist Office

Before I left work this afternoon, my co-worker warned me, “Now don’t bite the dentist!”  There is good reason for her saying this:  not too long ago, I did just that.  It wasn’t intended (that I know of), it just happened.  The dentist was filing down a filling, and she said, “Bite down”, and didn’t move her finger fast enough.

As far as I know, the digit is still intact.  She’s practicing elsewhere now, so who knows…

I try to avoid the dentist as much as I can.  It’s like car repair or going to the doctor.  Any of those places, they take a look under the hood and find five million things wrong.

“There’s yer problem…”

No, my problem is going in in the first place.  I tend to agree with my dad about cars–if you hear something wrong in the engine, turn up the radio.  Dentist and doctor–same sentiment.

Tonight ended in a refreshingly optimistic way, as in I didn’t have someone telling me I needed three crowns and two fillings.  Now that I think of it, I didn’t deal with ANYONE who had known me from the last visit.  Hell, I’m scarier than I thought!!

Oh, wait, the maître’ d was the same as before.  But then again, all she has to do is escort me to my chair and tell me that the hygienist will be in soon.  She fills out the paperwork, puts my lobster bib on me (no luck–no lobster…), and leaves.  No sweat there.  She doesn’t get within an arm’s length of my teeth.  Lucky girl.

So I wait…

Did you know that the average acoustic ceiling tile has 3,857,885 holes?

In comes the hygienist, with the usual banter about brushing your teeth and flossing, and all that stuff that goes in one ear and out the other.  He pulls the light-on-a-stick forward and switches it on.  Right in my face.

Blinded, I have no choice but to take the sunglasses he holds out for me.  They fit so neatly over my regular glasses–not.  I really don’t think the shades are for my comfort; I do believe it is because he doesn’t want to see my eyes cross and recross as he digs for oil in my gums.

Those instruments!  I’ve seen duller points in a snake’s mouth!  It almost seems as if he’s carving his initials into my gums–maybe I should look in a mirror and see if that is what he did.  If he’d tattooed a rose above my incisors, that would have been at least worth the discomfort.

And why does my tongue has to get itself involved in the process?  It’s like an old retired duffer who just has to see what’s going on at the end of the street.  It wanders around in my mouth, waving at the camera when they take x-rays, poking into the holes and crevasses the hygienist has made with his toys, and generally offering unwanted help and advice.  It’s especially difficult when they put that green plastic tent in my mouth (what?  I have termites?  The circus is in town and needs a place to perform?).  Then it wriggles around like a cat caught in the bedsheets.  If I wasn’t allergic to novocaine, I’d have them blast the thing with a good dose.  (Of course, then I’d have to go home for three days or so.  They wouldn’t like that at work.)

I really miss that little white ceramic bowl with the water swirling around in it.  They always had you spit their mistakes, oops, I mean, your gums, er, whatever, into that bowl.  Then you could watch the evidence of your dental infidelity go down the drain.  Now they have a two-fold method of clearing your mouth of all that guilt.  First, they aim a specially-made dental firehose at your teeth, then they vacuum the water and debris out–along with the inside of your cheeks, half of your tongue (serves you right, you busybody), and your entire bottom lip.  This is known as progress.

Tonight, as I said, went great.  I only lost 1/4 of my lip, and sustained minor damage on what was left after the hygienist wrapped it over my bottom teeth and used it as a cushion.  No one was critically hurt, and I left with only another appointment six months from now.

Perhaps I shall be rabid at that time.

But now, with that behind me, and numerous holes in my mouth, all I can think of is that I need to make sure that my wounds do not get infected.

Therefore I will take to heart the motto used by me and my other co-worker:

Apply Alcohol Liberally.

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