|by flickr user denniped|
If you're thinking that I must feel differently about going to the dentist than the majority of the population, never fear. I hate the dentist just a much as the next person. Now though, my hatred has muted from the normal childhood fear of hating the dentist for fear of cavities, to absolutely loathing the forced interaction with whichever hygienist is stuck scraping my teeth this visit.
Is dental hygiene a popular career for people who can't get into law school? Because I seem to be grilled about my oral hygiene habits on each visit by an over-eager hygienist who acts like she's a prosecuting attorney hell-bent on discrediting a witness during cross-examination. I will freely admit that I am not perfect in the mouthcare department. There are times I fall asleep reading before I brush my teeth at night. And while I floss fairly-religiously on week days, my weekend routine leaves a little to be desired (you should see my hair!).
Hygienist the Hun (aka HH): How often do you floss?
Me: Five days a week or so.
HH: And what about around your permanent retainer? Do you have problems flossing that? (said in a way that suggests I so neglect my mouth I may not have even noticed I have a permanent retainer.)
HH (looks gleeful): Do you have floss threaders?! (I can practically see her thinking 'A-ha! I have you now you nasty-non-brushing-disgusting-non-flosser! Because without them, there would be no way I could properly floss several teeth)
HH: (Glowers disbelievingly).
She then went on to explain about how my permanent retainer is attached to my teeth and how I should properly floss around it. At this point I should have probably asked for a mirror so I could see just how terrible a job I had done because the permanent retainer I've had since I was 13? Um, yeah, we've met. I've been flossing that bitch for 20 years now, so I don't need a lecture on how to do it.
But that wasn't all, I also got asked how I brush, instructions on how to brush properly since she suspected I completely missed my gums (again, no, last time I checked I'm neither 2 nor mentally challenged.). Then as I was leaving she gave me a package of said disputed floss threaders, "just to be sure I have plenty." WTF?
Oh, and when the dentist came, despite the hygienist's lectures and the stern warnings about "needing Doc to look at tooth #20, something is going on there!" the dentist said everything looked great. She also welcomed me to the "cavity free club" for another six months. High five, yo!
Now, I'm tempted to ask anyone who might still be reading if I'm the only one who gets the riot act from their dental hygienist, but I had a nice long run there with actual human beings who didn't treat all the patients like naughty kindergartners. But then that dentist sold the practice and moved. Jerk.
The other thing I hate about the dentist is the hard sell. Do you use Sensodyne Sensitive toothpaste? Not just sensitive toothpaste mind you, but this brand! Well, you should. Here, try some Listerine Zero with fluoride! We want you to start using this every night. Plus, the fluoride treatment hard sell by every single employee I came into contact with. And don't forget, we have the best prices in town on electric toothbrushes, they will change your life! It wasn't bad enough I had to hear the chick give the patient next door the same spiels, I got my own as well. So instead I say no, no, no and probably have a rep as surliest patient of the year.
I can't help it really. When I was a kid I went to an ancient dentist who was well past retirement age. His equipment was even older. He didn't have TVs to distract you. For entertainment I counted his ample nose hairs and tried to decipher if his hems and haws meant the drill was imminent or not. There wasn't a fancy suction tube, you spit in the sink next to the chair and watched it float down the drain. Dear god, do I miss that spit sink. My dentist didn't crack a smile until the very end when he declared me cavity-free and let me pick out a sucker before I skee-dattled the heck out of there. And he most certainly didn't load us with a goodie bag of unnecessary toothbrushes and miniature floss packages and a fricken envelope of floss threaders. And WE LIKED IT!
Ahem, sorry. I got a little sidetracked there. Where was I? Oh yes. Fluoride.
The fluoride thing is always a conundrum for me. Do ya'll go for the fluoride? I'm not sure where I stand on the whole fluoride thing, but, when in doubt, I try to stay away uncritical chemicals. I tried researching it a year or so ago, but found as much literature for as against. So in the meantime I abstain from the extra treatment, but still use toothpaste and other products with fluoride. Although maybe I should rethink that since when I was a kid they made use rinse with fluoride in school and I never had a cavity until my late teens.
Seriously though, am I the only one who has this much fun at the dentist?