I woke up this morning to my iPod playing Dental Care, by Owl City. I knew what was coming. This morning, I had to go to the dentist. This has never been a problem for me. As a kid, I didn’t mind going for my regular cleanings and fillings and all that, it was no big deal. Until we switched dentists. That’s when I met the hygienist from hell. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a very nice lady, she’s just not very nice to teeth.
At the beginning of every visit, an intern comes in to check blood pressure, heart rate, all that good stuff. Basically, she just makes sure you are, for the most part, alive and well enough to face the horrors that will soon be upon you, the unsuspecting patient. My blood pressure came in at 93 over something or other, but apparently it was good. I felt fine, no apprehension. Until the hygienist entered the room.
Most hygienists just kinda poke around in your mouth, polish, rinse, floss, and done, right? Not this one. She feels the need to carve her initials onto the front and back of every single tooth in my head. She gets in there with her pokey needle scrapers of death, it sounds like a horror movie is happening inside my skull. And once she’s done removing all the “plaque” (read: enamel), she goes to town on my gums. Apparently it’s not ok to have flesh surrounding your teeth. So, like any good hygienist, she got after it with the needle scrapey thingies, and removed every piece of offending flesh. I’m not kidding, there were times when she pulled the scraper out and there was a chunk of what used to be my mouth hanging on it. And all the while we’re talking about Christmas and school and kids and college… all the stuff that dentists normally talk to you about while your mouth is full of stainless steel needles.
“So I went to the mall in Modesto on Christmas eve this year, *scrape, scratch* I normally don’t go on Christmas eve, because, you know, *stab* all the crowds and stuff,”
“Uh, huh *wince, squirm*”
“It was surprisingly not crowded at all, *jab, jab* and a bunch of the stores were running buy one, get one 50% off sales! *poke* It was great, I got a lot of shopping done for the kids. *rip*”
It was at that point that I felt living flesh get removed from my mouth for no other reason than she didn’t want it to be there. I shuddered as she quickly wiped it on my bib, probably hoping I wouldn’t notice. I didn’t know what to do. This chick was performing caveman surgery on my mouth and calling it cleaning. It hurt like mad, but I didn’t want to say anything. Heaven knows you’re not supposed to tick off the person with the needle scrapey thing if you’re lying in a prone position in a very comfy chair. So there I was, bleeding from pretty much every tooth. My face seriously looked like something out of a horror movie.
“Ok, now I’m just going to polish and floss and you’ll be all done,” She said with a smile. As if that was supposed to be reassuring. Fantastic, she was done with the jackhammers. Now she was just going to run some unrefined sand and perhaps an un-serrated saw across my gums. I could take this. The worst was already over, right? Wrong.
“Now when I start polishing, I’m going to need you to close your eyes, ok? We had one patient in here and the paste got into his eyes and it hurt really bad, so I just want to protect you from that.” Right. It hurt really bad. The guy was probably blind for a week. Not only that, but she probably didn’t want me to see all the blood that came flying out of my mouth when she ran the polisher over my teeth. I exhaled, preparing myself for the worst. She started polishing, and it really wasn’t that bad. Until the stuff made its way to my tongue. Normally, the paste doesn’t taste too bad, right? It’s either minty or like that fruity stuff? Nope. This tasted like a mixture of mucous and blood. Probably because that’s exactly what it was, just with a little extra grit. I made sure not to swallow anything and hoped she would rinse quickly.
Finally, the piece de resistance (note: idk what emphasis marks go where, but that’s supposed to be French, just fyi) was here: the flossing. It was actually pretty tame. Not painful at all. Until she handed me the mirror and had me take a look at the damage. Bear in mind, I keep my teeth clean. Brush 3 minutes every night, brush my retainers, wear those every night, all that stuff. She hands me the mirror, and I take a look, and I thought I was looking at a poster for *insert name of horror movie with picture of really bloody teeth*. It was nasty.
“Ok, now I’m going to have you floss, just so I know you know how to do this.” Because clearly I’ve never flossed my teeth before. Or at least, I haven’t flossed after my mouth has been taken apart by an angry gorilla with a jackhammer. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m terrified of blood. Cannot stand the sight of it. Especially around teeth. It looks absolutely revolting. So she hands me the floss, holds my lip back, and makes me draw even more blood from my gums, because apparently that’s the best way to fight gum disease. Gum disease, huh? Sure. If that’s what you kids are calling it these days.
The intern only checks blood pressure at the beginning of the visit. I think she should check it at the end, too.
Fact of Life: I’m getting a new hygienist.