Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Dentist

I haven't been to the dentist since I had my wisdom teeth out. I even did the follow-up check-up over the phone! So when I got a job, I was hopeful that I would have dental benefits. Well, I did...if I paid for it. So now I pay lots of money every paycheck (well, the price of dinner out) so that I don't have to pay lots of money at the dentist (the price of a small car, it seems).

I went to my first appointment in three years this past Monday. I was very excited about it. After three years, my teeth just felt like they needed cleaned. So I make it to the office (after a couple of turnarounds and a call to the dentist to found out where the heck they were located) and fill out all the papers. I get seated in the comfy dentist chair and look expectantly at the dental hygienist, who was there to make the grime of 3 years go away. She grabs a tool, says, "Open wide," and proceeds to scrape on every surface of every tooth.

And suddenly I remember that I hate going to the dentist.

I hate many things about going to the dentist, but probably the thing I hate the most is the little suction thing they put in your mouth to get rid of the water they just sprayed in there. Every time I close down on that thing it inevitably finds my tongue or the side of my cheek to attach itself to. My whole mouth feels like it's being irrevocably pulled and pushed to get as much as it can into the tiny opening of the sucker. Then I open my mouth (after what seems like a battle with a black hole) and the hygienist keeps sucking the rest of the water out. Even then, there's still water left in my mouth! (The sucker seems only interested in human flesh, not anything liquid.) So I wait for the hygienist to turn around and I quickly shut my mouth and swallow. I wish she would have just let me do that in the first place.

I also had to use fluoride this time at the dentist. I remember hating fluoride, and I also thought I remember not having to have it after I turned 18. However, this hygienist was going to make sure I had it. Twice. I had to swish that horrible stuff in my mouth two times. By the beginning of the first swish, my tongue felt like it was on fire. By the end of the second, it felt like little ants had stung it all over. I didn't complain, because I thought that was what I was supposed to be experiencing. The fluoride was eradicating gingivitis, halitosis, and world hunger all in one. That's gotta be painful. However, later the dentist had me look in my mouth, and I saw my tongue, which looked like it had been stung by an army of ants! As far as I'm concerned, I now proclaim myself allergic to fluoride and I won't ever use it again.

All in all, I only had one cavity, and a small one at that. Which was good, because I had a horrible fear that my teeth were about to crumble away from the lack of attention they've received from a dentist these past 3 years. And I walked away not having to pay a dime, which was, in a way, worth it.

I do have to go back in a couple of weeks to get the cavity filled, and that happens to be the day Jon goes to have his first dentist appointment since he had his wisdom teeth out. After that we can enjoy our clean and healthy teeth together over a large Lemonberry slush at Sonic. After all, my teeth have been used to their sugar coating for 3 years. I would hate for them to be without for too long!


  1. So, my dentist experience was not as pleasant. I too waited three years or so until I got dental insurance. I pay a whopping $2 (the cost of a lemonberry slush at sonic) per pay period for it...but it's not all it's cracked up to be. It SAID it covered initial exams/x-rays. But NO...because they used a certain kind of film at my dentist, I have to pay. And it said it paid PARTIAL on my cavity (I too only had one) but because of the TYPE of filling they used, I had to pay more on that one too. AND it takes MONTHS for the claims to go through, so I get this unsightly bill from my dentist every month. All of that ON TOP of the tooth-scraping, saliva-sucking, flouride-swishing misery that occurs at the dentist. And lucky me, I get to go back in December. So, I feel your pain. Dentists are necessary's amazing we even have them...who would want to undertake such a profession? Poke around in people's nasty mouths, scrap off three-year-old gunk, deal with bad breath and bleeding gums, and all your patients loathe you? Not for me!

  2. I asked my optometrist the other day why he decided to be in the eye profession. He said he'd thought about being a dentist, but no one likes their dentist, so he chose to work with eyes.

  3. I've been to the dentist 1 time in the last....oh....16 years give or take.

  4. I love going to the dentist! Who else is going to ask you when was the last time you flossed? And where else are you going to go to read your Highlights magazine, and see what is going on with the Timbertoes, and Goofus and Gallant? And getting to spit into the little sucky cup, and wondering why the dentist tells you never to scratch your teeth with foreign objects as he scrapes them with a screwdriver looking thingy with a wire on the end, and you can never get your mouth wide enough for him, even though your jaw has become unhinged and you can feel the tendons pulling lose, and it always smells the same way, and you get your free tooth brush and the floss that you leave in the car, cause who are we kidding here? Floss, me? Like I can't find 4,000 things more interesting to do than run string between my teeth.

  5. I too DO NOT like the dentist. The thing that gets me is the small, evil scraping utensil. I can NOT stand the sound. AAhhhh! It's worse than chalk because it's in your own head! And why, oh, why do they ask you questions and talk to you when they are sticking their hands in YOUR MOUTH! I mean really people! It just makes you want to follow them around and ask them pointless questions while they're eating or talking on the phone to someone. I guess they are good and serve a purpose, but of all our years in medicine and modern conveniences have we found nothing better?