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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Tooth Molestation

For as far back as I can remember, I have always had a yearly dentist appointment in the summer months. My brother, sister, and I would always have our appointments back to back. We would walk up to the yellow abode, which housed our dentist office, and sit in the waiting room while each of us took our turn. As we returned to the waiting room we would teasingly ask each other about cavities.

Just like when I was a kid, I still schedule my dentist appointments in the summer. Each summer as I excitedly run out the doors of my classroom on the last day of school I have a small knot in my stomach knowing that summer also means a visit to the dentist.

I have never liked going to the dentist. There is nothing enjoyable about it. I have liked it even less since I received my first filling 2 years ago and since I had my wisdom teeth cut out minus any form of anesthesia. I believe I suffer from a bit of PTSD from that experience...

Today I waited as long as I could before leaving for the dentist office, knowing that I wanted to avoid it until the last possible minute. I pulled into the parking lot of the new location of the office and drug my feet to the door. I reached to open the door and to my pleasure...the door was locked! I tried one more time, a bit in disbelief. Nope, locked! I peeked in and saw the receptionist looking at me. I backed away a little and inched towards my car. The receptionist came to the door and opened it and said, "Sorry about that Ellen, we don't have this new door figured out yet! Come on in, we are ready for you!" My heart sunk and I lugged my feet back to the seat and waited for the hygienist to come invade my mouth.

The hygienist sat down, leaned my chair back, blinded me with her overhead light, strapped a paper bib around my neck and instinctively, I opened my mouth. There is nothing pleasant about going somewhere that makes you wear a bib as if you were eating a big ol' plate of dinosaur ribs. As she looked over me with her masked face she brought out her shiny metal hook and away she poked. That cold dagger dug into every inch of every gum in my mouth as she called out numbers to another hygienist. With each wince of pain my mouth closed a little more. "Open wide," she would say. Open I would and poke she did.

Next it was time for scraping. Seriously, scraping teeth? It just doesn't sound healthy. As I lay there helplessly with my mouth open all I could hear was the screeching of metal against my pearly whites. The hygienist would talk to me and ask me questions and all I could think was, "how the hell am I supposed to answer you?! You have your tools in my mouth, you're spraying me with water, and my mouth is wide open. Talking is not an option!" I thought about how they need some sort of code if they are going to talk to you...such as 1 blink for yes and 2 blinks for no. Or maybe they could just not talk to you and let you agonize in peace. While she scraped she also sprayed water of Arctic temps onto my teeth. As a dentist you should realize that some people have sensitive teeth to cold things so spraying ice cold water on your teeth is a very unpleasant experience. I'd rather spread my legs for my gynecologist than open my mouth for the dentist. At least the gyno warms the tools they poke you with!

Following the scraping came the polishing. Just as unpleasant as the scraping. When pregnant the polishing taste would stay with me all day and cause me to puke. The polish they use is never the topping on the cake, except for the fact that it means your appointment is almost over. The taste is like a mixture of liquid penicillin, cough syrup, and vodka. Not the cocktail I want to be drinking, that's for sure. She dipped and polished each individual tooth while spraying more of that chilly water as she went. I sat there and drooled as though I was a dog with a piece of bacon dangling above my head. She would suction my saliva until my mouth was so dry the polish was like sand in my mouth. While she cleaned my bottom teeth, I gagged and choked as she stuck that brush way back in my throat. Finally she was done and sprayed A LOT of frigid water in my mouth and had the sucker suction it all out. Of course the nitty gritty pieces of the polish remained between my teeth for the rest of the day.

The rest of the appointment was easy. Scheduling for next summer. She set the date, gave me an appointment card and I forcibly thanked her and sighed, "In the clear for another year." I pretty much ran out to my car and drove the 2 blocks home to eat a Baby Ruth. :)

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