Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I Used to Enjoy Going to the Dentist

I have always been the only person on the planet who enjoyed going to the dentist.  Aside from all my health challenges, my teeth have been stellar.  Only one cavity my whole life and I have 3 of my 4 wisdom teeth.  Going to the dentist was somewhat of a treat because it was painless and I always got a good report.

Even though I no longer live on the south side of Louisville, I still go back to the original dentist office where I've gone for years.  The dentist has since retired, but the new one that took over serves my purpose.  He comes in, looks at my x-rays, pokes around my mouth and says "no complaints; see you in six months." Plus he's pretty cute.

Today was my six-month checkup and I arrived all smiles with my pearly whites.  I was greeted by a new hygienist and should have known this was trouble.  I went into the exam room and she indicated it was time for my pan x-ray so I followed her to the machine.  I got seated and had my face contorted to bite down on that white stick perfectly when she remembered she hadn't donned me with the iron blanket.  Sigh.  Everything unhooked and un-contorted.  She asked "is there a possibility you are pregnant?"  Um, that's a no, thank you for the reminder of my single, childless life.  After re-contorting and gripping that white stick with my teeth, she took the x-ray.  Off I went back to the exam room.

As I sat down in the exam chair, I almost fell out.  The chair was literally lowered to the floor.  Miss Hygienist replied, "Oh, sorry, my chair is kind of finicky."  Once I composed myself, I laid back and prayed this would be over soon.  She started by explaining how my pre-appointment protocol wasn't needed.  Aside: due to a joint replacement, I have been instructed to take antibiotics prior to the appointment to avoid infection.  I explained to her I understood that, but since I'd been doing it for years, I felt more comfortable continuing.  Next quiz.  She asked if any of my health conditions had changed.  I said no.  Then she asked what medications I took.  I paused and said, "Do you have the list from the last appointment?"  She indicated she did not.  I sighed and said that I confirm each appointment so there should be a list.  She asked if I had a list written down (which today I didn't), so she had me fill out a new patient form.  The exam hadn't started and I was already in pain.

When the procedure started, she explained everything she was doing.  First she was going to use an ultrasonic sprayer to remove my plaque.  She set up a water sucker in my mouth, but wasn't all too sure how to place it, meaning that periodically I would stop and vacuum my own mouth.  Unfortunately, I didn't grab that vacuum fast enough as I had water running down my neck.  Next she used her manual hand tools to clean the rest. And finally she polished my teeth.  After the polishing, she sprayed my mouth to clean out the granules.  This was when I knew she was new to the profession.  I was sprayed on my forehead, cheek, ear and, eventually, my mouth.  I literally needed a towel when she was done.  This poor hygienist had no idea of my angst.  I was as sweet and kind as possible knowing that she probably had a long day with much less patient patients.  

I got the normal "you need to floss more" lecture.  Flossing is of the devil, yet I do it periodically.  This time, Miss Hygienist explained the goodness of an electric toothbrush.  A couple of years ago I contemplated buying one and opted against it but now that she's recommended it, I think I'll take the dive.  If at the next check-up I get the infamous lectures, I may be able to deflect some of it with my wonderful use of my electric toothbrush.

As I left, I got my normal goodie bag, filled with floss, travel toothpaste and a toothbrush.  (Wouldn't replaceable brush heads been better for my new toothbrush purchase?)  I still enjoy the dentist better than most doctors.  Next time I'll just bring my swimsuit and a towel.  

1 comment:

Randal Barber said...

As I was reading your post, I can still sense your joy going to a dental clinic. Because although your experience with your new dentist is not that good, you still shared it with a happy aura. I think that dentist prefers to do those things to keep her patient’s safety and to avoid any problems. In any way, it's nice to know that the worst part is over. Take care!

Merle Wells @ Gillum Dentistry