Friday, May 28, 2010

Me in the Dentist's chair...buckle up

Land of the Lost... teeth

A few things that bother me the most about the dentist is that every time I go, I seem to have something else wrong with my mouth.  I mean how do we all REALLY know they see a dark spot on our tooth, one that doesn't even hurt.  I'm thinking my distaste for dentistry started when I was about eleven and heard the words "your daughter will need to have 6 teeth pulled in preparation for the braces".  Thankfully, growing up with no dental insurance, our trips to the dentist only came when pain prodded my parents to call.   Fellow brace wearers, we all remember the wad of goo on the first orthodontic appointment that had to stay there for an uncomfortable amount of time.  Not only did you have buck teeth, you now looked even more like a monster with this display going on, and it never tasted like bubble gum flavor like they made sound so enjoyable.  Finally, time to take the mold out, the tugging and pulling felt like all the rest of my teeth were going to be extracted with it.  What a sight to see a clay mold of your buck teeth sitting on the tray resembling something from a horror film.
 I was the "lucky" one in 6th grade, with my already awkward look of short permed hair, taller than the rest of the class and stick skinny, I was the unfortunate "winner" of the braces that fit around each tooth with a metal sleeve.  The cool kids had those on the back molars only, and very hip round one's called "door knobs" or "Train Tracks" on the teeth that showed.  Not me, I got the metal sleeves wrapped around every tooth, making my metal mouth look similar to the modern day "mouth grill".   The metal sleeves only made it harder to floss and when finally removed in the 8th grade, strangely my Orthodontist showed little shock or concern that my teeth all had 1/8 inch spaces in between them!   Suddenly the "Pay As You Go" perk seemed to come full circle and gave little option for complaining that teeth be fixed tightly together.  Although much to my surprise this plan came with an option to pick a color of the retainer, something my older sister who went through this same process, did not get to choose in her perk plan.   I chose a blue retainer complete with carrying case and the knowledge of a hefty fine and punishment if lost.   I'd seen my sister's near death experience after explaining to my parents how she wrapped hers up in a napkin at Pizza Baron accidentally tossing it in the trash.  Pizza Baron Pizza was cheap and greasy and required massive amounts of napkins, not just to catch the drips of chin grease but also to supply for the mysterious craft of creating a napkin plate making the hunt for a retainer in a mass graveyard of napkins nearly impossible.

After avoiding the dentist for years after braces and  through college, I then landed a job that came with dental insurance so I finally headed to my doomsday appointment.  After all my disclaimers of why I hadn't been in for SO long,  I hear the Hygiennosaurus Rex coming down the hall with her sharp hygienic tools and game face on. 
The thing that annoys me the most is the hygienist who looks at the chart and sees I haven't been in for 7 years  and decides right then would be an excellent time to take out the sharpest tools and cry about the evil ways of her ex-husband.  Followed up with a lecture about the importance of flossing and brushing and of course coming to see her every 6 months, (yeah, right lady) as I nod my bloody grin and say "you are right, I'm a horrible human being, I'm so glad I came today." 

A few days later my scheduled cavity filling starts off with the Dentasaurus coming in with a hazmat face shield to make sure that HE was safe from the flying spit and tooth shrapnel.  Evidently, over time, enough flying water, spit, tooth carvings, and metal instruments fell in the faces of patients, complaints increased and now they kindly give the patient a pair of protective lawsuit preventing glasses as well...THAT would have been nice in 1984 when they were pulling my six teeth, I should be horribly wealthy right now and not blogging.

Recently, I went to the dentist to get a tooth filled and although I feel they've improved and streamlined the whole process the SHOT has not changed.  They always try to make small talk as they are jiggling your cheek (as if that helps) and sticking a 3 foot needle in your mouth.  Finally, when your face is numb, or at least hoping things are numb, the "team" comes in ready to perform their duty.  Life seems very fragile the moment the Dentist and the assistant begin to hand sharp instruments back and forth right over my face. Then it happened, one second of drilling even on my numb tooth I knew something was going down.  My eyeballs rattling, my lips rumbling, and me the good compliant patient just nodding and smiling through the lip stretcher until finally a sudden stop and the words  "I TOLD the guy to fix this drill, it STILL isn't working!!!" which I could have told her 10 minutes ago.  I'm now thinking this must be what one gets signing up for an affordable group dental plan.  After moving to another chair and experiencing a working drill that didn't pop out my contacts, I suggested the next time the "drill mechanic" comes to "fix" the drill to have HIM open wide, feel the jack hammer in his mouth and ask him if HE thinks it's fixed.  I guess I'm fortunate that is all that happened, as I just learned my friend's tongue is still numb on one side after 2 months ago when he got a root canal done.  His Dentist says "oh I'm sure it will come back to life, but it could take 6 weeks or so". Um excuse me?  I will say, today hygienists seem to be less angry, they must be getting more money, cuter scrub choices, or choosing better spouses.  When all is said and done, I am thankful for experts who know how to make us feel better, BUT that said, I will never go back to the dentist that put a giant purple latex mouth dam on my face to keep my mouth open. That was super awkward and creepy.


  1. I just finished taking Halli to her dentist appointments. She had to go three times to have fillings. I won't tell you all we had to do to her so she would open her mouth and not bite the dentist. But the "mouth dam" does look very weird. Thank goodness Halli couldn't see what she looked like as they did all her work.

  2. We can send a man to the moon, but dentistry is still in the dark ages! Even the chair is scary! But please tell me that's NOT really you in that photo, but something you got off the internet. 'Cause that's the scariest picture I've ever seen! Eeeeks! :D