I wish my veterinarian could clean my teeth
I wanted to like her, I really did.
And, on the surface, she was distinctly likable, winsome even. Her practice seemed nice, as well. Their brochure made going to the dentist seem spa-like and relaxing.
Plus they sent me a “We-want-to-get-to-know-you!” form, which was very thoughtful.
It’s just that I have a long and sad history with dentists and dental hygienists so . . . “No!,” I said to her (silently). “I will not be taken in by your pleasant manner, your tawny skin, your chic bob and those pearly white teeth. I will especially not be taken in by those teeth.”
“The thing is,” I said (aloud) “I really, really don’t like going to the dentist. I wrote that on my form actually. Twice. I never went to a dentist until I was 12 and then I had a dozen cavities. Also, I once had a shoddy dentist who performed a root canal without any anesthetic. I swear to you, no anesthetic. He said it wouldn’t work anyway because of all the pus, but I think he was just trying to save money. Did I mention I wrote all this on my form?”
She nodded sympathetically. She smiled. She said: “Tsk, tsk you have had quite a time, haven’t you? Here, lets ease you back in the chair, maybe if you could loosen your grip a tiny bit on the armrest and uncurl your toes?”
Then she turned her back to me for a moment, apparently to reach for her Dremel and scythe. When she swiveled back around, I swear she had a fang.
Self-awareness is one of my two good traits. That’s how I know that as a dental patient, I’m a complete nightmare. Apparently, I grow an obscene amount of plaque and that’s why hygienists go after it with everything just short of TNT and a blowtorch.
I try to be regular for my six month cleanings but I’m usually four or five months late mostly because it takes that long for my gums to stop bleeding and my head to stop pounding from the last episode.
It took 43 years for anyone to mention maybe I should consider having my teeth cleaned more often than every six months since I’m such a breeder of plaque and scum.
That seems reasonable to me so I now plant my face in front of my husband’s every couple of weeks (normally when he’s not busy and just watching sports) give him a huge smile and ask him if he sees any disgusting yellow build-up.
He knows what to look for because dentistry is what he does all day, every day. His patients are animals, but I’ve seen the care, concern and kindness he and his staff use on them.
I wish they could clean my teeth.
A few years ago I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and saw the status of a friend of mine who posted that while she knew her beloved pooch was “in the hands of a good doctor” (Jim) she was sad thinking about her buddy on “a cold metal table.”
I messaged her to tell her that her dog was actually surrounded by heated towels and resting on a cuddly blanket. and one of the staff would no doubt cradle her on their lap while she woke up and they ate their lunch.
Also, during the procedure she was blessedly asleep.
Jim recently suggested sedation dentistry for me, actually. He was polite about it, but rather firm, for some reason.
“I just think it would be beneficial. You don’t ever seem to have very good experiences at the dentist.”
“The fact that I don’t have good experiences isn’t really my fault. You know my history. If you've forgotten, I have a form I can show you.”
But, I’ll think about it.
I last had my teeth cleaned in April, so going on the “more often than six months” timeline I could ostensibly shoot for August or September, but why wreck what’s left of summer? October would be exactly six months, but I hate to spoil Halloween and my birthday is in November and then the holidays are always super busy.
Check back with me next February.