So I went to the dentist today, perhaps my least favorite activity of all time, with the exception maybe of visiting the DMV. Every time I go, I notice something a little different, probably attributable to my high anxiety level.
Now, none of these fears are founded in any real reasoning. The truth is, I was traumatized as a kid by Dr. Whipple (True name, can't make this stuff up.) who didn't really believe in Novocaine. Being a kid, I did not know of Novocaine, so I just assumed every trip to the dentist involved a high speed drill and a trip through the ceiling. I just figured it was the price you pay for eating Quisp and Captain Crunch for breakfast every morning. I have a mouth full of metal to prove it.
So when I get there the hygienist - who was very nice and personable, by the way (It's not them, it's me.) tells me I'm due for a full set of X-Rays. She gives me a pair of spit sunglasses that remind me of bad Oakley glasses. Because if you're not humbled by the forthcoming pain, well, at least you look ridiculous while it's happening.
She then proceeds to put the equivalent of cooking tongs in my mouth and asks that I clamp down and sit still. I sit there with the bear trap in my mouth as she steps out of the room to avoid the radioactive blast that is being shot at my face. (Goodbye cavities, hello nasal cancer!)
She then removes the cooking tongs and moves them 1/2 inch to the left, signals to me to bite down, which I do. Exit room. Radioactive blast. Cancer growth fertilizer. Repeat.
This goes on for about 18 photos. It was like the radiation Paparazzi.
Then the nice hygienist (I mean it when I say it. So sweet. She means no harm, I'm sure.) grabs what feels like a coat hanger and starts picking away at my plaque for a bit.
Squirt of water.
Spit into the suction thing.
Pick again. Repeat 8 times.
I begin pondering if this is why CroMagnon man died out. Bad dentition caused by poor hygiene.
Then comes the polishing DRILL. I realize it's battery operated and just a polisher, but it always brings back memories of the Great Dr. Whipple. Brace yourself, son.
The polisher actually tickles more than it hurts so is a big nothing. It is followed by a flossing to go with the one I did this morning and the one from last night. (I'm an obsessive flosser, credit to the Great Dr. Whipple whose techniques scared me straight.)
When she's done, the Dentist comes in and after greeting me starts flicking through my x-rays like Instagram photos, evidently looking for the mother-of-all-cracks, that glorious Crown candidate that will get him further on his way to that Caribbean Cruise he's working on.
After spending all of 14 seconds looking in my mouth and reestablishing a "watch" on #14 and #22 - which I can only take to mean there's something expensive in my future - he tells me that everything looks great, no cavities.
Overall, dentists visits aren't what they used to be. The experience is much more pleasant. And I do apologize to all the dentists, hygienists and dental assistants in my life. It's nothing personal really!
But the beautiful thing is, I get to do this all again in 6 months. Well, maybe not the cooking tongs thing, but all the rest.
In the meantime, pass the Captain Crunch!