Novocaine - fun. Metal probes - not fun.

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

My dentist looks like a big screen film star. His teeth make a "ting" sound and light shoots out of his mouth when he smiles - just like in the movies. Okay, maybe I just imagined that last part.

Either way, I prefer to see as little of my mouth doc as possible, after having fallen for the "Really, the Novocaine needle will hurt more than the procedure, so let's just skip it, shall we?" trick more than once. Yet, every six months I dutifully make the trek to his office and willingly subject myself to the torture of a teeth cleaning. It's a ritual my husband thinks is borderline masochistic and completely avoidable. He's convinced the dentist tried to kill him once (or twice). His solution? Just don't go.

No, not my mouth - but you get the idea...

Me: Today is teeth cleaning day.

Geoff: That's nice.

Me: Don't you feel sorry for me?

Geoff: I have to lift and nail 4000 sheets of plywood onto the roof of our new house before the snowstorm of the century arrives.

Me: So, no then?

Because misery loves company, Jan and I have been booking our appointments with Dr. Hollywood together. On this day, we brought both my daughter and my aunt with us.

Jan disappeared into one examining room and I into another while my kiddo and Wilma headed to the toy zone (waiting room). As I settled into the chair, my hygienist asked me if I was experiencing any sensitivity. What I should have said was, "No". What I said instead was, "Um, yes actually I've been getting a sharp pain in the upper part of my mouth on the right side sometimes when I brush my teeth."

I confided in my hygienist (let's call her Shirley), thinking that she would take pity on me and avoid placing tiny metal probes in the questionable zone. I thought wrong. Instead, she grabbed a "special" implement and started running it across each tooth in the sensitive area. She had a diabolical look on her face. Well, truthfully, I couldn't tell because she was wearing a face mask.

Shirley Hygienist: Does this hurt?

Me: No, not yet.

SH: How about now?

Me: Nope.

SH: And this?

MeNo. Yay. Well, so much for that.

SH: Okay, we'll try a different tool...

Me: Oh crap.

I considered bolting but remembered that I had brought my daughter to the dentist - in part - to show her how enjoyable a teeth cleaning can be, as she will soon be old enough to be thrown to the wolves. So, I stayed put and braced for the "zing" while the experiment continued.

In the end, it was determined that my problem is  "recession" caused by "horizontal brushing". Preposterous! I thought. I never brush my teeth while laying down (anymore).

SH: You need to brush in an up and down motion - not side to side. Circle, circle, swipe - that's the way to do it. Okay?

Me: You don't read my blog do you?

SH: Huh?

Me: Oh, nothing.

When the cleaning was over, the littlest one popped her head in for a quick look. "It's a good thing I just rinsed the blood away." whispered Shirley Hygienist,  further proving Geoff's theory. Still, we succeeded in brainwashing my three year old kid who now believes that the dental office is "not too bad" (mostly due to fun waiting room toys).

As for me, I saw my dentist for exactly two seconds and was sent out the door with a new toothbrush, two packs of floss and a tube of Sensodyne-F toothpaste.

Two packs of floss? The F on the toothpaste tube must be my grade.
No, really.

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