Of Course I Floss!
And Other Lies I Tell My Dentist
Last month my employer announced they were giving us dental insurance coverage. In that instant I became drunk with power and immediately made an appointment for my 6-month cleaning. The appointment was today and I said yes to everything the hygienist threw at me. Stuff I could never afford before like X-rays, fluoride treatments, crowns, bridges and mouth guards. Junk I didn't even need -- but who cares? It's covered, right?
My laissez-faire attitude ended the moment I lay down in the remote-controlled recliner. Then it suddenly got all real and junk. By the way, just because I care about my teeth doesn't mean I actually enjoy going to the Dentist. In fact, the entire experience is horrifying to me. Thankfully I'm not as bad as my friend. She has to be knocked out with nitrous just to make it through the parking lot. Me? I only require two things: My fave hygienist Krissey and Dr. McHandsomePants. I'll get to him later, promise; but for now I am in Krissey's gentle hands ...
She began with bite-wings for the x-rays. In essence, this is a jumbo chip-clip crammed inside a Ziplock bag with a giant satellite dish attached to it. I held as still as any person could, 4 TIMES, with a TV station jutting out of the side of my face. Thankfully the torture was short-lived and she began my cleaning. The word "cleaning" sounds like a nice thing, but in a dental office it's anything but.
Armed with a metal squirt gun so entirely powerful it can blast a hole through the Hoover Dam the size of a quarter in roughly 45 seconds, Krissey began her assault. Stressed-out-of-my-mind and clutching my chest from the mild stroke I just suffered, my feet hovered in mid-air as I did my best to endure. However, I was no match for the pistol. I winced. I cringed. I performed wild hand gestures and did creepy glaring-eye signals to alert her to the fact that I needed a break to breathe and to spit. Yeah, spit.
Like a Sherriff in an old western movie, I am now disgusting. I'm also drooling like a St. Bernard. Who's wearing a bib. Nevertheless, I was certainly getting an amazing workout. I had no idea I was capable of doing these Billy Blanks/Pilates moves. I will definitely have abs of steel by the end of this procedure, based on the constant ab-curls to reach the spittoon. I bet you cash money that if I went in for a cleaning once a week, I would not only have iridescent teeth, but also the body of a twenty-year-old. So I tolerated the procedure as the tarter-shrapnel ricochets off my tongue and uvula like it's being pinned down by Al Qaeda.
Worse than childbirth, my bare hands bent the steel armrests into upside-down J's as that sound pierced the air. Is there anything more nerve-shattering than the din of dental equipment? ACKK! It reminds me of a gang of ally cats fighting on my pillow ... but WAY less comforting. So I did what I had to do and went on the defensive. I began fighting her with the only thing I had at my disposal -- my lower lip. The reality of the mismatch became apparent almost immediately. Her delicate pinky finger was the Arnold Schwarzenegger of antagonists to my fey, nerd lip. (Note to self: Take your lame, bleeping face to the gym and bulk it up, Sistah!!)
Just as I was at the end of my rope, she put away the water saber and went old school. Yes, that ancient metal scraper thing met daylight. *Crunch! Chisel! Scrrraaappe* In my head it sounded as if she was sculpting Mount Rushmore in there, but I didn't care. It was far better than the high-pitched timbre of the last mechanism. Or was it? Say hello to the rubber tooth-polisher. Why do I keep picking the cherry flavored paste? Why?
Then, acting as if she's doing me a favor, she announces, "Time for fluoride trays!" Here's what I heard: "Hey, shove this humongous trough of OVERFLOWING gooey gel into your mug for a fortnight and, if you don't gag and turn blue, then I'm just not doing my job correctly." It's the dental equivalent of hazing. Although it's all worth it because I know what's coming next. (Insert a teenage girl jumping up and down and screaming loudly, HERE!)
Chelloooo, Doctor! You see, at the end of every oral bungee jump is Dr. McHandsomePants. (Told you I would get to him.) He is beautiful, yet not too gorgeous. Were he so uber attractive that I was uncomfortable just being in the same room with him, then that would be off-putting. Thankfully, my Dentist is "campfire handsome". I made up this descriptor to illustrate the kind of good-looking that ALL women love. Think of it as, I can sit here and bask in the warm glow of your majestic presence without feeling like I will spontaneously combust from your awesomeness. It's the type of attractiveness that makes men "perfect mansome". Oh, and his smile? KER-BLAM! Like a lightning bolt through your soul. Did I mention he's also nice and funny? Yup. The man is a freakin' unicorn. No wonder I have him scheduled through 2030.
Sadly, after my short-lived encounter with Dr. McHandsomePants is through, I have to leave. But not before I shamelessly lie to him. Like it or not, there's a conspiracy of denial between Dentist and patient. They will inevitably ask you if you floss every day and you will respond with a confident, resounding "YES!" We both know we are lying (We know this because Krissy has just traipsed through my mouth for the last hour like a CSI investigator) but no one seems to care. Shockingly, none of us ever dare break the overwhelming social convention. Not once has my Dentist called me a big fat liar, and never have I jumped out of his recliner and sprinted screaming towards the exit. It just all seems to works out. Weird, right?
While I still think they need confessionals at the checkout desk for us flossing liars, I still love going to the dentist. Even more so now that I have insurance. So go get your teeth cleaned. Gaze into the blue, blue eyes of your handsome dentist and remember to floss. Plus, it's an amazing pre-holiday workout. Trust me!