Monday, June 11, 2012

Lessons from a dentist visit

You'd think I'd learn.  I've been going to the same dentist for about thirty years, so I should have gotten good at it.  Apparently, though, I've managed to fail to learn a few key lessons, and so I required reminders at my appointment last week.

1) You do not have to brush your teeth as if you were fighting an enemy.

I attack my teeth when I brush.  I figure that, like the rest of me, they need to be tough to survive.  This is, as it turns out, not a good strategy and not healthy for one's gums.  Fortunately, my gums are strong--as are my teeth, which are about as tough as stones, so I have few fillings or other problems.  Nonetheless, I must learn to be gentler on my gums and teeth.  The dentist suggested I try holding the toothbrush with only three fingers.  My instant reaction was that my three-finger grip strength must get stronger. 

Maybe it's me. 

2) Having the world's worst gag reflex is not a good thing.

One piece of the cleaning powder hit my tongue during the whirly-brush tooth-brushing part of the process, and I did my best imitation of a ten-pound cat hacking up a twenty-found furball--but louder, and with bugging eyes and clenched fists. 

We clearly need to keep that crap off my tongue. 

3. Gripping the arms of the dental chair so hard that you rip off the covering is also not a good thing.

I don't like going to the dentist.  (Does anyone?)  I try to relax.  Despite those attempts, however, my lizard brain sees the encounter as a battle, and so it dumps some adrenalin and prepares me for combat.  I channel that energy into my hands.  The chair suffers.

I did my best to tuck it all back together so no one would notice.  With luck, they won't.

4. I will always miss rinsing on my own. 

When I was growing up, after a bit of working on your mouth, they'd let you sit up, sip water from a cup, swish it around in your mouth, and spit it into a sink.  You, the patient, were in control.  You could rinse as much as you wanted, and you got the bonus of seeing what was coming out of your mouth.  (Admit it:  you're curious, too.)

Now, they use the little water squirter to spray some water where they think you need it, and then they suck it back with the suction hose.  They're in total control.  Where's the fun in that?

In this case, the old ways were better.


Michelle said...

I always enjoy chasing the suction tube around with my tongue and causing it to make a loud noise and stop. You have to find your fun where you can. But nothing is more fun then when they do impressions and put that gooey, silly putty stuff in the mouth tray, stick it in your mouth and the stuff slowly oozes down the back of your throat, causing momentary panic that you are going to suffocate with a dental tray firmly stuck to your teeth. Yep, gotta love the dentist!

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