Those Pearly Whites

Aside from the costs involved, I don’t mind going to the dentist. In fact, at the risk of raising my weirdo quotient up a bit, I will admit I kind of even like it.

I’m very OCD with my oral hygiene and have only had one cavity in my 31 years, always getting my Polaroid picture on the“No Cavity Kid” wall and picking a cheap plastic toy out of the toy chest or stocking up on free stickers when I was younger.

As an adult this distinction is no longer special.

I don’t get my picture on a wall, but instead get the bill and a “see you in six months.” This follows an hour of poking and prodding in my mouth with sharp metal objects while asking me questions and making conversation, all the while knowing full well I am in no position to answer with their hands shoved in my mouth.

I still try.

And because I will blog about anything, here is a rundown of my last visit:

  • Even though I arrived early and had to endure 15 minutes of waiting in the lobby listening to the secretaries make witty banter about the women on “The View,” I was soon taken back to the exam room promptly on time. That was nice.
  • I was immediately offered a paraffin wax hand treatment—yes, a paraffin wax hand treatment. The hygienist took me to a small tub of heated wax, dipped my hands and then covered them with plastic and something that resembled giant oven mitts. That was nicer.
  • Arriving back in the exam room, I was given a hot neck pad to put behind my head and then immediately fitted with some sort of new space age goggles and the requisite paper bib that hasn’t changed in 50 years. (The fact that I was wearing oven mitts, a paper bib and goggles is the reason why I wouldn’t want a hot dentist. Mine is old and considerably balder each visit I see him.)
  • The prodding began, followed soon by a few polite questions that—as I mentioned above—I was in no condition to reply to. Between swallowing and opening my mouth to the precise degree of angularity requested, I somehow managed to tell her that I did floss (constantly for the past week leading up to this visit) and I would prefer mint paste and ALL THE STICKERS!!!
  • Several times throughout the cleaning she expressed her awe of my “spectacular home care,” used the words “oral,” “cavity” and “swallow” and made reference to moisture and tight spaces. This caused me to giggle, which resulted in me questioning whether I had really matured since I was 12 years old and requested the bubble gum flavor of toothpaste (and ALL THE STICKERS!!!)
  • After slipping the oven mitts, goggles and plastic bib off, I was given a new toothbrush, floss of the mint “easy-slide” variety and a water bottle.

So even though I didn’t get my picture on the wall, at least my teeth were clean and my hands were soft and supple.

Plus, she gave me a sticker.

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24 responses to “Those Pearly Whites

  1. As much as I make fun of and shudder at the thought sometimes of having to hang with my family (mom, dad, sister) they blessed me with good skin and good teeth. I don’t mind the dentist because I usually get compliments and good reports and Lord knows that any place I can go that doesn;t yell at me is worthy of a once a year visit.

    Have you tried those little brushes with the pointed ends that Colgate sells in like little four packs? I discovered them about a week ago and instead of brushing my teeth seventy-three times a day and trying to remember to take a toothbrush and paste to work, I use them after I end. They’re awesome.

    wait…did I just reveal more of my OCD?

    • See? We also love having clean teeth. Between that and baseball (and anxiety and writer’s angst) we’re totally meant to be friends.

  2. I still don’t understand the wax hand! WHYYY?!?

  3. You got a paraffin treatment? I want your dentist!

  4. You get 2 stickers ( you flossed for a week prior!)…and I think I’m looking for a new dentist: on time and hand treatments? Sounds like a unicorn myth

  5. I love, love, love going to the dentist! But I would definitely love it more if I could get a paraffin wax treatment during the whole thing.

    I need to have a little chat with my dentist. He’s GOT to listen to me. I’ve been going to him for 37 years for fuck’s sake.

  6. I hate going to the dentist and always ask for the laughing gas, even for a simple cleaning! Sometimes I ask for it during my children’s appointments, too. I guess what I’m saying is I’m a bit of a ‘fraidy-cat, and also I enjoy being in an altered state whenever possible.

    • Hold on…you can request laughing gas? That would be a game changer, and sure as hell would have made this post more interesting.

  7. See, I went the other way. I had SO many cavities as a child that now I never get them because my teeth are nothing but silver. Or, most the silver ones fell out – whatever they used to replace them.

    I don’t get wax treatments – the midwest is FANCY!

    • But wouldn’t the Tooth Fairy leave more if the teeth were all silver? One would think that was worth more than just a stupid tooth would be.

      And the Midwest is NOT fancy. My dentist is just a weirdo who charges $150 to floss my teeth so he throws in a peach-scented hand wax. However, I’ll take it.

  8. Sweet lord! With all that pampering I must ask, is this dentists office was in Beverly Hills or something? Did you get a free chihuahua too?

    • Ha. Try Michigan. And if it makes you feel any better, it’s the closest I’ve come to any sort of spa treatment in years.

  9. I think I need to find a dentist that gives out paraffin wax treatments… That sounds awesome!

  10. ^ what SHE said ^ about the paraffin treatment. I’m speechless.
    I am obsessed with brushing (rotten teeth as a child) and I still hate going, even though they usually tell me I’m “doing great” between visits.
    I never get wax, I never get stickers but I DO get asked questions while there are hands and equipment and sometimes VERY LOUD drills in my mouth, AND every 2 or 3 visits? I get that “talk” where they lay out a bunch of unpleasant options to fix my crumbling fillings from my childhood.

  11. Dentists offices are getting fancier and fancier. I’m glad so far they only offer to wax your hands.

  12. I went to the oral surgeon (teehee) and all I got was Vicodin. I wish I would’ve gotten a sticker!

  13. kelleysbreakroom

    This is so funny! So impressed with the paraffin (and your flossing habits). My MIL is a dental hygienist. I just forwarded this to her!

  14. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks the dentist is an interesting blog topic (and I totally still do!). While my dentist isn’t hot, my endodontist is gorgeous. He can root my canal anytime…

    That just make me feel really uncomfortable.

  15. You seriously got a paraffin wax hand treatment at the dentist? I am so jealous, and like you, I love the dentist and the squeaky clean feeling you have for mere minutes after. I recently got braces (yes as an adult which is incredibly hard on the vanity), and I feel like my teeth will never be clean again. I actually just bough a water pump in an effort to resolve the dirty teeth crisis. I hope it pans out.

  16. Um.. wait…

    You were offered a paraffin wax hand treatment at the dentist office?
    I need a new dentist ASAP!

  17. I was always so proud of my status in the No Cavity Club at the dentist growing up. I held that status for 22 years. Then, because I massively grind my teeth at night, I ended up with two cavities at the same time–right where I grind. I was so crestfallen. It was such a silly thing to be upset about, but dammit there aren’t many clubs I’m in generally speaking, let alone for 22 years.

  18. Oh my gosh, I hate hate HATE the dentist! I feel like the older I get, the more panicky I get about being trapped in the chair with all of that stuff in my mouth, despite the fact that I never had cavities/braces/major mouth problems.
    That being said, I also live in Michigan and feel very cheated that I’m not getting these hand waxes during my visits, which would at least distract me from the fact that I have gagged on every single hygienist that works at my dentist’s office and so they all avoid me.
    Never puked! But I can imagine that doesn’t really reassure them that much as they lean in over my open mouth.

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