Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dental Monologue

Remember Pollyanna?

I found myself thinking about her the other day as I sat in The Dentist's Chair for my annual check-up and cleaning. Eyes closed, willing myself to unclench my vigorously entwined fingers from each other, I thought,

I'm getting to be more of a chicken, the older I get. Pollyanna had that glad game. She played it whenever things looked bad ... I guess I can be glad it's just a cleaning and not a root canal. And, once this is done it'll be 9 more months before I have to come ba ... YOUCH! 

I grimace as my head twitches.

Dental Hygienist:  "Oh was that a little sensitive?  I'll come back to it without the pic later."

I'm glad she is keen to these little nuances of pain indicators. I wonder if they are taught to watch for these things in dental hygienist school. Like, does she notice my hands clenched so tightly together that my knuckles are white? Okay, relax ... untwine those fingers ... rest them comfortably in my lap ...

I open my eyes to see the television screen in the ceiling above me. It is black, except for the words floating across the screen - "Musical information not available".

There's music playing? Oh yeah. I remember it was when I first sat down and she asked if I wanted the remote. I said no. Why would I say no? At least watching some mute talk show would take the edge off the sound of that drill-like water pic high intensity cleaning tool that is right now getting dangerously close to the sensitive spot right behind my bottom front teeth!!

I feel my fingers clench together again. Then I breathe. Unclench. Adjust the dark glasses she put on me before she began the torture ... excuse me ... the cleaning.

Used to be we never had to wear these glasses. Are the tools so all powerful now that there's a danger of putting my eye out with the flying shards of ... what? What could possibly be flying out of my mouth?

I look up at her as she concentrates on her task.

Hmmm, blue eyes. I wonder what HER teeth look like. I'll have to remember to look when she takes off that mask. I don't think I'd ever be able to identify her on the street though if I only had to go by the eyes. Interesting how much difference a whole face makes. I'm glad for whole faces to look at. 

She is finished with the pics and tells me she is going to polish. Do I want mint or bubblegum flavour? For a second I wonder if I should go out on a limb, be unpredictable. But in the end I choose mint. Again.

I'm glad for mint flavour. I don't think I could handle that bubblegum aftertaste for the rest of the day.

The doctor pops in for my check-up. He's not my regular dentist.

"Hello," he says, "I'm Dr. P_____ .  Dr. G_____ is not here today. I'm sure you have noticed the difference. I'm younger and taller and of a different ethnicity."

"And you have more hair," I say.

He smiles and snaps on his latex gloves. Starts inspecting my teeth while quietly mumbling dental-type words and numbers to the hygienist. She marks things down on a chart.

I hope he doesn't tell me it's time to replace that last filling. I can't take another 6 months of pain, and chewing on only one side. It's just plain annoying.

Dr. P____ leans back and lowers his mask. Takes off his gloves.

"Everything looks good. Eventually we will replace that filling, but it's not urgent."

"Great," I say, "Thanks."

The Hygienist asks what colour of toothbrush I want.

"Do you have pink?"

No pink.  I take purple instead.

I'm glad for purple and pink.  Such happy colours.

She escorts me to the front desk.

As I put on my coat, I glance out the window at the sunny sky.

I'm glad that's over.  What a great day!

  photo credit: <a href="">Sappymoosetree</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>


  1. You've been in my head during my dental cleanings, I see. I, too, must admit I've resorted to Pollyanna's Glad Game at times. People laugh, but it works!

    Great story. I was with you all the way (until the pink toothbrush, that is. Blue. Always blue. LOL)

  2. I can so relate to this! (As you know- LOL) You made me laugh, Joy, in spite of the trauma.... well said! :)

  3. One has to something to stay brave at the dentist, right. I used to be so afraid of the dentist that I always wait until they call me in for another appointment. If I "accidentally" miss the call, oh well. At least it all went well for you in the end!