Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Yesterday was my yearly dental visit out at the Indian Clinic. When they called back at the first of December I figured they'd make the appointment for after the first of the year, but I'll be danged if she didn't want to schedule me in before Christmas. Now, I need more time than a few days to mentally prepare myself for a dental appointment. I can't just pick up and go - my fragile self just doesn't handle it well. So I uhm...kind of told 'em I had plans and bought myself a week and a half. Then WHEW! They called and said their hygienist had to have "unexpected" back surgery. Yikes. Unexpected surgery of any kind is usually not good, but back surgery? While I was sorry she was down in her back and soon to be down-er, I was also dang relieved they canceled my appointment and said they'd call after the first of the year to reschedule.

When they said after the first of the year, they meant it. She called on January 2nd. And wanted to schedule me for January 6th. No way, Jose. I can't mentally prepare in that short amount of time, so again I kind of uhm....told 'em I had plans. I bought myself 10 days.

Man, I hate going to the dentist.

The dentist told me last year at my checkup that I had a spot between two teeth that was "iffy" and if I'd just floss I could probably keep it from becoming a full-blown cavity. Well, guess who didn't floss but like, maybe 10 times in 2008? I brush like a fiend, but flossing? Not so much.

I went to that clinic yesterday with a book in my purse and dread in my gut. I filled out the form that asks the same ol' questions then sat there and tried to read my newest Stephen King book but couldn't concentrate. Finally they called me back and the gal who took my blood pressure and did my x-rays loved my purse (the link is for the shop, not my actual purse) so I gushed on about Etsy for awhile. That kind of eased my nerves a little, but not much.

After my face had been shot full of gamma rays or something the hygienist came over and hooked my pretty little paper bib around my neck then laid the chair back. Before she laid the chair back, though, she asked if I had a problem with being laid back. I honestly considered for a second just saying yes just to see if she could clean my teeth while I was sitting straight up, but went ahead and said no and back I went.

As my chair reached the position where you're not really lying on your back but really more on your head, my paper bib flipped up into my face. I quickly whipped it down and giggled nervously. As soon as my hands moved away from it, there it was in my face again. I flicked my eyes to the hygienist who was quietly and efficiently gathering her intruments of torture and was unaware that my bib was trying to smother me. Again I smoothed it down and again as soon as my hands were off of it it flipped up into my face. She wheeled her chair around to my side as I finally folded my hands across my chest thus trapping the wiley bib. She asked, "Having a little trouble?" I laughed and said, "Yeah, this thing just won't stay out of my face." She nodded. Then, because as if I wasn't nervous enough I had to say the following sentence: "Well, I'm not sure if it's because I'm virtually standing on my head or if it's because of my gigantic rack."

Having been told more than once that I'm a funny person, I expected a chuckle. And ya gotta admit, given the situation and the fact that I indeed do NOT have a gigantic rack, it should've gotten a laugh-reaction. Instead she just held her instruments of torture poised over my mouth and I swear I heard crickets chirping. That moment was probably when she decided she was going to shred my gums beyond recognition because apparently funny isn't her "thing".

Oh my gosh, the scraping. As I laid there allowing a stranger with sharp pokey stick to scrape the gunk off of my teeth I was totally regretting the lack of flossing. Ya know, flossing isn't that difficult and it only takes a few minutes....why can I not find the time to do it? By cracky, I will in 2009. I can't handle someone taking a cheese grater to my gums again. She assured me that I am a fabulous brusher, it's the flossing or lack thereof that is my downfall.

She finally finished and patted me on the shoulder as she told me that there were some abrasions on my gums. No duh. The throbbing was the first giveaway. The fact I felt like I'd sucked on a whole roll of pennies was the second.

As I sat in the chair with a plastic tray full of sour grapey foam in my mouth and the suction thing hanging out the side of my foamy mouth to ward off any resulting drooling, I remembered that I was going to refuse the fluoride this year. Oops. She snuck it in there on me before I knew what was happening. While I was sitting there wondering what in the world I might look like sitting there (Like a rabid dog, maybe? A rabid dog with a plastic sucking stick hanging out of its mouth, yes?) I overheard a conversation in the next chair - a gal came in complaining of pain on one side of her mouth. Now, maybe she'd been having trouble with those teeth and maybe they were really bad and maybe she'd been in there over those teeth before, but when I heard the dentist say that she'd be more than happy to just take those teeth out in a day or two and then she followed that statement with "Well, sure you can go to a private practice and actually have them fixed but that's just not what we do here" yeah, that's when I decided that come April I seriously might start paying for dental insurance.

Don't get me wrong, I really like the dentist at the clinic. She's not scary and she's funny and she laughs at my feeble attempts at humor (I bet she'd have laughed at the gigantic rack comment) but just in case somewhere down the road I lose a filling or break a tooth I would like to think I have more of an option than just having it removed. Yes, it's a government funded clinic and they are seriously limited in funding and such, but ...... yeah.

And now I must go floss.


Anonymous said...

I do believe that dental hygienists are sadists!!!!

I dread going to the dentist as well. It seems they think I like to give them all of my money, and not feed my kids, or pay for electricity etc.

Jill of All Trades said...

I don't mind the dentist TOO much. I'm always afraid that they have to fill something and frankly I don't have another tooth to fill anymore. They would have to chip out some silver stuff to refill it.

Anonymous said...

As if I pay all that money to be tortured! I also have an inherited gum receding problem & the cruel hygenist always acts as if that is MY fault! Uh no, my mom & most of her sisters have it too. Haven't been 2 years because of no insur. I'm w/ you on the brushing, but not flossing...must make time for that.

Robin said...

I feel for ya!! I hate going to the dentist...we've talked about this. I want my dentist back!!! He was the best ever!!!!
I only used the Indian Dentist a few times in my 20's. I have the state insurance now and all the New...and we'll use that term for NOT MY OLD DENTIST... the new one wants to do all sorts of work in my mouth that comes outta my pocket. Undo all the good work My Dentist did. Money grubbin' jerks is what they are...If it wasn't such a hassle I'd change again.

Unknown said...

Oh, my word! I almost choked on my DISNEY popcorn when I read this post. I really needed that laugh!

I have some kind of dental work in almost every tooth in my head, therefore, I can pretty much sleep in the dental chair. Call me a freak - you won't be the first!

Get the flosser picks instead of regular floss - they have helped me to be much better about flossing!

Shannon said...

OMG Kristin! You sound just like me. I hate going to the dentist! I would rather go through labor than go! I haven't been in so long, but I do brush twice, maybe three times a day. I need to go badly though. I am hoping to get dental insurance hopefully soon. I know I will have to have work done and they will have to give me the knock out pills to do it. I am terrified. I think I will floss tonite!!! lol

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I've said this before to you but I consider people who don't laugh at my jokes, especially rack jokes, to have a major character flaw. Or at least a serious mental disability. I mean really...who wouldn't laugh that that good one-liner? No one. At least no one with functioning brain.

Idabel Oklahoma said...

Holy Crap! You actually went to the Indian clinic...and lived to tell about it! You are a brave brave woman. We might know how to run a casino..but we don't know crap about running clinics.

Collin said...

You know what we need? Little birds that hop around in our mouths, cleaning and flossing like alligators have. Mint flavored birds.

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...