Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Maybe I Should Floss with Dog Hair

February is dog dental awareness month.  Yeah.  We know.  Brush your dog's teeth, so dirty bad plaque doesn't build up and ugly infection enter into the gums resulting in tooth loss and disease. 

My dogs get their teeth brushed with doggy toothbrushes and doggy toothpaste, their teeth rubbed with little gauze pads saturated with impressive sounding stuff like Chlorhexidine Gluconate. 

But let's talk about me.  Every six months I sit in a dental chair with my mouth agape while a woman scrapes my teeth with a silver tool.   Last week, there was a different hygienist.  I ask where Hygienist A is.  It seems a reasonable question since my appointment is specifically with Hygienist A.  Hygienist B answers curtly, "she's out."

I sit in the chair, my legs straight out.  As Hygienist B hovers over me, I hear myself sigh as I think, this chair has everything a Lazyboy has, except for comfort and relaxation.

Hygienist B works a lever and the chair raises a few inches.   "So.  You have pets," she says, pointing at my legs. 

I glance at my black pants expecting to see a bunch of short tan Mabel hairs.  She probably leaned on me this morning.

Nope.  No Mabel hairs.

Hygienist B informs me that she uses a tape roll tool on her clothes.  I'm still looking for hairs on my pants as she continues to expound on her victory over the untidy presence of pet hair. 

Hygienist B is wearing one of those pajama scrub ensembles popular in dentist offices.

Now the silver tool with the pick at the end makes an appearance in Hygienist B's gloved hand.  She goes after my front bottom teeth with great vigor.  This is where my shameful tea habit is on display. 

She lectures me on the things that stain teeth.  Hygienist B is leaning on my face as she scrapes my horribly filthy teeth.  Pain in my lip increases as she presses ever harder with her fist.

I miss Hygienist A.  She never leans on my face.

Hygienist B tells me it's good that I floss but that is just not enough these days.  She moves a wand around in my mouth. The wand emits a high pitched sound that I find distressing.  I tell her so.  She begins a discourse on this new tool that helps clean teeth with sound waves.  It occurs to me that only people comfortable with dog hair can hear it.

 I miss Hygienist A.  While cleaning my teeth, she chatters cheerfully about her family, camping, swimming, dogs. 

Hygienist B tells me that the reason I have occasional sensitivity in my upper teeth may be because of sinus issues.  That is interesting and something I did not know.  I thank her for that information.

Then Hygienist B announces that the sensitivity is most likely because I brush my teeth manually.  I snort.  She says, no really.  You're right handed right?  You are pressing too hard on that side.  Hygienist B advises that I should use a power toothbrush with extra soft bristles.  The toothbrush controls the number of revolutions and rpms or mph or something.  It does the job better than you can, Hygienist B declares. 

I think to myself.  There is a reason I drive a stick shift.

Finally the ordeal is over.  I feel like I have been beaten up.  I miss Hygenist A.  She cleans my teeth without hurting me.

Hygienist B tells me I can go "checkout at the front desk".  As I swing my legs out of the chair, at last I see a hair on my pants! 

It's one of my hairs.


  1. I hate going to the dentist--for any reason. Which explains why I have so many dental problems....

  2. Last time I went, I had a hygienist in training. Thought I was going to die.

  3. I've been going every 3-4 months for the past 4 years and when they brought in a new hygienist to do my cleaning, she came in and started polishing my teeth first thing. When she was done she asked me about the flavor of fluoride I wanted and I was like, "Um, usually when they clean my teeth, they poke and prod and break out this thing called a drill?"

    She gave me a blank stare. If she thought I was going to pay for a cleaning and just get a polish, she was nuts. I had to call the dentist in and complain. :)

  4. Oh boy. What a dog's day. Going to the hygienist can be real torture.

  5. Poor you. Hope next time hygienist A comes back to work. If not, find another dentist!!