Oh, the dentist

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Photo courtesy of nyominx

You know, when I was young, I used to be confused about the cultural message that told me to not like going to the dentist. Honestly, I didn't understand why everyone disliked it so much. The people were friendly, the atmosphere was decent considering the medicine that was being performed there, you got out of school and you got a bouncy ball at the end of an appointment.

Today, I have decided that I hate going to the dentist. I therefore must have crossed some mythical boundary into adulthood as I have adopted the cultural prejudice with authenticity. I am surprised at why I hate going though.

I hate being told every-time that I go in that I have really white teeth and that if I had teeth whitening then I could have "celebrity white teeth." News flash: I don't care about white teeth. I'm sorry if your entire life is spent splitting hairs about the shades of tooth white on 5-8 people a day. I just don't care.

I hate being confronted with some new technology at every appointment the end result of which is to inform me that I must come in more often, spend more money, while waif-like hygienists insert long needles filled with strange candy-flavored concoctions deep into my gums. Today it was the "fluorescing laser." Apparently this device is designed to identify decay. Decay that we never could see before. Decay that hasn't caused any problems yet. Decay which must be addressed with four fillings because the stupid new technology beeps when it gets waved over my molars.

I hate the dentist because it's like going to a church with no theology. You sit down and for an hour are read the riot-act by a perky feminine character who has perfected the art of delivering guilt. Guilt about things which I have no control, but about which I can also find no grounds for denial. The stupid micro-camera is showing the brown spot to me on an LCD monitor inches from my dry and cracking lips. I *already* floss, I already brush after every meal, I already use the mouthwash at night and go to the dentist every 6 months and cross over to the other side of the street when I see salt water taffy. So great, a pile of guilt. No redemption. No solution. Just an angry Greek god and a future of suffering through bad feelings because the prior "new" technology, the stupid probe, reads a "4" when they stab me. Oh and leave your offering with Janet on the way out.

So I'm done at the dentist for now. I claimed that I just got over a really bad cold and that's why my #10 lingual was hemorrhaging. I claimed that I was going to have a baby in the next month and that's why I can't schedule those fillings right now. I smiled warmly and wished everyone a Merry Christmas as I walked out the door. They just looked back sadly at the tooth-sinner who refused to acknowledge the link between poor dental hygiene and heart-attacks.

Now I have six more months of oral hedonism until the next Dental-Christmas or Dental-Easter when I return to the pews in shame ready to deflect the latest divining rod for decay, an instrument which we really know is revealing that my soul is as off-white as my teeth.

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We have good dentists here: visits every 6 months, concerned only with tooth and gum health, not image (sorry SoCal). Guilt only applied if necessary. No R&D equipment- just the brush and drill. All in all, not a bad experience, but I still dislike the visits. My only joys are: No cavities, and swiping extra tubes of toothpaste when the receptionist is not looking.

Posted by: Nate at December 26, 2006 4:06 AM

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