Flossing: The Saga Continues

21 Nov

I know. It’s Turkey Eve and I should be writing some profound post about everything I’m grateful for for which I’m grateful. (Note to self: add “good grammar” to that list!) 

Oh, don’t worry, I’m not going to rain on the season – I’m practically rolling in gratitude over here. In fact, my friend Margaret and I have been wrapping up each day by texting each other three things that make the gratitude list. Sometimes it’s quite serious, like “the health of my family” and other times it’s more of a stretch, like when I gave thanks for working from home so I could see what it looks like when a toilet flushes through my vent fan.

Before you get high and mighty, I’d like to remind you: this is NOT the season of judgment. It’s all still sincere gratitude, even if some of it’s perhaps a bit back-handed.

Note to self: Trademark “back-handed gratitude” and start a blog with ironic thank you notes.

Anyway, I’m not writing about Thanksgiving because I have something more timely to tell you about: My Dentist Appointment.


Ah yes, the dentist. If you’ve read pithypants for any amount of time, you know I have a bit of a flossing issue, and it’s forced me to become something of a liar when I visit the dentist. (Not ringing any bells? Check out this post. Or this one. Or even this one. Maybe the better term is “chronic liar.”)

This time, however, I thought I had my story down PAT. I’m taking nine pills a day to reduce inflammation from my immune system attacking my intestines. Can’t we suppose my gums might be a bit puffy as a result? Regardless of my flossing regimen? I mean, my mouth is kind of part of my digestive tract, is it not?

So I walked in, all cocky, ready to roll my eyes when the flossing lecture commenced.

I should have known. Dentists are like brilliant criminals. They’re unpredictable.

This time, instead of chastising me for flossing, my hygienist took another approach. “I just got back from some continuing education classes,” she began. “Do you know what works?”

I grunted since her hands were in my mouth. I intended my grunt to express, “What are you talking about? WHAT works? For WHAT?” But apparently she interpreted it as, “No! Do tell!” because she continued without letting me speak.

“Medical tape,” she explained. “The kind you can pick up in the pharmacy, from the bandage aisle? I don’t have sleep apnea or anything, but it gets the job done.”

My head was reeling. What the hell was she talking about? Then it clicked: Breath-right strips! She had just discovered how to open her nostrils at night. But she was using some DIY kit to achieve the same goal.

But before I could settled into this theory, she threw me for a loop. “Yep. Just put a piece of tape over your mouth before you go to sleep. Just regular medical tape. Like what you’d use to set a finger. Put it across your mouth from top to bottom to hold it shut.”

Holiday gift for my hygienist?

I’m pretty sure my eyebrows frowned in a WHAT YOU TALKIN’ ‘BOUT, WILLIS  kind of way. But because she wasn’t really listening, she continued. “You can place another piece across it, to form an X if you’re worried it won’t be strong enough. It really works.”

I must’ve been scowling fiercely enough that she finally understood me, because she elaborated, “For the mouth breathing? Right?”

WAIT. You couldn’t remember that I prefer cinnamon toothpaste to mint, but you immediately think of me as a mouth-breather upon sight?

Also? You didn’t think the appropriate solution was to try to get me to breathe better through my nose? You went straight to pinning my mouth shut? What if I have a deviated septum or something? What if I CAN’T breathe through my nose? Are you trying to kill me, lady???

About that time, I started to look around nervously, eyeing the sharp dental tools. Was it really safe for this lady to essentially be armed with ice picks? What kind of screening process did they use around here? Did they know she tapes her mouth shut and looks like Frankenstein when she’s not in the office?

Or maybe that’s part of the master plan. Perhaps after they’ve busted a person in three lies, they decide it’s time for emotional waterboarding?

In any case, it beats flossing. So… I guess I’m good for another six months.

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12 Responses to “Flossing: The Saga Continues”

  1. Invisible Mikey November 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    Loved it!

    • pithypants November 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

      Love. Young. Jack. Thanks for the post!

  2. Squirrel Circus November 22, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    Wow. That was totally out of left field…it was like she was continuing a conversation that the two of you were having, minutes before, only it was, um, SIX months ago. Very interesting. AND scary. As you so wisely noted, mouth breathers are often “that” way because they CAN’T breathe any other way! Sounds like a risky solution, taping your pie hole shut. Bizarre. 😉

    • pithypants November 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

      You’ll be pleased to know that when you google “tape your mouth shut” you receive medical warnings about how it can be a cause of death. Further proof that my hygienist hates me.

  3. thesinglecell November 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    Wait, I’m confused. You’re supposed to tape your mouth shut in lieu of flossing? What’s that got to do with the price of eggs?
    Also… I just sort of reprimanded you on my blog comment reply for not writing enough. And I stand by it, but slightly less fiercely now that I see you posted the other day.

    • pithypants November 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

      The price of eggs! When did I miss the fact that you’re a senior? I *love* that expression but haven’t heard it from anyone under the age of 70. LOVE it. Might steal it.

      • thesinglecell November 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

        My grandmother used to say it. And it’s a throw-away line in “While You Were Sleeping,” which I can quote ad nauseum.

  4. dianeskitchentable November 27, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    I think I’ve got the flossing thing down pat – all you have to do is floss for 5 days before your appointment & they get so excited about how great you’re doing. You can do 5 days every 6 months right? Now that’s not going to help you with the mouth breathing but maybe she’ll be onto something else next time.

    • pithypants November 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      Great tip. I’ll mark my calendar now to see if I can fool them. I’ve found the same-day flossing isn’t enough to pull it off, but perhaps five is the magic number?

      • dianeskitchentable November 30, 2012 at 8:40 am #

        Oh yeah, the day before wasn’t enough & I found that 7 days before was more than enough…came up with 5 as just about right.

  5. Karen Murtagh November 30, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Just read this. Are you kidding me? How bad an issue is mouth breathing hat one would consider*that* solution?! I feel this blog may be evidence in a court case down the road after the non-dental related death of a patient.

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  1. Your brain has more plaque than my teeth? | pithypants - February 21, 2015

    […] went to the dentist last week. I’ve written about it before – many times, in […]

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