Tag Archives: dentist

Your brain has more plaque than my teeth?

21 Feb

Image Source: http://cdn.themetapicture.com/media/funny-dentist-plastic-teeth.jpg

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

My dentist has the top qualification in my book: small hands.

When you’ve had as many fillings (and are facing as many crowns) as I have, then small hands win any game of dentistry rochambeau.

Dream Dentist.

Dream Dentist.

So that’s what he has going FOR him. Glad he has that.

Because what he does NOT have is a MEMORY. That, or he just doesn’t give a shit about the details.

I say that because he never seems to remember who I am. Or rather, he THINKS I’m someone I’m not.

During a past visit he asked how “the girls” were doing, which made me want to grab my breasts, shake them vigorously, and say, “Hanging in there!”

“Bet you’re spending a lot of time shuttling everyone to sports,” he had continued.

Mmmm… NO. But because I wasn’t feeling confrontational (and because his little hands were in my mouth) I simply nodded. So maybe I’m partially to blame, for never setting him straight?

In any case, this last time he went for a more generic approach. “How’s the family?”

I think it still threw him for a loop, however, when I said, “Really good. I just saw them in December.”

His eyes looked a bit crazy for a minute and I could tell he was wondering if I’d left my husband or if my family had packed up and moved cross-country. I just smiled up at him from the chair, glad that he was wincing as much as I was for once as he jammed the pick to check for gum disease.

He decided to recover by changing his approach. “You’re dressed more casually than usual today,” he remarked.

I rolled my eyes down to check my outfit, which was pretty much what I’ve worn to work every day for as long as I’ve been visiting his practice. It made me wonder if my dentistry doppelgänger (who – assuming she exists – is clearly raising girls and shuttling them around to sports like a beast) also has a fancy job that requires suits.

Again, I just nodded. Let him believe that jeans and a sweater are step-down from my regular fashion.

As we wrapped up our appointment, I decided to play his game with him. The last time I saw him, he’d thrown his back out to such an extent he needed surgery. As I left the room, I said, “By the way – how are your hips?”


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.

Finally: I escaped the flossing lecture!

24 Apr

If you’ve read Pithy for more than six months, you know that I don’t floss regulary (gasp!) and have devised a complex series of lies to help me escape The Lecture from my hygienist. So complex, in fact, that I couldn’t even keep track of them during one of my recent visits. I think you’ve officially reached a new low when you forget your own flossing lies.

Last week, I decided to take a different tact and boldly own it. “Floss?” I imagined myself asking, incredulously. “Hell no, I don’t floss! Flossing is for suckers.” And then I’d laugh like Nelson from the Simpsons until the hygienist became so confused she changed the topic.

At least, that’s how I envisioned it going. Turns out, Judy had the day off, so it was a stranger tilting me back in the chair, peering at me from behind a surgeon’s mask and magnifying glasses. After an initial inspection of my mouth she said, “Looks great! I’m guessing you’re a flosser?”

For a split second, I considered embracing that identity – giving a cocky nod and saying, “Floss? Give me a spool and I can practically weave you shoelace, I’m so skilled a threading shit between my teeth.”

Instead, I came clean. “Not so much,” I managed, right before she popped her hands in my mouth and began scratching around with a pick. It was a good thing I didn’t lie, because almost immediately she said, “I take it back. You’re bleeding like a stuck pig. Definitely not a flosser.”

But you know what was awesome? Instead of lecturing me, she said, “I hate flossing too. In fact, I didn’t do it until a few years after I even became a hygienist because it felt hypocritical to tell other people to do something I wasn’t doing.”

Mad props for being honest. And then she said, “If you’re not going to do it, at least let me show you how you can brush your teeth to kind of fake it.” AWESOME. Where has this woman been all my life?

At the end of the visit, my dentist ducked his head in for a quick peek at my mouth. For the first time in ages, he didn’t mistake me for another patient and ask how “the girls” are doing, sparing us both the awkward moment where I look at my breasts and say, “Just great!”

Instead, he zipped around my mouth with a pick and said, “Gorgeous. Really healthy teeth.”

I was about to double-check my surroundings, to make sure I hadn’t somehow turned up at Bizarro-Dentist, where everyone is awesome and complimentary, when Dr. O offered his own brand of reassurance, by offering up the same stale joke he’s cracked at every appointment in the last nine years:

Tapping my two front bunny-teeth, he quipped, “Looks good. We’ll just need to pull these the next time you’re in.”

Fine. I’ll take your bad humor any day, if it means I’m spared a lecture.

The only place I can be a mouth-breather and a mom.

28 Jul

Why, maybe I *will* floss...

I had a dentist appointment earlier this week. It was a routine cleaning, so the night before, I flossed extra hard, trying to make up for six months of neglect. Sizing up my bloody gums in the mirror, I realized it was too little, too late. Sigh.

This isn’t new turf for me. I get The Lecture every six months like clockwork; I’m convinced dental hygenists take a course titled, “Guilt: The Most Powerful Dental Tool.”

I’ve gone to great lengths to avoid The Lecture,  and thought I had recently stumbled upon the best technique ever, until it resulted in my being called a “mouth-breather.”

This time, realizing that — yet again! — my gums would turn on me faster than a mafia rat, I decided to have my story ready. My eyes traveled around my bathroom. What could I blame for excessive bleeding?

Then my eyes spotted it: baby aspirin. JACKPOT!

Continue reading

One situation, two takes.

24 Mar

With her thought process, this is what my sister's sons' braces might look like. Except I have no idea who this kid is.

My parents are coming to visit this weekend, so they hit the road earlier this morning. Around noon I got a message from my mom, calling to tell me that she had just done something and there was sizable chip in one of her front teeth that was large enough to make her self-conscious.

I immediately called my dentist and scheduled an emergency visit for her tomorrow to fix it. Then I emailed my sister and updated her on the situation. This is her response:

My solution would have been to unbend a paper clip and superglue it across her front teeth so it looks like she’s in a temporary set-up from a hockey injury. That’s what they did with me last summer when I broke off the one tooth and bent the two others: bend them back out and glue a wire across to hold everything in place. With all that metal, no one noticed the missing tooth. And if they did, they just though I was badass. Cuz I didn’t give a shit.

My mom should be glad she’s visiting me instead of her other daughter.

And I think we all know who she’s going to want to be her caregiver when she’s too old to dress herself.