Tag Archives: flossing

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!

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You have to be smarter than the lies you tell.

5 Jan

Like pretty much everyone I know, I hate going to the dentist (even for routine cleanings) because I know I’m going to get lectured about my flossing habits. Or lack thereof.

Other than my sister, I don’t know anyone who flosses daily. And I think even my sister would admit that the only way she’s able to work it in is by standing in the middle of the living room, carrying on a full conversation with her hands and a foot of floss in her mouth at the end of the night.

Her teeth might be grateful, but I’m pretty sure her audience has a different take on it.

Anyway… to deflect some of the lectures, I’ve gotten into a habit of bending the truth a bit when I’m at the dentist. I’ve found that if you don’t fully own up to not flossing very regularly, the hygienist will provide you with a plausible alternative excuse.

To wit – about a year ago the conversation went something like this:

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Stream of Consciousness: The Dentist

4 Jun

I went to the dentist this week. Let’s just agree that there is nothing but pain and humor that comes from a trip to the dentist.

So let’s start with my mental conversation with the hygienist:

Hygienist: Wow. Your gums sure bleed easily.

Me(ntally): Please do not lecture me about flossing.

Hygienist: Do you floss regularly?

Me: <Ambiguous head roll combined with wink and gurgle>

Hygienist: So maybe you could try to floss more. Or use a Sonicare toothbrush.

Me: <Silence>

Hygienist: I love my Sonicare. Everyone in my family uses it. There’s even a compartment where you can sterilize your brush heads so that if mulitiple people use it you know there aren’t germs.

Me(ntally): Fascinating. Aren’t you all still sticking the same nasty wand in your mouths? Gross.

Hygienist: In fact, I’ve actually given it as a gift before – for graduations or birthdays.

Me(ntally): That must be a hit. Seriously – have you been invited to any follow-up parties? Do people give you floss for Christmas? L-A-M-E.

Hygienist: You know, we sell the high-end Sonicare brush for $50 less than Costco. They charge $179 plus tax and we only charge $129 with no tax.

Me(ntally): Do you get kick-backs? Who is paying you to talk this much about a f*cking toothbrush?

Hygienist: It’s funny how people don’t like flossing.

Me(ntally): Funny “ha ha” or funny weird? Or actually not funny at all? Because we all know flossing sucks, right?

Hygienist: It’s amazing how much your gums are bleeding!

Me(ntally): Actually, it’s amazing that you’re treating that floss like razor wire and trying to deliberately slice my gums. Who – in the name of God – actually flosses like this!?

To be continued…