Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Personal Deep Cleansing

I had my 6-monthly dental visit a few days ago. Every time I go to the dentist is a little bit of a gamble. If I get a certain hygienist performing my cleaning, I am golden--she has a bit of a scrape, sure, as hygienists are wont to do, but she lauds me with effusive praise about my very clean teeth, and mostly uses a light touch. Some of the other hygienists vary in their enthusiasm and can I say sadism?

This trip I had a new-to-me hygienist, and this woman clearly enjoyed her job.

I have had all kinds of dental unpleasantness in the past. From the facial surgeon who decided to pull out all my wisdom teeth, since he was in there for one, and at one point put his foot up on the chair for leverage as he yanked on my tooth, in fact breaking it in half. Good times.

Or when I did not go to the dentist for a good 15 years. That resulted in ROOT PLANING. Holy crap you do not want that. Root planing is when, not satisfied with a visible-tooth scraping, they go under the gums with whirring implements and various metal rasps. Lots of novocain is required.

So this new-to-me hygienist was really nice, although a little talkative. And everything seemed to be going pretty well. Surface level cleaning. Checking gum recession. That kind of thing.

And then she said Oh. You have some tartar back here. This could lead to BONE LOSS.

So she started telling me this story about when she lived in Japan and her friend visited her. Her husband and this woman and another guy went to a crazy restaurant in Shinjuku where a guy in a woven mask throws flour on you or something. And they all got drunk and her friend married the other guy eventually.

It's all a jumble for me because this woman had a metal hook under the gumline between my back molars, trying to pry off a bunch of tartar that I probably have because I eat Cheez-its like it is one of my LinkedIn skills. ("It was through Kaf's dedication to stuffing his mouth full of snack crackers that our company was able to realize a 37% annual growth and broaden our customer base. Although you probably don't want to watch him do it.")

I got a mental image of someone prying gunk off a horse's teeth, as I often do when I am at the dentist. And she was leaning into the pry so much, I was wondering if my tooth wouldn't just implode like a Vegas casino in the early 90s.

And the story of the Shinjuku restaurant with the masked flour man was whirling in my head as every muscle in my body was tensing. I thought of that flour man and started to think of him as some tiny homunculus with a dental pick--to him the size of a spear, so basically the Trilogy of Terror guy--wedged in my molars and leaning with all his might, laughing demoniacally, spraying flour around my mouth.

And she kept talking, but I was completely focused on survival and making auuuuurgh noises at this point. Let me know if this is uncomfortable! She said, with a glint in her eye.

And here is the thing about dental pain. In some way I feel like I deserve those little twinges of pain you get during routine dental work. I think maybe I even kind of like them. They remind you that you are alive, and that you should probably take better care of your teeth. I am not religious, so I take my penance where I can get it.

And I can withstand most of the twinges. But Oh man, this was unpleasant. And I developed a complex series of eye-widening and groaning that tipped this woman off that I was uncomfortable.

This worked out as she said "Well, I have to stop anyway. There is so much blood I can't see what I am doing anymore."

Which, while not usually what you want to hear in any situation, sounded fine to me.

Cavity Creeps
Colgate ska commercial 

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