Home > Most Everything > The Dental Artistry of Artful Dentistry

The Dental Artistry of Artful Dentistry

(This little gem comes in at 1355 words, about twice the length of a usual post.  Please be patient, and I promise the read will be worth it.  You’d have to be comatose not to laugh at this.  I even kept the hyperlinks to a minimum.)

First off, I want to say that waiting 5 years between dental cleanings is not a good idea.  You don’t have to go try it for yourself now.  I’ve taken all the guesswork out of it by doing such a foolish thing.  I forgot what it was like to run my tongue across the front of my gums and actually feel distinct teeth.  It felt like I was wearing a mouth guard.  I’m sure I could’ve eaten glass, gravel, or even Pizza Hut.

Everyone knows the ritual before going to the dentist.

–Brush

–Rinse

–Mouthwash

–Crest White Strips

–Floss

–Brush

–Floss

–Chew 2 pieces of gum until you get to the parking lot of your dentist

Your teeth pretty much look the best they have since the last time you were at the dentist, when you promised, swore, signed a deposition, and took a blood oath that you would floss (yes, YOU).  And yet, you know it will never be good enough.  It never is.  Why don’t you just eat a bag of popcorn, a pound of jerky, and sleeve of Oreos before going in?  They’ll still tell you to floss more, because they know deep down inside that no one flosses.  No one.  Not even dentists.  The floss company stays in business just by selling those tiny trial size flosses to dentist offices.  It’s like a running joke for them.  Probably a drinking game.  The more they guilt you about flossing, the more gin everyone else has to drink.  That’s why I go to the dentist early, before everyone’s lit up like the 4th of July.

You know it’s been too long since you last went if you can’t answer all of the questions on the paperwork you have to fill out as a first-time patient.  My answers went something like this:

Date of last visit– Approx. 5 years ago

Name of Dentist– Heck if I know

Phone Number– Good Question

Address– Man, I wouldn’t even know how to get there if you put me in my car a block away

The hygienist was very nice, though I knew my chompers would set her schedule back about an hour.  The first thing she did was look in my mouth.  Then she said, “How about we take some x-rays?”  That’s hygienist code for “I hate you and want to put a pieces of film so far back in your mouth that you want to throw up all over the chair (which is covered in plastic; no accident, I’m sure).  And you’re paying me to do it!”  Knowing this would probably be the least amount of pain I would endure in this visit, I obliged.

Of course, the first thing she did was put the lead vest on me.  I can only assume it’s to keep the rays from mangling my reproductive functions (I really couldn’t think of a nicer way to say it; if there is a nicer way, let me know, and I will change it), causing a tumor, or stealing my wallet.  If she had really known my feelings about having kids, she would have forgone the vest.  This, however, is beside the point.

The second step in this lovely process is for the hygienist to shove very sharp and very large pieces of plastic film into my gums and cheek.  She bypassed my teeth entirely to make sure it lodged halfway down my throat.  I don’t know, maybe she thought I might have a few ingrown teeth in my esophagus?  The worst ones were when she clamped “the stick” on it so she could set the film directly in my small intestine.  After about 20 of these, she must have decided I have paid my penance for 5 years of missed x-rays.

Since I had forgotten to floss, I was feeling especially guilty.  Before even cleaning my teeth, she called the dentist in.  He seemed nice enough.  He never looked me in the eye, though.  Do you ever get the feeling that someone is staring at you right between your teeth to see if you’ve flossed in the last 5 years?  I got that feeling right then.  He looked at my x-rays, and even brought them up on a TV to show them how out of allignment my teeth are.  Let me space out the conversation like I always do:

Him: “You haven’t had braces, I take it.”

Right then, I broke out in a guilty cold-sweat and blurted out,

Me: “Yes, I did.  But I wasn’t too faithful with my retainer.  That’s why those spaces are closing up.”

Him, calm: “I’m not talking about the spaces.  I’m talking about *insert shaming dental condition here*.  Who was your orthodontist?”

Me: “I don’t remember.  He worked with Dr. Hiroshimi.”  (Names changed to protect myself)

Him: “Dr. Loggins?”

Me: “That’s it!”

Him: “He was more like a general dentist disguised as an orthodontist.”

At that moment, a small part of my brain exploded.  My orthodontist was in disguise?  What else did he do on the side?  Ed Loggins, Attorney at Law?  Ed Loggins, CPA and Dry Cleaners?  Ed Loggins, Cher impersonator (That’s probably what he’d look like, too)?  Maybe it’s like that episode of Oprah where that guy pretends to be a doctor and gets away with it for like 20 years.  I’m lucky I didn’t end up with a British smile or a tummy tuck.  So now I’m really sitting easy now that I know the dentist I went to for 10 years was under-qualified and probably dangerous, if you can imagine.

So he finally says, “Everything looks good, and you don’t have any cavities” and just walks out.  Just leaves after dropping a bomb like that on me.  Not to worry!  I quickly forgot about that as soon as the hygienist grabbed her pick and started scraping the enamel off my teeth with prejudice.

Oh, the funny things hygienists say when they’re incensed at you.  “Your gums normally wouldn’t bleed this much, but it’s because of the bacteria build-up from 5 years without a cleaning.”  She couldn’t let it go, I see.  Digging, prodding, and otherwise murdering my gumline (it still hurts in some spots), she spent about 20 minutes alone hurting me.

Then came my favorite part: the polish!  That little rubber-tipped thing just cracks my butt up!  Does it tickle anyone else’s lips?  I want to die laughing the whole time, and always have.  With this dentist, however, I have a new favorite part: the freebies!

The freebies included, but were not limited to:

–Mini toothpaste.  The good stuff, too.  Colgate Extra Whitening, instead of “Grandma Loggins’ Dental Spackle”

–Floss.  She even added extra floss when I promised again and again that I would really take up flossing this time.  So I now have 5 little containers of floss in my bathroom.  Anything I can do to keep the floss companies afloat in this recession.  Again Colgate and not “Uncle Ed’s Mint-flavored Twine and Ham Glaze”

–Sugar-free gum.  Trident original, my favorite.  Much better than the “Butterfat Chewing Logs” (Get it, logs?  Loggins?) that I used to get at the “dentist”.

–Toothbrush.  This office must have a Malaysian Colgate sweatshop in the back, because this was Colgate, too.  A real toothbrush, and not the “Dr. Ed’s Human Hair-bristle Scraping Brush”.

–Chapstick.  I have no idea why they gave me chapstick, but it’s really, really good.  Cherry flavored, but without a brand.  It just has the dentist’s office address and phone #.  At least one-and-a-half times better than “Aunt Cher’s Margarine and Lip Goo”

Well worth the trip.  I think I could make more money selling my freebies than I paid to get the whole thing done.  Thanks for hanging in there so long.  I know it was quite a read.  Thanks to any devoted fans I may have out there!  Keep reading, keep commenting, keep showing the love!

I’ve got to get out of here right now to be on time for my appointment at Loggins Brake and Lube.

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  1. Phil
    December 3, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    “Dr. Loggins” was a faux orthodontist huh? No surprise there. It’s a wonder any of us still have teeth. Braces suck. Great post as always.

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