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An Old Story of Dental Care
Turning 30 »

An Old Story of Dental Care

02/09/12 | by admin [mail] | Categories: News

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Forgive me as I preface by saying that I hate the dentist. It takes an act of God to get me in there. I have had one cavity in my life caused by a cracked tooth. They claimed I had another 3 years ago, but I am confident that I made it go away. I fear being out of control and the dentist office is one of those places where one must relinquish all control.

I arrived at my dentist office early one morning for a routine cleaning. It was a nice office, the standard dental office smell, but technologically very advanced. For a person, such as myself, who is technologically remedial, it is fun to watch the pictures of my mouth on the screens. If you think about it, it’s hard to get a good glimpse of your mouth no matter how close you get to a mirror. This problem is compounded when the mirror inevitably fogs from your rancid breath.

I waited patiently to be called back, but was a little taken aback as my dentist (who is now deceased) ran an exceptionally proficient office. I heard my name eventually, but not from the voice I expected. You see, I always saw the same hygienist. A woman who knew my family and was a saint in her own right. Actually, you have to be a saint to clean peoples’ mouths, talk about disgusting. The young lady introduced herself and told me that my usual hygienist was out. Trepidation being an understatement, I proceeded back into unfamiliar territory as this was my dentist’s partner’s assistant.

Cleaning underway, she was about as gentle as a bull in heat with a rider’s spurs smacking its balls. I survived, but then came the flossing. I floss on a regular basis, I really do. I feel like my breath smells like a baby’s diaper suffering from dysentery if I don’t. Again, her care and sensitivity was overwhelming. She felt like an army of midget lumberjacks attempting to saw my bottom jaw off. As she reached my permanent retainer she began to espouse her expertise.

I listened as she explained to me in the tones of a mother scolding an uncontrollable child how I inadequately floss around my retainer. Once she had extracted her arms from my mouth, which I swear were elbow deep, I had my opportunity to reply.

“Lady, I do the best I can, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit here and let you lecture me like a child when you’re working with all of an AA degree and a bad attitude.”

Unbeknownst to both of us, my dentist, the affable Dr. Mattingly, had quietly entered the room and heard the tail end of the conversation. He did not address what he had overheard directly but rather took a seat and quickly began to examine my mouth.

“Zachary, your teeth are always impressive. Most 27 year old men do not take such great care of their teeth. I am extremely impressed with how well you clean around your retainer. Jamey (we shall call her Jamey since I do not recall her name), come here and look at this, I want to show you what I’m seeing so you know what to look for. See how the gums are pink and firm and not showing any signs of any kind of infection? This is despite the fact that Zachary here has severe overcrowding and has had to have his permanent retainer reapplied 3 times. Really a testament to someone who takes care of their body.”

It was a small victory, but when I arose and Dr. Mattingly shook my hand as I left, I couldn’t help but notice the slyest of smiles he offered. For what it’s worth, I never saw that lady in the office again. As a matter of fact, he and his partner split shortly thereafter.


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