Brush and Floss
My dentist, either as a well thought out subliminal message, or because he knows no other reality, has decorated his office to resemble the insides of a giant, well kept mouth. He’s painted the walls the blanched pink colour of gums and lined them with equally spaced posters of teeth, interrupted only by a clock on one wall that is itself tooth shaped.
He’s the kind of guy who’s confused his assistant on multiple occasions with a half-witted remark like, “upper right four is five past five.” Watched her frown and look up from her notes and then gestured not at the patient’s mouth but up at the clock on the wall. “Ah!” She would say to him, “You got me.” Her surgical mask now not only serving to stop airborne saliva droplets from reaching her lips, but to hide the unimpressed grimace on said lips from her employer.
I hate the hygienist. I hate having to listen to someone who is essentially a professional tooth brusher, tell me that my teeth are not looking their best and then not laugh when I say, “don’t be mean about them, they’re sensitive.”
My hygienist uses double-ended scrapers (See Fig.1). You lie there in her chair and she gets to work, pulling a light over you that looks like the evil, long-necked cousin of the Compare Car Insurance robot (See Fig.2). She scratches your teeth with instruments that wouldn’t look out of place in the medical quarters of an eighteenth century Naval Galleon, used by the ship’s doctor to drill holes in sailors’ heads if they were getting migraines. And they’re double ended. This makes no sense. It’s bad enough that you have to feel someone sheering your gnashers like they’re doner kebabs, but to have to see the twisted bit of metal that are doing the job, dancing around in front of your face, it’s horrific.
Of course, she would say that it is out of practicality that they are double ended. If she needs a different shaped gouger she deftly rotates her instrument and uses the other end. Of course when she does that you find yourself looking up at a sharpened bit of twisted metal that you haven’t seen before, one that wiggles away in front of your eyes like the last one did, only this one has bits of your gum and teeth stuck to it! It was all too much for me. With images in my head of her carving an enamel chess set in my mouth I pushed her away.
I’d had enough High Fluoride Varnish for one day. The lacquer tasted like an all day breakfast sandwich from a petrol station and it made me salivate more than I wished. I knew that she’d chosen an all day breakfast flavoured varnish on purpose, maximising the saliva she could obtain off each patient so that she could bottle it up in her basement and sell it to the local organic window cleaners. Usually I would be fine with this. I love recycling. But it had all got too much for me. I ran out of the mouth room without even rinsing, too fast to even stop and laugh at the handwritten sign on the front desk from a local Primary School. They were having a cake sale for diabetes. I was in the car when this finally sunk in. I laughed.