Friday, December 30, 2011

man, I hate the dentist

"Is this receded area sensitive?" asks the hygienist  as she jabs a metal probe into the exposed root below my ancient tooth.  Lightning streaks across the back of my eyeballs and a high-pitched  silent scream  resonates through my frontal robe.  I feel tears forming and I shake my head.  "Actually never bothered me until you put that pointy thing into the raw bone tissue of my jaw, you clueless idiot."

Dental personnel are a category unto themselves.  What normal person wants to spend hours everyday peering into cavernous mouths full of decay and odor.  My own dentist, Chris, is an obsessive compulsive, meticulous, nit-pickety professional, all the things you want in a dentist. He has the personality of a salamander, bland and colorless, and he giggles like a fourth-grade girl.  He's perfect for the profession.

I make it a point never to listen to John Mellancamp and unfortunately this is what is being piped over the intercom. There is a TV screen in the corner and I count nine scenes of peaceful scenery, mesas and mountains, bales of rolled hay in a deserted pasture portrayed digitally.  I am growing comfortable with the rhythm of the show and then Chris clicks a button and I am staring at my tooth, the size of a Lazy boy chair, scary little cracks and pock marks dotting its surface.

I lay perfectly prostate and what is with these modern flat-on-your-back dental chairs, my lower muscles will be knotted and twisted when they put me upright again. I will hobble over to my backpack and accept the free toothbrush and floss and agree to another appointment. We sat in barbershop chairs in my youth with a bowl next to us to spit in, no modern suckie-thing swooshing it away before we could see it. And Novocaine was not available for cavity-filling no matter how deep the thing was.

Chris has tried many whistles and toys over the years of my visiting.  There were the headphones back in the 90's and I could bring my own tapes, Def Leppard roaring into my skull covering up the mosquito whine of the drill.  Big, cataract surgery sunglasses, wait he still has those, and then there was laughing gas.  Man, I loved that stuff, interfering with my oxygen flow and causing an out-of-body experience which is what you want in a dental setting.


AmySueRose said...

I still have nightmares regarding Ralph Lytle's hairy arms next to my face and his sidekick Rose holding me down.

MrDaveyGie said...

Did you get to pick out a plastic ring from the cardboard tray? Like "Sadistic Ralph" used to give us. The man with the evil grin who drilled out cavities with a dull bit into 7 year olds without novocane.