On dentist visits and moral superiority

Within the next few days, I'm going to be seeing the dentist for my semi-annual visit, scheduled well in advance out of a deeply-rooted sense of moral obligation about my oral hygiene as instilled by my parents. All dental visits are essentially exactly the same, and I'm sure this one will be no different.

Step 1: Brush and floss my teeth with more attention to detail than I've used since 30 minutes prior to my last dental visit.

No human being has ever looked this happy while flossing (at least without getting paid for it).

Step 2: Rinse with mouthwash for good measure. Wonder if mouthwash actually does anything or whether I'm just another sheep who has bought into the marketing.

Step 3: Arrive at dentist, sit in horribly uncomfortable chair, laugh with hygienist about how the last time I was there I was 7.5 months pregnant, haha yes so huge, yes baby is great, yes wasn't it so funny when I had to jump out of the chair to throw up and then almost fainted because you had me leaned back too far and the baby was cutting off my circulation? Good times!

Step 4: Close my eyes against the God-awful dentist spotlight they use to blind you while they scrape at your mouth. Shudder as various torture devices grate against my teeth. Listen to how I need to do a better job brushing the same fucking spot that they tell me about every. single. time. blah blah blah.

Step 5: The hygienist insists on asking a zillion small-talky questions while she has both hands wedged into my mouth. How on earth can you be a dental hygienist and still not know that you either have to do all the talking or just shut the fuck up? I mean honestly. Just because you can now decipher sentences like "ah huh uh ah uh ah huh" does not mean that you should be asking me to speak them.

Step 6: "Polishing" commences. "Polishing" is the dental industrial-complex's term for torturing someone by rubbing sand over their teeth. Thank God I'm an adult now and they just give me the mint-flavored sand instead of trying to ply me with the even more revolting raspberry and bubblegum flavors. Blech.

Step 7: Flossing! This is where they hold you captive and give you a lecture about how you need to floss more at home. As far as I'm concerned, if once a day is insufficient to stop my gums from bleeding at the dentist, well, then my gums are just bastards crying wolf. 

Step 8: Request a fluoride rinse (yes, I was that kid that infinitely preferred the fluoride to the "polish;" I can't be the only one). Listen to hygienist tell me that insurance won't pay for it as she gives me a worried look. Ask how much it will cost out of pocket. Hear that it is $10. Roll my eyes. Once again request fluoride treatment. Swish-swish, swish-swish, spit.

Step 9: Remember that you aren't supposed to eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after the fluoride rinse. Start to feel insufferable parching of mouth that has been wedged open at an unnatural angle for nearly an hour. Silently curse myself.

Step 10: Get out of dentist chair with an overwhelming feeling of moral superiority. In this fugue state of smugness, agree to schedule another appointment 6 months out.

Step 11: 6 months later... rinse and repeat.



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