I had my semi-annual teeth cleaning appointment today. I received my "cavity free" status on the chart and got high marks for gum health and superior brushing skills, but I still didn't enjoy the experience. No amount of praise makes up for the torture I endure in the chair, and I've finally pin-pointed the reasons why the whole thing is humiliating.
1. As soon as I arrive, the hygienist puts a bib on me, and I feel like a 3 year old. Then she takes me for a "ride" in the chair. That "ride" trick works on my 4 year old, but I'm too old to fall for it.
2. After I'm laying back in the chair, and feeling a bit vulnerable, she shines the "Interrogation Light" in my eyes and starts the questioning.
"Have you been brushing twice a day?"
"Yes." (I aced that one!)
"Are you flossing every day?"
Uhhhhhh.... at least 3 or 4 days a week.....more if I eat corn on the cob."
Now I'm feeling like an inadequate flosser, and start to shrink down in the chair and the bib hits my chin. I feel like I've confessed a grievous sin, and look to the hygienist for a little sympathy but I see nothing but a blank stare from behind the mask. Then she scolds me.
"Every other day is a good start, but ideally, you should be flossing daily."
"I'll be sure and put that on my 2011 New Year's Resolution List" I reply sarcastically.
3. Next she asks me to be her "helper" and run the suction instrument. I don't want to be her "helper". I pay good money for a teeth cleaning, and unless I'm getting some sort of discount for running the sucker, then I'd rather not. But since she has the Interrogation light in my eyes and I'm wearing a bib, I don't feel empowered to fight, so I hold the hose. Then I pretend to care when she shows me how to run it.
4. She begins to clean my teeth, and asks me open ended questions while she has two hands, a mirror, and a scraper in my mouth. Hygienists should only ask questions that can be answered with a nod of the head when they are working on you. She wants to know how my husband and I came to make the decision to home school our children. Really???? Do you have an hour? This cannot be answered in the two second break that her fingers aren't shoved in my mouth.
5. She gets polishing paste on my lips, and water squirts down the side of my mouth like drool and then she wipes it with a gauze the way I clean off my kids' faces after they eat Popsicles.
6. After it's all said and done, she hands me a "goody bag" with a new toothbrush, travel sized toothpaste, and a thing of floss, like it's supposed to make up for everything bad that's been done to me. I want to tell her that the floss is probably going to last me the full six months until I see her again, but instead I ask her for two. She doesn't have to know that I'll use the other one to cut cinnamon roll dough into perfectly beautiful slices. That will be my secret. Hee He Heee. I consider it as payment for running the suction for her.
7. When I'm herded up to the front desk, the scheduler asks me what I'm doing on Wednesday, January 5th 2011 at 10 am. Ummmmm.... I don't know. I don't even know what I'm doing tomorrow, let alone what I'll be doing in 6 months. "I guess I'll be coming here on January 5th. It's a date!"
You know, I didn't even get to pick out of the treasure box, or get a sticker for having perfect teeth. As soon as I got out of there, my husband called to see if I had any cavities, and I felt like I was 5 years old again. "No, I didn't have a single cavity....does that mean you're going to take me to Dairy Queen as a reward?"