The Dentist

Let me be honest with you. There are few places I hate more than the dentist's office. Unlike the DMV or the library where the pain you experience is more of a general anguish. You just leave those places hating the entire human species. But when you leave the dentist's office you are often in an actual physical pain and you direct your hate at one specific person.

It is weird because up until college I actually really liked the dentist.


The dentist of my youth was quite a character. He'd squirt people with his little water tool, he'd make fun of you, he'd play little games. He was a person that really actually liked his customers whereas some of the dentists I've had since then, may or may not have done their dental training at Guantanamo Bay.

Also contributing to my early love of the dentist was his choice of dental hygienists. Oh man were they beautiful. The closer I got to puberty the more acutely aware I became of the various assortments of hot blondes and brunettes circling the office like a bunch of hot sharks.

They could have told me anything and I would listened.

OK hunny you need to start brushing your teeth with a used toilet brush OK?

Sounds great!

Then things changed. After I got back from college I had to get a new dentist that I instantly did not like.

While she had a pleasant demeanor and good intentions, she also had a hand like a foot. She told me that I now had a cavity in every single tooth and would be visiting her weekly for the remainder of my summer.

Here is the worst question ever:

Have you been flossing?

If you really don't know the answer to that question then you have got to be about the most awful dentist on the planet. I know you know the answer to that question. You know I know you know I haven't been flossing. So this is a power play isn't it dentist? You don't need to make me feel bad about being a horrible father to my teeth.

Kind of like asking a kid covered in mud if he has been playing in the mud. We both know the answer so just cut the crap. You just want me to admit I was wrong you sycophantic sadist with your sharp tools with their awful noises.

Who flosses? I flossed exactly 0 times a week until I got my first cavities at which point I continued to not floss. The only times I had ever flossed I am pretty sure it was the direct result of having eaten corn on the cob. I continued not flossing until I got home from college and had a cavity in every single frigging tooth.

So why can't we just skip the theatrics, you give me your 2 minute shpiel on how I should only floss if I want to "keep my teeth." And then you can send me home with a new toothbrush, some sample floss, and a tiny toothpaste and we can call it a day.

I started going in weekly, WEEKLY, to have cavities filled. I think it was something like 5 weeks in a row. Not that it wasn't a blast to go have cavities filled after my full day job at a summer camp - it really was. Sitting in the pain chair after 10 hours with sweaty, stinky, suntan lotiony 7 year-olds, so I could get a shot of Novocain into my face really is my idea of a good time.

The assistant would ask me if I wanted to watch TV and I would say yes and they would put on the news. Homicide, poverty and political scandal? Yes please. Don't mind if I do. That seems like a great appetizer before you drill the shit out of the bones in my face. Nothing puts me in a dentisty mood like the news.

I would sit or "lie" in the dentist chair the same way someone lays on the top of a 50 foot water slide, or perhaps, waiting to be shot out of a cannon.

I cross one ankle over the other, my toes crossed and curled inside my shoes, and my hands folded over my belt. I do this so that I can white knuckle (or white toe, as it were) my time in the dentist chair without too much of a violent twitch during the awfulness thereby causing the dentist to jab a sharpened instrument through my cheek.

And when I was having cavities filled back in my time of not flossing, let me tell you it was not a pretty site. The dentist was using picks, flosses, whips, chains, rotary saws, belt sanders... all kinds of tools. All the while I bled like a hemophiliac.

Which by the way, the sound of the drill... is there really nothing we can do about that? I mean you have to be some kind of sadist to enjoy using that. It sounds like the universe is being ripped in half. That sound makes me want to throw a bag full of kittens off a cliff.

My dentist would hit a nerve with her pokey tool and then ask

Did that hurt?

Oh no dentist that actually felt quite good. I was just testing your steady hand. Very impressive. Please, continue to stab me.

Or she'd start working before the Novocain started to work and then stab me again to which I would respond, "AWOOWAH."

Oh does that hurt?


Oh well... it shouldn't.

Well I'm glad it shouldn't but unfortunately, my mouth's nerves don't work in shouldn't, they work in do's. And they do hurt when you do stab me.

Every week we worked on a different part of my mouth, so every week for the 2 hours after my appointment, a different half of my face would be frozen in what I like to call "The many expressions of Rocky Balboa."

I would go to the gym with a quadrant of my face completely numbed so that any attempt to talk or smile would result in instant drool.

But things are better now. I floss regularly and I have a dentist who is much more intelligent, kind, and friendly. I can think of few people I'd rather be stabbed by.

Now, if he could just get some hotter hygienists.