I spent an hour in my dental hygienist’s chair today, wondering about the state of affairs of Dentistry.
I can distinctly recall a time when a dental check and cleaning took half an hour, involved 5-10 minutes of some mildly-painful poking and scraping, 10 minutes of polishing with some fluoride gunk, and then maybe 10 minutes of X-rays.
Now, it’s 5-10 minutes of poking, scraping, 5-10 minutes of checking the gums and then 15 minutes of star-gazing at the inside of your eyelids fireworks as the hygienist sandblasts your teeth, gums and everything else in your mouth.
It has evolved from an unpleasant affair (and I’m not referring to the noxious gut-smells that must assault the senses of any hygienist that has to hover of my mouth no matter how much scope I’ve gargled) to a white-knuckled, chair-gripping, eyebrow-raising, jaw-clenching, hygienist is going to murder my gums affair. (By the way, have you noticed that as you force your mouth open to allow a dentist or hygienist to probe your mouth, your eye brows try to jump off your head in a forehead-creasing arc?)
When did this happen? Was there some industrial accident that crossed a sand-blaster with a water pik? Am I the only person that wonders why this barbaric practice is considered state-of-the-art? I wonder what the statistics are for people that die of a stress-induced heart-attack right there on the dentist’s chair…
So there I was, trying to induce a state of calm by thinking about more pleasant things. But there’s little to ease the mind-shrieking stabs of pain as the industrial strength water pik (or whatever tool it is) taps its stiletto heels into the deep recesses of my gums. There’s nothing that says “be calm, this won’t be any trouble” like the welding-helmet she wears, and the goggles she hands you to keep the bloody spray from your eyes.
Instead, a singular vision kept playing itself out on the insides of my eyelids in-between pokes, of Steve Martin in his role as a dentist in Little Shop of Horrors. Here it is… (I’m the guy on the ceiling).