Daily Archives: November 3, 2011

Nitpicking

Well, yesterday was my tri-annual trip to the dentist. I go three times a year because I tend to be more susceptible to plaque than most people.

Too much info, I know.

Anyway, yesterday’s visit was with a new dental hygienist. I will call her Olga. No, I’ll call her Brunhilde. Anyway, I was to be tended to by Brunhilde, who was fresh from dental school. Now, I don’t mind being anyone’s “first” guinea pig. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? Brunhilde was a nice gal. She was very talkative, and by “very” I mean she asked a lot of questions. That’s not very conducive to a successful dental cleaning. But she took everything in stride, and was very funny.

I needed the sense of humor, trust me.

She began by asking me if I would like a deadening gel. I have never needed one before, and told her so. She shrugged and said ok, and began what I like to refer to as “The Reckoning”. I call it that because I reckon she got to scrape under my guns at least 75% of the time. By mistake, not design. By about the tenth time of that, I put up my hand, and when she sat back, I asked her for the deadening gel. And by “asked” I mean begged. I was trying very hard not to cry, but she had a gift for unerringly finding my nerves. She got a swab, and proceeded to spread the gel all along the gumlines. Unfortunately, my tongue was also along the gumlines. I began to feel the familiar swelling that come with Novocaine™. Pretty soon this should no longer bother me, right? WRONG!! My tongue was numb, but the inside of the gums was still having a party. And the worst part? I couldn’t talk well enough to let her know. I laid there, praying she would ask me if I was feeling ok so I could shake my head “no”. Finally she stops and says, “Ok, time to floss and then polish!” I smiled weakly and mumbled that I was sore.

She asks, “Did you just call me a wh*r*??”

I shook my head frantically, trying once again to be understood. Thankfully, she got it, and laughed at what happened. I was still mortified when the dentist came in to do his check-up. When I left, she thanked me for letting her do the cleaning, and asked what she could do differently to make it more comfortable. Of course, I had to tell her!

  1. Don’t ask the patient questions during the cleaning. Just keep the conversation as general and monosyllabic as possible, and not too many funny jokes, or the patient will choke!
  2. When using the gel, make sure to swab each gumline thoroughly, and reapply gel to swab before continuing. Also, move the tongue out of the way first!
  3. Watch for body language. Gripping the chair with white knuckles is a clue.

She was very glad to get my input, and I already made my next appointment with her for next time. After all, I did break her in 🙂