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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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 🙂