The dentist himself is too good to clean teeth. He comes in at the end, after the hygienist has done her thing, glances in my mouth and throws an Oral-B toothbrush on my bibbed chest: "A gift." And he's gone.
Her thing. The hygienist would like you to know that hygienists don't get any respect. People think it's the dentists that do the cleaning but it's not. How are my teeth? It's weird but in the last two days, I've felt some weird sensitivity to cold. Without looking at my teeth, she tells me that the reason for that is I'm on my way to gum disease. There is the tooth, the root, the rod, look at me please, the tooth the the rod, and bacteria has gotten in between the root and the gum and I am going to get gum disease. Unless I get sealants on my teeth. Wait but you didn't even look at my teeth. That's okay, I know. Sealants are $100 per tooth.
Let her poke around with her little needle. The handles of her tools are rubber, light green rubber and the rubber is filthy. This does not inspire confidence. They wear gloves. How do the handles get so gross? Weren't the scrapesters and mirrors cooked in an autoclave? I have pocketing. Remeber the tooth, the root, the rod? Bacteria, I'm going to need some deep sea irrigation cleaning on both sides. It's $450 per side. I tell her I am not prepared to spend that kind of money on my teeth. I understand I will soon be a toothless young lady gumming my Cream of Wheat but I cannot spend $900 on a gum irrigation. I would sooner spend that kind of money on Lumineers (TM), which she has not yet tried to sell me but watch out she will.
I tell her I would like to get a regular cleaning, like when I was 10, and we scrapey-scrape and she lectures me about flossing and I get a fluoride treatment and leave. She says she doesn't lecture about flossing. I say "But I don't floss!" and she says "Well, try to floss sometimes then." I realize she doesn't want me to floss. I realize this dentistry practice is in the hole and she is dying for me to get gum disease and the dentist has told her to talk non-stop about me losing my teeth so that he can finance the renovations she has told me they are doing in February! No I do not want to pay $70 for bite-wings! Why can't you be honest with me? I'm the only person I know who actually goes to the dentist! And I use Sonicare! And I grew up with enough calcium! Oh, she'd like me to know that the Sonicare, because its brush head is unfortunately (unfortunately!) the size of a regular brush head, is not getting into the cracks in my gums. I am so fucking on to this woman. The dingy office is plastered with ads for the Oral-B electric toothbrush with that tiny, non-regulation-sized round head. How fortunate!
So she does the cleaning. She uses the electric scrapster and I am 100% positive she hurt me on purpose to prove her point about my decaying gums. It hurt terribly and when it hurt I just opened my mouth wider as if I was feeling no pain listen missus not only don't I have gum problems but my gums are so healthy I will not wince or cry out when you stab me.
I need a new dentist. I want a dentist who is going to work with me within my budget and not try to sell me a bunch of crazy treatments. I believe that a dentist (or underappreciated hygienist) who is not concerned with my flossing is trying to take me for everything I'm worth.
Which is, of course, quite a bit.