Dentists: Just filling time?

Do you know why I don’t mind going to the dentist? For the free toothbrush? Yes, that too. Because the cute receptionist always flirts with me? I’d rather not say. I don’t mind going to the dentist because you get to take time off work, lie down in the middle of the day, be surrounded by professionals who want to make you feel and look better, and no one is ever, ever going to break it to you that you have six weeks to live. You just can’t get that kind of guarantee when you visit the doctor.

Everyone just be chillin' at the dentist.Photo/Google Images

Everyone just be chillin’ at the dentist.
Photo/Google Images

Yes, there are the needles and the drilling and the whimpering, but the dentist’s office is generally quite mellow, what with the piped in music and the employees chattering away, never once betraying any dismay that their life’s work involves being knuckle deep in saliva.

There’s rarely a sense of urgency at the dentist because essentially we’re dealing with rot, and rot takes its sweet old time. That’s just decay it is.

Plus, being at the dentist gives you time to think as you lie back and try not to look up the hygienist’s nose. You think about how hundreds of years ago, if something dodgy was going on in your mouth, you’d just ask your buddy to poke around in there with his fingers. And then you would die because your buddy’s fingers were germ-filled disgustingness hundreds of years ago.

And now, here we are, all clean and sterile. And hygienists! There were no hygienists when I was a kid. The dentist himself took care of removing all that plaque and the three-month-old bits of steak (because back then flossing was for Communists). Now, the hygienist does all the heavy lifting, and the dentist just breezes in like some master chef, poking her pokey thing and telling you to say two Hail Marys and make another appointment.

And maybe that’s the reason it’s so mellow at the dentist, because everyone’s essentially bored. I mean, they’ve pretty much figured teeth out. Kind of set in their ways, teeth are. Just how much further can dentistry go? They have that numbing cream they rub on your gums before the needle, which is nice. And the very cool spit-sucker, which I could really use when I’m sleeping, if it ever goes on the market. And that rubber mouth-condom contraption, whose sole purpose, I’m quite sure, is to fool the patient into thinking something highly complicated is going on. There really hasn’t been much else in the way of dental innovation in the past decade or so. I did see an ad the other night for toothpaste, now with even more bubbles!, which is something, I guess, in a rabid dog kind of way.

For a while I was seeing a dentist who tried to convince me that I needed gum grafts. But not ordinary gum grafts. These would be human transplant gum grafts, AKA gums from the recently deceased. They would take pieces of the donor’s gum, eradicate the DNA somehow and stitch them into my mouth, where it would take on my DNA. Ummm, nnnnnnnno. There are a lot of things I won’t put in my mouth and dead man’s gum is near the top of the list. I’d rather have hundred-year-old fingers.

My children suspect that this particular dentist might have been a murderer trying to dispose of a body – one teeny-tiny bit at a time.

Since then, I’ve seen other dentists and none of them has ever suggested gum grafts, which leads me to suspect that the first dentist was pushing what’s called an up-sell. He was trying to SuperIncisor™ me.

Or, quite possibly he was just bored and hoping to conduct a cool science experiment in my mouth.

Did I make a stink? Of course not! You don’t want to upset your dentist. They have pointy things, and I wanted my toothbrush. Plus, I go to the dentist to relax not to complain. If you want to enjoy your dental visit, my advice to you is open wide and keep your mouth shut.

Originally aired March 12, 2013 on CBC Radio’s “Breakaway.” Click here for the audio link and guaranteed no awful drilling sound effects.


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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38 Responses to Dentists: Just filling time?

  1. Clever clever…. I would prefer to go to the DMV or Jury Duty to get my reading and lounging during the work week. Ok – you don’t get a toothbrush, but you don’t end up drooling on yourself with a half numb mouth 🙂

  2. javaj240 says:

    “That’s just decay it is.” Priceless.

    I like a nice relaxing MRI every couple of years myself.

  3. Letizia says:

    I tend to doze off during my dentist appointments so I get a free nap too which is quite nice.

    “SuperIncisor™ me” – loved that 🙂

  4. Two words:
    Nitrous Oxide.

    (Had to give that stuff up though. My dentist wasn’t crazy about me trying to turn the gas nozzle up every time she looked away.)

    Love the free toothbrushes though. Do you get toothpaste and floss too?

    (8 days, right?)

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Ha! That’s funny. Never had the pleasures of nitrous and always thought it was an urban myth, confined to sit-coms and Inspector Clouseau.

      If you’re little enough, you get the toothbrush and your choice of a gumball machine trinkets. Jealous! No floss, though.

      (Tomorrow. And I forgot until now! Good sign, right?)

  5. I miss the old rinse and spit cup – for some reason when they go to suck out the pooling saliva, my lips also get sucked in. It’s so embarrassing. Even though they wear those masks I think I see them laughing at me. But you’re right, anything that gets you out of work and puts you in a reclining position has to be good.

  6. Katie says:

    I hate the staring contest I have with the dental hygienist every single time… I feel weird closing my eyes.

  7. breezyk says:

    Fantastic puns. Well done my friend. I hate the dentist, like HATE. I have anxiety for days leading up to it.. last time I cancelled my appointment four times before going!!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Well, that explains it. Dentists hate it when you cancel appointments. So when you do arrive, they make sure they get out the extra-rusty pointy things. It’s a vicious circle.

  8. Another reminder slapping me in the face that I need to go to the dentist. Thank you for painting a not so stressful picture in my head.

  9. Kylie says:

    I have dead guy gum tissue in my mouth.

  10. rossmurray1 says:

    Reblogged this on Drinking Tips for Teens and commented:

    I’m just back from a trip to the dentist, and I can feel my face again. Here’s a piece from two years ago on why I love my teeth-keepers.

  11. List of X says:

    Maybe the dentist meant the deceased’s chewing gum?
    (This is actually much less yucky than the actual gums, since the chewing gum had spent minutes, maybe hours in somebody else’s mouth, while actual gums spent there years.)

  12. Paul says:

    Your old dentist is a lead man for the slow Zombie take-over – none of this lurching around eating brains , just convert normal humans to Zombies one tiny piece at a time – starting with the tissue from a dead man’s gums “transplanted” into a healthy man’s face.Then, it will be teeth and then an eyeball and the next thing you know it is all over and you’re a Zombie. Like turning the heat up on a frog in a pot of water – you’ll be supper before you realize that you were even on the menu.

    Through No fault of my own, I once heard Bill Cosby’s “Root Canal” routine the night before having a real root canal. The next day, I was all drugged up and in the chair and when smoke started to drift from my mouth, the whole routine flashed back and I tried yelling “Fire!”. This caused undue angst amongst my attending oral health professionals who immediately stopped all worked and stood back while I cracked up in the dentists chair. I suspect they were less than believing of my explanation. As it is, I still hold the record for the patient most likely to burst into laughter part way through a root canal. .

  13. pinklightsabre says:

    I thought it was just me and I was weird, but now I know I’m not, or at least we both are — because in recent years I started enjoying all the attention myself, and the serenity of just lying back there with someone else doing the dirty work, and the calming sound of the little tube sucking the backwash out, and me sitting up to occasionally rinse and spit, and to just hand the cup to someone else to dispose of it. And the music! I swear, I forgot how much good music has gone overlooked, or left to those DJs with the really well-trained, DJ voices. They even make bad weather sound good! Not to mention the view from my Seattle skyscraper dentist’s (26th floor!), and the superb earthquake retrofitting and seismic straps just in case, you know.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      That sounds luxurious.
      But about that music, why do places like dentists and other offices have commercial radio playing, with the obnoxious commercials and (yesterday) Rod Stewart “Young Turks” when they could have some hipster stream going or something reflecting say that particular dentist’s musical taste? Get drilled while Dean Martin sings. Heyo!

      • pinklightsabre says:

        Young hearts beat free tonight, time is on your side (on your side). I don’t know. Good question. Probably figured that out in Amsterdam by now, well ahead of us. I’m moving to Canada by the way. Tired of this bullshit of people like Donald Trump, but I suppose some of us have to stay back to try and keep it real, the poets.

        • rossmurray1 says:

          I’m counting on the country going crazy here in a month and electing the first New Democratic Party (read: centre-socialist) federal government. And then the poets will rule!

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