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Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I went to the dentist yesterday for a routine cleaning, and despite a stellar scorecard from both the hygienist and the doctor, I left thinking yet again that dentistry is a far bigger racket than doctors. In addition to the astronomical prices for what should be minor procedures by this point in time, it is the entire experience that tends to grate my nerves.

The unpleasantness begins immediately after signing into the registry to confirm your presence in the office. It could be coincidence, however, I've found dentists boast the worst waiting room magazine selection on the planet. It's like they take a perverse pride in only giving you the option of thumbing through 3-year-old National Geographics or obscure Field and Stream issues or possibly Architectural Digest.

After killing time staring at the wallpaper, your name is called and then you are placed into a chair with your mouth pried open wider than the waiting room at a Fluffer try-out session. My personal pet peeve at this point is the hygienists who ask open-ended questions when you can't possibly talk.

How was your weekend is an inquiry that doesn't lend itself to discussion when you can't do anything except ground or make a few vowel sounds

After scraping your teeth down, they begin to polish them which tickles like crazy. This alternates with them spraying water into your mouth and having you swish before constantly spitting the backwash into a suction apparatus. Then, they begin rigorously flossing your teeth and gums, a procedure that feels somewhat pleasant except that most hygienists also utilize this time to turn into flossing Nazis who chastise you for not spending 20 minutes a day going back and forth over each and every tooth.

The best part is that during the entire process you get to wear a bib around your neck thus ensuring their superiority over a grown adult who has been forced to wear such a thing.

Luckily, the actual dentist only tends to spend a few minutes making idle chatter and poking a little at your teeth before moving onto the next customer. It would help immensely if they would offer optional laughing gas for routine cleanings, however, I've seen no evidence they plan to extend the service.

The only good thing is that it's another six months before I have to return, although I'm sure the same National Geographic will be waiting for me.



  1. cats Says:
  2. i absolutely HATE getting my teeth cleaned. must have something to do with the soft teeth i inherited. it actually hurts and i would prefer getting a filling to having my teeth cleaned... at least then i get painkillers.

  3. Dentists have an awful racket. Hmmm... Looks like you need this and that. Really? I don't think so. Just clean my teeth and lemme get the hell outta here.

  4. Cats - That's even worse if your teeth or gums are sensitive. Ouch. To me, it's more of an irritant, but you make a fine point about the painkillers (although they just usually put me to sleep).

    WhatIgot - Exactly. They are always trying upsell you on some service that costs about 20 times what seems reasonable. It's just an ugly experience.

  5. JLee Says:
  6. Good thing it's only twice a year. They actually charged for my daughter swishing fluoride around in her mouth. It was like $20 or something since insurance wouldn't cover it more than so many times a year! Stupid...

  7. Romany Angel Says:
  8. Never mind the magazine selection, did they have the obligatory fish aquarium to make you feel relaxed before moving through the gates of hell?

  9. idobcool Says:
  10. They should add that "Laughing Gas" book to the waiting room reading material especially for the work of R. Crumb.

  11. A.B. Says:
  12. I have a high pain threshold (weird) and when I go to my Dentist they ask if they can have the newbie work on my teeth because usually they cause too much pain on patients. Last time, "we" found a new nerve in my mouth and I'm no longer the poster child for pain around there.

    which reminds me.... time to make an appointment....

  13. Miss Ash Says:
  14. That was the perfect explanation of the dental experience.

    I always bring my own book/magazine to read cause I can't stand flipping through Readers Digest circa 1985.

    And I will never ever understand why they talk and ask questions when there is no possible way I can answer.

  15. Linda Says:
  16. I don't mind the cleaning, it's the dreaded moment the doc silently looks at your x-rays. Nowhere to hide!

  17. Physical therapists are bad too. I had a friend who had to pay over $100/visit to go through her exercises with nobody even watching her. My bills were only slightly better, but at least they're finally paid off.

  18. Jlee - That is flat-out ridiculous. Seriously. I would have raised hell for that $20 bullshit. That's adding insult to injury. Ha. Stupid indeed.

    Romany Angel - Ha. I actually thought of your post, but no they actually didn't have an aquarium. However, I got a deep tissue massage yesterday and they had 2 of them, so I think that evens things out, eh?

    Idobcool - I agree on both counts as a little bit R. Crumb would be far better than the crap they have out. Some actual laughing gas would help too.

    A.B. - You are tough as there is no way I would let newbies anywhere near my mouth (maybe a new masseuse). And the nerves in your mouth - at least mine - are super sensitive so that must have hurt like hell when they found a new one in you. I think you've done your duty and your volunteering days should be behind you. Ha.

    Miss Ash - THanks, and I had to laugh at the Readers Digest comment because I actually meant to list that out and couldn't come up with it this morning. Ha. It's amazing just how terrible the selection has become.

    Linda - At least X-ray are only once a year, eh? I am always nervous as well when that takes place, but I haven't received any strange reports since I was a kid (knock on wood).

    Native Minnow - I didn't even think to include therapists, so thanks for the insight as I have little to no experience in that arena. If I was your friend, I think I would have held the $100 dollar bill in her hand until someone - anyone - came and actually put her through the paces. Give me a break.

  19. The flossing lecture burns my ass. I'm not allowed to lecture the dentist for not reading with his kids. People should read with their kids. I can't lecture anyone about it. How come they can be asses about it and its not considered condescending in their trade? I'm gonna write a letter.

  20. vivavavoom Says:
  21. god that just reminded me that i have got to go....ugh! and I am afraid to. I think my crown is coming off because I am feeling cold/hot drinks now, and I am so afraid I may need a root canal again. I loathe the dentist and have put it off for 2 years because I had such a bad cleaning 2 years ago. They really should just knock me out when I go.

  22. Getoffmylawn - That seems fair, and I would defintely agree about reading to your kids as that is one area I actually look forward to one day. Write the letter & then deliver it to all dentists within a 50-mile area of your home. It sounds like a post to me. Ha.

    Vivavaoom - You should demand laughing gas before you schedule your appointment as that might make it bearable. I hope you get better news than the root canal as I had 3 of them once after a basketball injury and they are no fun at all.

  23. slopmaster Says:
  24. I hate when the hygenist asks you questions?>! but I like it when she's hot. Don't be such an anti-_________

    what should go on the blank??


  25. TROLL Says:
  26. I don't want to know what a Fluffer is. A Dentist almost killed me when I was a young troll.

    Used 6x the recommended dosage of the wrong sort of pain-killer. A kind that takes about 10 minutes to work instead of 2.

    Jab with 2x the recommended dose. Wait 2 minutes. "Are you numb yet?"
    Repeat procedure thrice more before taking head-out-ass and realizing mistake.

  27. Miss Ash Says:
  28. Dentite!!!

  29. Slopmaster - There are few good-looking hygienists left out there in my opinion, although there are far more than any good-looking stewardesses so I suppose that's a good thing. As for the blank, I'm at a loss except for Miss Ash's anti-dentite because I'm out of answers.

    Slopmaster - Then you have a valid reason to have a serious mistrust of dentistry as that was a formative years mistake that sounds semi-ridiculous (how do you overdose by that much?). And I thought fluffer was now fairly mainstream, but maybe not, so it's someone who hangs around a porn set & gives oral sex to performers to keep them ready for the camera.

    Miss Ash - Good one. I was drawing blanks.


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