Friday, January 6th, 2012

I had to visit the dentist. I’m fine, everything’s okay, it’s just that I made an appointment that I completely forgot about until yesterday afternoon, so it was too late to change it even if I wanted to. I had to go. Canceling at the last minute would have prequalified me to be a card-carrying douche.

My dental hygienist was not the overlychatty sort. She was very friendly, asked me if my holidays were happy and told me about hers, but once I was tipped all the way back in that chair and she was crouched over my head with her hands in my mouth, she was intent on her business. She didn’t ask me any chatty questions or expect any chatty answers. I appreciate professionalism like that.

But I, unfortunately, thought of all sorts of questions to ask her which, of course, I couldn’t because my mouth was full. Foremost in my mind was, “The first time you did this – how awkward was it?” It occurred to me that a dental hygienist must have to be the sort of person who’s not only comfortable getting into the personal space of a complete stranger, she (now that I think of it, every one of them has always been a she in my experience) also has to be okay with getting literally in your face to do the job.

I used to imagine that they pretended that teeth were disembodied, or were props rooted in some artificial, unfeeling material, and yet the best dental hygienists I’ve visited were always aware that there was a live human being at the other end of their sharp instruments, wincing at every poke that strayed to far into the gumline. I myself am a bit of a drama queen when it comes to wincing.

But that first time when they shove their hands into the slavering maws of real, live human beings – that’s got to be a little weird for even the most gregarious, easy-going people. I’m not talking about the ick factor resulting from all that spit, tartar and whatever else grows in the mouths of people who don’t take good care of their teeth, although that would bother me quite a bit, and that’s why I’m not a dental hygienist. This is strictly about getting so close to strangers as to be, for all intents and purposes, physically inside them. How weird would that feel?

I couldn’t ask her, so I’ll never know.

dental | 5:35 am CST
Category: daily drivel | Tags: ,
1 Comment | Add a comment

One Comment

  1. 1 The Seanster said at 8:24 pm on January 6th, 2012:

    What’s the big deal? I get physically inside complete strangers all the time.

    TMI?

    I keed, I keed…