I get my teeth cleaned every six months.
I also brush and floss my teeth several times a day. As a result, I’ve grown accustomed to hearing nothing but praise from the people who clean my teeth.
It’s usually something along the lines of – “Your teeth look good. You’re doing a great job. Take care and see you in six months.”
A recent visit to the dentist, however, offered little in the way of praise. In fact, it was heavy on insults and accusations.
As the dental hygienist was cleaning my teeth, she paused during the cleaning, leaned over and asked, “Do you brush and floss your teeth?”
Being a very observant individual, I knew right off that this wasn’t praise. In fact, I was pretty certain that it was an insult of the worst kind.
“Excuse me,” I said, pretending not to have heard her.
Despite being given the opportunity to phrase her question in a manner that wasn’t so condescending, she chose to repeat the question again.
“Do you brush and floss your teeth?” she said. This time she spoke loudly enough for everyone in the office to hear.
I froze for a moment, not answering her question. The answer was easy enough to give. After all, I brush several times a day and floss at least twice a day. But despite practicing decent oral hygiene, I did not blurt out an answer. I think I was dumbfounded by the brazen nature of the question and how she chose to involve everyone within a 20 feet radius.
As if this was an E.F. Hutton moment, I’m sure everyone was waiting to hear my reply. Not being one to disappoint people, I answered the question.
“I use an Oral B electric toothbrush and floss with Glide,” I said, hoping that would shut her up and not have her question the seriousness I bring to the oral hygiene game.
Even though I answered the question and provided some additional information, the dental hygienist shot back with the following: “Oh, you use an electric tooth brush?”
Based on her tone, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she would have followed that up by saying, “You could have fooled me!”
She went back to cleaning my teeth. I thought everything was settled. Then the dental hygienist blurted out, “There’s a lot of calculus on your teeth.”
Seeing the confused look on my face, she decided to put it in layman’s terms, speaking loudly enough to educate the people in the waiting area as well. She said, “You have a lot of calculus or tartar on your teeth.”
Because she was standing over me with a sharp dental instrument in her hand, I decided to forgo making any sarcastic comments.
“That’s odd,” I said. “I’m not sure how that happened.”
The dental hygienist continued cleaning. 12 hours later, when she was done torturing me, she called the dentist. When he came over, I asked about the unusual build up of calculus (or tartar) on my teeth, speaking loudly enough so that the people keeping score in the waiting room realized that this was a rare occurrence.
The dentist took a peek in my mouth and told me there was nothing to worry about. He gave me a couple dental products to try and told me he would see me in six months. It wasn’t the praise I usually receive, but I took it.
I plan to be extremely diligent over the next six months. I hope I get the same hygienist next time around. I have a something to prove to her.
Or shall I say – I HAVE SOMETHING TO PROVE TO HER!