Monday, March 20, 2006

lisa the hygeinist

I have to wonder if other people have the same experience as I do at the Dentist. For the last 20 years I have gone to see the same dental hygienist, and never thought anything of it. For the purposes of this writing, let’s call her Lisa. Lisa was great. She always had a smile and was always very sincere about the questions she asked, and always remembered your last visit. I’m not kidding myself here, it could obviously be the case that Lisa just took really good notes, or was one of the first dental hygienists to ever implement a really good CRM system, I don’t know which. But the point I am trying to make is this, she made the lousy experience of going to the dentist and being probed by really sharp instruments designed by an evil descendent of medieval torture experiments, somewhat bearable. And more to the point, I never really appreciated it.

Enter Helga… After doing my time with Lisa, she finally decided that the commute to her office was way too long – a frequent and really plausible excuse in the Atlanta area, and she left the practice. Helga takes Lisa’s place and enters the room dressed in fatigues and knee boots and proceeds to operate the recliney elevator chair with all the grace and presence of one of those dastardly medieval torture instrument inventors. It starts with the brilliant question of “have you been brushing your teeth”? To which I bite my tongue painfully to prevent the sarcasm from coming out. I long ago learned that being sarcastic can be fun and somewhat liberating; except when you are about to have you mouth probed by surgical instruments. After the litany of questions about everything from my latest cavity to the recent weather, She actually begins to work. The lovely Helga begins with the plexi-glass mask and rubber gloves, making me exceedingly happy that I am lying on my back. Then she begins to experiment to find my jaw bone with the before mentioned instruments and acts surprised when I don’t “bleed on probe”. I am assuming this is a good thing, but it may well be because all of my blood has left that area of my body out of fear. Then she wields the dreaded dental floss. This she utilizes in between my teeth much as an experienced assassin wields a garrote to one’s neck. Meanwhile, I don’t think she even notices my acrobatic writhing on the recliney chair. If so, there is no reaction. The experience continues down hill from here when she pulls out the sand blaster. This is the same device that was perfected in cleaning cement driveways and graffiti off of the side of industrial building walls, it has just be reduced in size to fit into the office. If I had any enamel left on my teeth after the previous experiences, it is soon lost to the vacuum that is sucking my uvula out of my throat. I think this is all one big ploy to increase my ability to have cavities in between visits, vs. actually preventing cavities.

I don’t understand why my hands are sore after a visit to the dentist’s office, or why they replace the arm rests of the recliney chair each time I visit Helga, but I must certainly say that I miss Lisa.

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