Sorry, it’s nothing personal, if anyone happens to be a dentist. In fact, the dentist has always been the second-least-scary doctor to visit, in my opinion (the ophthalmologist being the least-scary). But I’ve noticed that dentists seem to be doing all they can to keep the surprisingly popular fear of dental visits alive and well.
First of all, the pre-appointment chit chat is terrible. Here’s what happened to me on my most recent exam visit.
Hygienist: How’s your day?
Me: Good, how are you?
Hygienist: Good, good…so how are you?
Me: Um. Good.
Hygienist: Great. Having a good day?
Hygienist: How do you pronounce your name?
Me: You just said it correctly, then incorrectly. Did you do that on purpose?
Okay, that last line didn’t happen. But the rest did.
Secondly, they shame you for not flossing three times a day. Frankly, that seems excessive, and quit acting like you’re surprised that we don’t floss! Why are you all high and mighty about it? Maybe you could figure out a different way for us to get clean teeth.
(Although, I have to admit, since I’ve been flossing this last month or so, they haven’t asked me about it, so maybe they actually do see the difference and don’t need to shame me. So okay. Well played, dentists.)
Finally, the dentist is where you get the largest amount of patronizing medical jargon while you lie there helpless. It isn’t enough that you have to be in this supine, submissive position, while they raise and lower the chair in a sick display of power – now they will talk from behind their mask (which hides their face so you can’t tell what they’re thinking) to the hygienist (also wearing a mask) and the two of them will use lots of terms you’ve never heard of to talk about you like you’re not even there.
Hygienist: *mumbling unintelligibly*
Dentist: What’s that, Milton? Did you want to do a probe now?
Dentist: Okay. Starting with lingual binding. *starts stabbing gums with tiny pitchfork* 4, 3, 2, 3, 2, 3, 3, 4, 3, 2, 3, 2… *this goes on for awhile while I stare at the ceiling and avoid making eye contact with the stranger who is 6 inches from my face*
Dentists, please tell us what you’re doing before you put anything into our mouths. And give us some props for having only 1 cavity in almost 30 years, or for having all 4 wisdom teeth, or for remembering to brush/floss/drink water/not eat anything before coming to our 8:30am appointment.
And for the love of God, put some posters or word searches or something up on your ceilings so we have something to look at while we’re stuck in your chair.
Disclaimer: I don’t really hate the dentist.