Matthew Gates 4m 1,099 #dentist
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
The Dentist Test
Luckily, I have kept my mouth in decent shape for most of my life, but those trips to the dentist made me think otherwise. Although I did have braces for a painful five years, my mouth has been fairly good to me. My teeth have been doing their job ever since I’ve had them. There were three things you needed to do to keep your mouth in good shape: brush your teeth, floss, and rinse with mouthwash.
If you did these things, you were going to have teeth all of your life and everything was going to be okay. When I was younger, I probably had more cavities than I would have ever liked to admit. My mom would take me to the dentist every six months and the dentist would often tell me I needed to brush better. It seems as if he was mad at me for not brushing, as sometimes his cleanings were more intense and hurt. Nonetheless, I figured it is a dentist’s job to clean teeth for people like me, who aren’t so good with cleaning their teeth.
I always feel like going to the dentist is the final before you can graduate back into the world, with your teeth. Everyday, you are given a quiz on brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash at least twice a day. If you do it once, you get a lower grade. If you do it twice, you are average. If you do it more than twice, you are going above and beyond. Once you arrive at the dentist, he or she gives you a grade. Not a grade they ever tell you, but by how they treat your mouth.
As I got older, things never really did change. I am just not an expert at cleaning mouth. In fact, I probably suck at it, despite the fact that I cannot stand my mouth being dirty. When I wake up in the morning, after my first pee, I have to brush my teeth and rinse with mouthwash. I do not floss in the morning and usually just floss at night, when I remember, which is about every 3 or 4 days or when I can feel food stuck in my teeth. I do my best to brush and rinse with mouthwash twice a day.
It had been about ten years since I had been to a dentist. I finally had gotten a good job with benefits that included health, dental, and vision. I decided to take advantage of it and made an appointment for a dentist. I showed up at the dentist office, an office where there is about a dozen dentists working throughout the day. I got some X-rays taken and sat down in the chair.
The dentist was an Asian woman. I didn’t know her name, I just hoped that she would be kind to my mouth. I had learned by now that finding a dentist who doesn’t want to murder your mouth because you suck at cleaning it is not an easy thing to do. I told her my habits and asked her about my teeth. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as pretty as I had hoped. She came back to me and said although my teeth were not too bad, there was plaque on them. I asked about cavities and she said there were none. How was that possible? Avoid sugar, specifically candy, was the only thing I could think of that would help me to not have a single cavity, after not going to the dentist for almost a decade.
I walked out of their proud as hell at my accomplishment. Yeah, it was bad and she told me there was plaque, but she cleaned it, and I had no cavities! That news was just awesome to me! Though she wasn’t too enthused about it, as if cavities aren’t a big deal. They were always a big deal because I always had them!
On my next visit, my teeth were cleaned by a dental assistant and she said my teeth were not so bad. I was delighted about the news. After six months, I had managed to keep my teeth clean! Glorious day! She had left and let me know she would be getting the dentist.
The dentist walked in, this time, a much younger white male, who was not as pleasant as the Asian dentist. He did clean my mouth and he did it well, but he must have had been pissed at someone or something because he basically told me that I was going to lose some teeth over the next few years due to my age, and there was nothing I could do about it. Now I am lucky to be my age and have all of my teeth. They all work. There is no pain. I have done well to try and upkeep them. Next, it was as if he was taking his frustrations out on my teeth. The way he used the tools, screeching, scratching. I am no sure if it was done purposely or just part of the process, but I feel like I had just failed a test.
Why would a dentist want to hurt me? What did I ever do to him? I am sorry that I didn’t brush my teeth as well as you do, but you have a job because of me. I suck at my teeth, therefore, I leave them for you to clean for about an hour every few months. I know it is not the most pleasant job, I know it is not the job of champions, but honestly, much of the world cannot do what you dentists do.
You see things and even smell things that I would never even want to see or smell. Some of you dentists perform oral surgeries that are complicated. I respect your job so much and I respect the fact that you had interest in wanting to clean mouths for the rest of your life. It’s a job and you help people and even probably prevent many different types of diseases and viruses that are common in unkempt, unclean, dirty mouths.
But all I ask of you, is to sympathize with someone who tries his best to brush his teeth, floss, and use mouth wash twice a day. I know it could probably be more. I know I don’t exactly meet your expectations, but just know I am only a human, and I come to you to clean my teeth so that I may enjoy them for as long as I possibly can.