The dentist displeases me. Translation: Fuck, I hate the dentist.
You must understand, I typically feel scolded like a misguided child when I’m at the dentist. Have you been flossing? Well, maybe I better look at your flossing technique. Are you scraping between each tooth? Uh, scraping, well, uh, of course, I’m scraping. Who doesn’t scrape when they floss?
Who comes to the dentist with clean teeth? Who are these people? I want to know who you are. I’m going to personally come to your house and force coffee down your throat.
But I’m all joy and positive energy with my children. It will be just a little
scraping cleaning. Come along children. My children both have their teeth cleaned at the same time so I sit in between the rooms. You can accomplish this at the dentist with the special divider that is not completely flush to end of the wall. I ask myself, is this merely a construct in which to better hear someone’s pain?
Scanning the scene, watching their squirming bodies, wincing, and talking whilst fingers stir in their mouths, the hygienists chide them about the white furries (that’s what they call them), tartar buildup, and possible calcification. This is a good, new word for my six-year-old. Scrape, scrape.
The squirming doesn’t fly when the doctor arrives. Behold, the doctor. When I have an appointment with doctor, we chat about the gym or mowing the lawn. However, when it comes down to business, it’s about precision, intensity, and focus. Watch out if the hygienist has committed an error, heaven forbid. You don’t want to fall out of the good graces of the doctor. I feel the air sucked out of the room, and clutch the chair tightly, swallowed up inside the fiery inferno.
I can always tell, too, if the hygienist screwed up. I can feel it. There is nothing she can do (I’ve only had women as hygienists.) And if the computer screen freezes up. Holy Moly! The hygienist pleads, It was working just a minute ago. I say to myself, Release me from this chair. Release me. The doctor holds sharp instruments and he’s scowling.
Imagine my horror when my six-year-old is misbehaving, sticking his tongue out every which way. Put your tongue inside your mouth. Stop moving. Be still with your tongue, says the doctor.
Be still, I urge my child. Be still like a statue.
My ten-year-old interrupts this scene with his announcement that he is going to partake in some hot cocoa at our orthodontist downstairs. Momentarily, I reflect that although this is definitely a bad idea just having had a fluoride treatment, and he’s saying this right in front of the hygienist who worked mercilessly on his teeth…I think why not? What that ortho outfit wants for braces…he should wander into their lobby, enjoy a little cup of cocoa, a handful of goldfish crackers, their gourmet cookies…oh, and they also offer coffee by the cup, assorted flavors available. My mouth waters.
The doctor and the hygienist await my response, the room quiet. Of course you can’t. You can’t, son. Remember? Fluoride? My son simply leaves the office with no explanation. The hygienist swears he’s hormonal.
We leave the dentist all smiles and pearly whites, with toys, and the promise to brush better and floss scrapier. Still no cavities. I’m renewed with hope. From now on, we will brush for two minutes twice a day. What better way to do this than with a delightful brushing song, an iPhone App? Certainly this will do the trick; it’s technology lighting the darkness. A spunky dab of toothpaste, with shoes I might add, sings a song about brushing his teeth the right way, doing it twice in a day, and tells you when to switch every 30 seconds. The dab sings:
Brush them back on the inside, top and bottom, down and up and down, brush ’em cuz you got ’em, never let it dangle, brush my tongue, brush it an angle, ain’t it fun….
Or, something like that! My goodness that dab can boogie and even does split jumps.
Upon hearing this song, my six-year-old spins out of the bathroom and into the living room, with arms flailing, the toothbrush nowhere near his mouth. He then flings the toothbrush into the abyss of the toy bucket where I spend the last 45 seconds of the tooth melody searching for said toothbrush. Mom, that song is horrible, he tells me. Remove that app from your phone immediately.
Personally, I thought the song was a little catchy. What’s not to like?