I had my teeth cleaned the other day by a really chatty dental hygienist. His name was Lloyd; I know that because he must have told me that 20 times while I was in the chair. He did a lot of talking while various dental tools were in my mouth, and I was at his listening mercy. Don't get me wrong, some of the factoids and information was really interesting and useful, but after a 1/2 hour of swallowing my own blood and a "fluoride treatment" I was delirious, queasy, and trying to focus on how great my mouth would feel after this visit is over. He told me for not having my teeth cleaned in so many years, they didn't look too bad or diseased. I immediately became very self conscious and embarassed. That's why I had calcium deposits on my teeth, he explained while using the water drill to remove these calcified shards, I could feel skull and jaw vibrations, a distinct "thppth" as each shard flew free and was sucked into the the dental wasteland via the suction thing. I was pretty impressed in general how dentistry and the whole dental experience had advanced in technology. Even the shape of the suction thing wasn't that straight hard plastic tube I remember, but a soft, orally-ergonomic squiggley shaped thing.
Lloyd told me that it was evident to him that I had orthodontic work done when I was younger because he was removed clear deposits of glue that have been a part of my teeth for about 20 years now. I was able to get the black lines removed off of my front teeth, which mysteriously appeared about 7 or 8 months ago. Those marks in particular made me feel self-conscious; I felt like a "faces of meth" bad teeth example. Those apparently were not attributed to tooth diesease, but as a result of drinking red wine and eating dark chocolate. Lloyd also told me a bunch of other things I forgot already, little factoids and info nuggets about brushing.
Before I left for my dental appointment, I was expressing to a friend that I felt awkward because I was running late and didn't have a chance to brush or floss. She replied, "why bother? it's their job. Sometimes I don't even brush in the morning." I'm sure she does brush the morning of the dental appointment, but she has this indignancy that is hilarious and fun to watch in action. I admit sometimes I egg her on for my own personal amusement.
I think the turning point in my dental experience was when I (jokingly) told Lloyd, "this isn't dental hygiene, it's art!" He really did treat cleaning my teeth like he was creating a work of art. Of course after I made that comment, Lloyd's vibe began to change, as he starting telling me things like "wow, the boys are going to really like your pretty smile" and "your smile is prettier then any jewels or precious metals." Now, I couldn't rebuff these comments because my mouth was held open by various instruments, so I just acted like I didn't hear it. The spray of water from the tools that were removing 10 years of decay had sprayed all over my face and down the sides of my neck, collecting in a damp pool in my shoulder blade. There were mildly uncomfortable periods when I regretted not having Novocaine, like when the vibrations of the drill were loud in my skull, or when he was scraping the calcium deposits off of my gum line, but over all it was worse in the beginning and got better as the visit progressed.
The end result? 1 1/2 hours of Lloyd working on my teeth yielded very favorable results. I feel very confident and am very happy that there aren't black lines or unbrushable and unremovable yellow deposits on my teeth. They look good, but no miracles were performed or anything, my teeth are still crooked and chipped. To fix those issues, I need to make separate appointments with separate technicians. It's like a dental community there, or maybe I guess it's a way for the insurance to milk the co-pay thing. I don't really know, but since it's affordable and the end result looks good, I don't care.