Trips to the dentist are bittersweet to me.
It’s bitter at first when the hygienist takes out all her marital issues, work stresses, overdue bill anxieties on me while I lie cringing in a pleather chair. It’s only one hygienist, the others are great. No problems.
And then sweet when my dentist tells me my teeth are beautiful and my kids’ teeth are too.
Today I walked in with two loud mouthed little people in tow (Yes, I called them loud mouths. I’m certain that if I went to the moon, I’d still be able to hear a faint, but clearly recognizable “Mommy” in the distance). I checked in and then quietly prayed that I wouldn’t get Helga (that’s not her name, but it seems appropriate). Five seconds later, Helga walks out and calls my name. Me, ever the martyr, volunteered to let one of my kids go first.
Hey, I had reasons: 1. She’s a psychopath (Ok bad one to start with.) 2. They only count the kids’ teeth. They don’t actually do anything.
Helga said no. “We must go in the order of the appointment listing.”
Me: “That’s BS Helga. Don’t be a slave to the process!!” is what I thought as I stood up and walked toward. Head down. My kids followed.
Helga made small talk. We laughed about our kids and husbands. It’s like we were old sorority sisters shootin’ the breeze. Then it was time to start. She was careful at first. I thought, “Maybe last time she was a fluke. She was pregnant however. I’ve been an angry prego before. I understand.” The kids peeked in and made comments like “Does that hurt my Mommy?” “Why is Mommy’s tongue doing that?” and “I think Mommy wants bubble gum flavor.”
Helga rolled up her sleeves (Or maybe I imagined that part). Was that a sneer? The mini sicle was her weapon of choice as she scraped and scratched at my teeth and gums. As she watched, Anya’s face turned to a horrified curiosity that sorta bothered me. I’m pretty sure Helga carved some sort of message in there that will be decoded once I can get a tiny mirror and magnifying glasses. If it’s possible, my teeth bled. I’m pretty sure. Once she finished applying pressure to get the bleeding to stop, she pulled the floss out. FLOSS? What is this? What were you just doing with the sicle?? Oh, she wanted to use the floss like a hacksaw on my gums. More bleeding. (Btw, if you’re judging me right now, I floss DAILY!) To top it off I get peppermint. Peppermint! Gross.
This could be considered torture in some countries. The “cleaning” is done. I breathe. Helga says, “You take care of that sweet baby.” What is this? Some kind of sick joke? Are we friends again?
The dentist comes in, “Teeth look great! Good job!”