Saturday, June 4, 2016

What the floss?

I went to the dentist recently and came back empty-handed. No lollipop, no toothbrush, no floss. I didn't even get a dentist because he had already gone home for the day. I saw my regular hygienist and the dentist phoned it in the next day.

At the end of my treatment she offered, "Do you need dental products? A toothbrush? Floss?" To which I replied, "Need? No." But that wasn't really the point. The point is I've come to expect the free toothbrush and floss. Because, otherwise, why go to the dentist hygienist in the first place?

Also, there is a toothbrush hierarchy. The new toothbrush is to replace my old toothbrush which becomes the travel toothbrush; the travel toothbrush becomes the boat toothbrush; and, the boat toothbrush becomes the one under the sink that I keep just in case I need to clean some really tiny thing.

Now, you might wonder why I would need or care about a $1.50 toothbrush if I have a boat. It's not about the $1.50. It's about the fact that I have to put cardboard the size of a playing cards in my mouth before I have my head irradiated every 12 months. I don't want the dentist - the dentist who, btw, tells me i should come see him twice a year - to get my teeth scraped with a torturously sharp metal toothpick while I gag on my own spit.

But, wait! There's more! I can also get my gums poked once a year with a teeny tiny depth gauge just to see how far they can sink it below my gum line. They tag team for this event. One pokes while the other records the reading. I hear one call out 1, 2, 3, or 4 while the other one scribbles. Greater depths merit a lecture on the value of regular flossing.

For this I pay a subscription which is to say I pay in advance of services. For an annual sum, I get two scrapings, buff, and waxes, one gum prodding, and one X-ray per year at the risk of brain tumors. (Do we know if the rats in this study had good teeth?)

Sure, I can read yesterday's paper in the waiting room for free but is it too much to ask for a free toothbrush? (And can you make it red?)

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