Friday, July 10, 2015

Tartar City

Today I rediscovered the truth of the premise that nothing learned is ever really wasted. I had the arms of my chair in a death grip as I breathed in and out, trying to focus on some other body part in an attempt to return to the Lamaze breathing exercises of almost 42 years ago. My dental hygienist Jenn – whom I honestly like when she doesn’t have an implement in her hand – was cleaning my teeth. She was employing that tool of Satan, the waterpik, which shoots sub-arctic water beneath my gums. 

          This would all be perfectly fine if I didn’t have :

  1. a pain threshold lower than a nine-day veteran of the Iron Maiden
  2. aging gums that have rolled up like 8 pm small-town sidewalks.
  3. aging teeth with more cracks than a pre-Civil War house foundation.
By now she knows who she’s dealing with, and bless her heart, she
numbs my entire mouth before approaching me. Still, we have the occasional exciting moment when she hits a live wire in a tooth and I suddenly levitate an inch or two above the chair while water is sprayed liberally over both of us.

          Today while I waited for the next inevitable jolt of pain, I tried to transport my mind somewhere else. This time I not only employed the breathing exercises that brought my now-41 year-old son into the world (deep breath, release slowly, focus on my left knee cap or pinky finger), but I also threw in a few butt clenches and Kegel contractions. 

          I figured I might not have any control over the events in my mouth, but at least I’d come away with a firm derriere and a decreased chance of incontinence.


  1. Going to the dentist - even for a checkup is always a white-knuckle ride for me. I am not in the slightest surprised that their profession is most at risk of suicide and supect the hygienists are not far behind.
    Love your proactive multi-tasking.

  2. Oh, dear. I've never had much of a problem with dentists. Don't hate me.

  3. A fine example of one of your humorous posts.

  4. a;b;c; I have them all and a very caring dentist.
    Oddly enough, it's the teeth with all the root canal work that are causing me pain.
    Dentist S can't explain it either. She's very gentle with me.
    Glad your breathing exercises are helping. Sort of.

  5. What about an Ipod with ear plugs? I guess I am lucky that for teeth cleanings I do not have to be numbed. But, I do find myself gripping the arm rests and have to school myself on being relaxed.

  6. Oh no....Don't remind me....I have a checkup on Monday. Our dentist just uses floss...couldn't you refuse the water pik and insist on floss?

  7. I guess I should be glad my teeth are not all that sensitive. I hate the dentist, and teeth cleaning, too. I'm always afraid she's gonna tell me I need some very expensive thing done to them. Glad it's behind you now. :-)

  8. Our hygienist uses one of those too...but no numbing stuff. Yes kegels help to keep your mind occupied:)

  9. Hate, hate, hate going to the dentist, I had reached the point where I had to take a tranquilizer before going and they still had to about scrape me off the ceiling.

  10. My favorite dentist ever was the one who held the shot needle behind his back and told me to look out the window, so I wouldn't see it coming. (I fell for it) I see from the comments we dentophobes are clearly in the majority!

  11. Ha! Way to make an unpleasant experience productive. :)

    I don't mind the water pik so much as the hook. I hate that hook.

  12. So sorry for your jolting pains but you did have me laughing. Humor salvaged the crappy day.

  13. I loved the end of that post!

    Sometimes I take a calming pill and a painkiller before going to the dentists. I feel your pain.

  14. This is so funny! I'm due for a cleaning and keep putting it off.

  15. Oh geez! Going to the dentist has been nothing but a breeze for myself. It's one of the few times I get to sit in a chair and recline without being bothered despite the usual requests to open and close my mouth. I've definitely caught myself drooling from being so mind numbingly relaxed. Just another routine in my yearly cycle!

    Justene Doan @ A+ Family Dentistry


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