Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dentist Rant

I love my dentist. This rant has little to do with my current dentist, but is rather a comprehensive rambling combining ALL dentist experiences from both personal experience and from secondhand stories. In fact, if anyone is looking for a marvelous dentist, I readily recommend Dr. Allan Thomas of Distinctive Dentistry on Parleys Way. I'll go to him as long as he's in practice, regardless of where I live. Click HERE for his website.

What's the deal with conversational dentists? You just pumped my jaw full of liquid and now I can't feel my face. You have your gloved hands that smell like rubber cement inside my mouth and you are drilling gaping holes in my teeth. Your light is about 100 watts too bright and 300 BTUs too hot and you are shining it DIRECTLY into my eyes. Your assistant is hovering and smiling...constantly smiling...does that not hurt her face muscles after a while? You are torturing me and you want to chat about my family, job, and golf game? Even if I wanted to talk I couldn't. And I don't. A few general rules that dentists should print, frame, and nail to their office walls:

1) You are scary. You may be nice and cordial during the pre-exam warm-up, but as soon as you strap on the mask and start poking around my pie hole you instantly become the devil.

2) It's all in the knuckles. There is ZERO need to ask me if I'm uncomfortable or in pain. Just periodically look down at my hands that are gripping the chair's armrests. If my hands are relaxed you are doing fine. If my fingers are closed on the rest and my knuckles are white then I'm uncomfortable. If my fingers are plunged two-knuckles-deep into the leather then I am in pain. No need to ask. Just crank up the gas and hit me with some more jaw juice.

3) Don't chat with the assistant. We patients are exercising extreme faith that you are A) competent and B) concentrating. We do not want you distracted. Don't chat up your assistant about her love life or bitch about your garden producing deformed zucchinis. Save that conversation for when you've finished raping my teeth. There is a reason I don't chat up the girl cutting my hair. I don't want to look like Chuck Liddell because I distracted her by pretending to care about her life. Similarly, I don't want my mouth to look like Michael Phelps'. You may be a brilliant multi-tasker, but I'm not giving you that benefit of doubt. Be quiet, throw out an occasional "oh this is looking great" or "you must floss" and then get the hell out of my mouth.

4) Nitrous is your friend. Don't cheap out. Forget your personal philosophies of right and wrong. Nitrous is an amazing calming agent. You should have spickets in the waiting room for people to suck on before their appointment. Believe me, the 4"needle does not feel that long when your body is slowly spinning around your head.

5) You'd better damn well have perfect teeth yourself. You don't buy a Ferrari from a salesman that drives a Hyundai. If you have to cap every one of those suckers then do it.

6) Implement a "head-nod" system. Feel free to ask questions and explain things before you lay me on my back, but once I've got the bib on then you should simply expect head nods. Yes/No questions only! For example, "Is that sensitive?" is perfect. However, "Tell me how that feels" is utterly retarded. Even if I'm not numbed up, you don't have your fingers in my mouth, and I'm perfectly able to speak, I don't want to. It takes a fair amount of strength to open my mouth wide like that...and if I have to close it to answer your stupid-ass question then it'll make it all the harder to open it back up and hold it that way.

7) Be Brief, Be Bright, and Be Gone. This rule applies to anything. If you need to talk to your boss about something, do it quickly, be intelligent, then go away. If your wife is already annoyed at you, but you absolutely have to ask her about a charge on the credit card, be quick, kiss her butt, then get out of Dodge. I do not want to visit with the dentist after he's annihilated my mouth. Smile, shake my hand, and see me next time.

8) Your hygienist is your secret weapon. No matter what it takes, you need to find a hygienist that is thorough, speedy, gentle, AND friendly. We may not want to talk to you, but we don't mind talking to your hygienist. I have no idea why this is, but it just plain is. In my dental experience there are very few that meet all these criteria, but those select few have been a joy to be worked on by. Don't settle for less!

9) Points 1-8 > gadgets. Don't think that your 36" flat plasma screen on the ceiling, with 1000 available channels and a remote control for your patient strapped into Boze headphones will compensate for all your other stupidities. I can watch TV at home. If I want the ultimate viewing experience I'll go to Lance's house...that dude's setup makes yours look like a first generation Gameboy. I am here to have my teeth cared for. Let's focus on THAT, shall we?

10) Chap stick. Even guys like me that refuse to gay up our lips unless they are oozing blood can appreciate some preventative chap stick. Your hardware hurts our mouths, and without chap stick we can easily wake up the next morning looking like lepers.

Dentists of the world, or at least in the Salt Lake valley, for the love of all things holy, please pay heed to my counsel. Learn these points, teach them to your staff, and post them on the walls of your office.


Mandy said...

My guess would be that you don't like to go to the dentist. I think that is hilarious. I'll print these off for my dentist the next time I go. Which should be soon, as I havn't been for a year... now that I'm thinking about it. Maybe I'll call them tomorrow.

Tyler said...

I actually really like my dentist...very few of these apply to him. This is more a compilation of ALL my life's experiences at the dentist along with stories from friends and family. My parents' dentist still uses a drill you pump with your foot...

Mandy said...

Oh dear. Maybe their dentist should go to a seminar where they have tools from this new century!

Pete Pearson said...

I think you are being very harsh towards your parents. They are wonderful people who actually still have all of their teeth! Remember, we brought you into this world ... we can take you back out!


Talbot Family said...

Ya know, it is pretty much the same scenaio during and after child birth. After they have cut your stomach open and are pulling out what feels like all your intestines they are talking about their fishing trips and recent vacation to Cancun. As we lay there numb to the neck, white as a ghost, shivering in shock, occasionally vomiting, wondering if our stomachs will ever lay flat again they are carelessly stitching you up so you can have a nice pucker on the right side of what now looks like a horizontal front butt. Anybody who has a knife or sharp object in their hand should cut the chit chat and focus.

Tyler said...

Pops -- If you do decide to take me back out, I only ask that you NOT borrow your dentist's equipment to do the job. I can appreciate a slow torturous death, but that is cruelty beyond description.

Ash -- Amen

Sister said...

I don't quite know what to say. I am seriously considering letting my teeth rot out of my head and having a home birth for my next baby. Thanks guys.