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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Local Woman Enjoys Picking at Things; or Fun with the Dental Hygienist

Contrary to local lore, I do not have, as the lunchroom monitor once described it, a “big mouth”.

I actually have a rather small jaw.

I explain this to my new dental hygienist, a woman with kind eyes and fabulous hair.

I look up at her, adjust the paper bib around my neck.  “So I’m going to have to take breaks, close my mouth every now and then, okay?”

“Totally fine,” she says. 

The conversation, such as it is, takes a decided turn into “lull” territory as she pokes at each tooth’s gum line.

“Howz oze ack ee oo-in?”

My back teeth have been the source of personal consternation for a while now.

She removes her hands from my mouth.  “For someone with all her wisdom teeth, they’re not bad.  Pretty much unchanged since last time.”

We take a small break from the dental cleaning, allow my jaws to relax.

“I’ll bet there aren’t a lot of male hygienists,” I say. 

She pauses.  “Now that you mention it, there were 30 in my class and only one was a guy – and he quit more than half way through the course.”  She shakes her head.  “Who quits more than half-way through?”

I shrug.  “Somebody who’s come to the realization that they don’t really want to scrape things off the roots of teeth?”

She laughs.  “There’s just something kind of satisfying about doing a good job at it, though, you know?”

“I hear ya.  I clean houses on the side, and man, there’s nothing better than vacuuming a really dirty carpet.”

“Or peeling a really great sunburn.”

We grin at each other.

“I used to have a boyfriend with just the worst skin and if I could get him to sit still–“

“Ahhh!” I laugh. 

The eyes behind the safety goggles crinkle in amusement, a smile is detected under the mask.  “Maybe we shouldn’t talk about picking and probing during a teeth-cleaning.”

“Oooh,” I say.  “That reminds me.  Do you know you can squeeze the pores on an orange?”

She stops, eyes wide.  The metallic picking thing hangs above my head.  “No.”

I smile broadly at her, a mouthful of partially cleaned teeth.  “Yep.  Seriously, try it.  You can get your two thumbs down there and squeeze the little pores.”

She leans in, and I open my mouth.  “I love those little bits of information” she says, a finger hooked into my cheek, a sharp object prying the plaque from a molar.   “Some days, I just can’t wait to see what will happen next.”


Silliyak said...

I've thought for a long time now that a dental practice should sponsor a team called the Ramoras.

Simply Suthern said...

I have an older dentist. Well he was kinda young when my family started going there. All they ask about is how my parents are doing. I need to try your dentist for a different conversation. Sounds fun.

Anonymous said...

We had a male dental hygenist for a couple of years....the best ever...so gentle and kind yet thorough. Then he quit and joined the police force. I guess he needed to let loose with some aggression.

The Geezers said...

I sure do admire your ability to find enjoyment in the dental chair. For me, it's my least favorite thing in the world.

joeh said...

Women dentists are the best, always a gentle touch...and sometimes a little cleavage. I would not allow a man to scrape my plaque.

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Pearl!

I see you kept the best til last:

"Some days, I just can’t wait to see what will happen next."

Wisdom, my dear. Wisdom.

Indigo x

Pearl said...

I myself have never had a male hygienist.

But I've heard rumors that they exist.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
I'm with the Geezers! eeeoowwrrr. I know they are not bad people. Just it's a not good procedure as far as me's concerned. &<

YAM xx

vanilla said...

So, now I have to get out of this comfortable seat and head to the kitchen. . .

Daisy said...

I have great admiration for someone who is willing to do that job. It's not one I would ever want to take on.

Sioux said...

Now I am going to have to buy an orange just so I can try it.

Or are you pulling our legs, Pearl?

Rosemarie Blackthorn said...

I'm so with you on the squeezing and peeling bit. Not so much the enjoyment of de-scaling teeth.

My hygienist is woman with the attitude of Hannibal Lecter.

Leenie said...

One of those professions which require a very specific personality. A good one is priceless. Mine doubles as my therapist. I leave with a clean mouth and a tranquil mind. Yes, priceless.

jenny_o said...

That hygienist sounds like she may be one of your kindred spirits, as Anne of Green Gables might have said :)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

It's funny when you think of how quality a conversation you can have with someone busy sticking their fingers in your mouth.

Slick said...

I work for a Lady Dentist, and she's the best! Our hygenist has picked up elderly patients, brought them to the office, cleaned their teeth, and hauled 'em back home afterwards. Then, she'd come back to the office for her next patient.

And do it all with a real smile.

Suldog said...

F**k. Now I have to go squeeze an orange to see if you're telling the truth. If you are, I don't know if it will make my enjoyment of oranges more intense or less intense.

Shelly said...

I've always thought dental hygienists have more fun than the average person~

Rosemary Nickerson said...

so what happens when you squeeze an orange pore? what comes out????? orange juice? this post was so creepy, I almost cancelled my next appointment.

Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only one who can't help picking at things. Things that are better left alone! This was so funny. My hygienist is not as funny as yours and you know, you're right, I have never had a male hygienist. And I've been around awhile.

Timothy Hecht said...

My NSA only spies on Americans for their own good and our own amusement. We're all on the same team here. Trust us!


Pat Tillett said...

I don't like getting my teeth cleaned. I do it, but I don't like it at all. I used to date my hygienist. That experience will be the subject of a future blog post.

Rose L said...

I didn't know they would give breaks! My jaw was always so stretched out i could hardly close it afterwards.

River said...

My dentists (yes, plural, I've had many) have always offered breaks. "Just raise your hand when you need a break". The two best dentists I've ever had were Asian, one a young female student dentist, the other an emergency provider just setting up practice.
I have an appointment coming up soon, but not sure exactly when. I'm on a "waiting list" . Hope I don't wait too much longer, it's been too long already.