Friday, August 14, 2009


My husband went to the dentist recently to have a tooth extracted.

The first time you go to our dentist, the receptionist hands you a questionnaire: "On a scale of 1 to 10, how nervous do you feel?" When you admit to any nervousness, she asks you why.

So you stand there talking to this lady you've never met before defending the fact that you feel nervous: "Well ... I'm not really that nervous ... I'm only a little bit nervous ... Everyone feels nervous at the dentist, don't they ... ". Your voice trails off and you shuffle your feet under her searching gaze, then return to your plastic seat in the waiting room, waiting with clammy hands for your name to be called.

At our dentist you not only get to fill in a questionnaire on your very first visit, but they throw in a free compliment to go with the free toothbrush, the guilt about not flossing, and the (extremely expensive) service. I'm sure they've been told that a compliment helps new patients to relax, because both Steve and I received one.

When Steve opened his mouth, the dentist exclaimed, "You don't have any fillings! That's wonderful!"

When I opened my mouth, the dentist exclaimed, "You have all your teeth! That's unusual at your age!"

I felt naively pleased. After hearing Steve's compliment, I'm not so sure.

Still, it could be worse. "Not many octogenarians have such a healthy set of gums." "You keep your 3 teeth very clean." "Fillings! You've got a complete set!"

Well, I don't have a complete set yet, but I'm working on it. I've just received one of those letters: "You haven't visited the dentist for 6 months and we're concerned about your dental health." I've got a slight ache in my left maxillary second molar and level 3 nervousness in my gut. Pass me the chocolate biscuits.

image is from nmoira at flickr


Rachach said...

ha ha this was very funny Jean!
Love Rach

Anonymous said...

I wonder what would happen if you replied with a compliment? "Thank you, your teeth aren't so bad either for a dentist!"
Love Carmelina

Jean said...

What a brilliant idea! I'll have to remember that.

Laetitia :-) said...

So long as they ask the questions about whether you have a heart condition, or are on any particular medication, it's all good (says the heart patient).

As for 6 months, maybe you should try my dentist - she was the first one to teach me the correct way to brush and, more importantly, why, which means I'm more likely to brush that way (that was when I was 32). She never sends me "6 months are up" letters and often wonders why I book in for a check-up because my teeth haven't really needed it since she taught me correct dental hygiene. In her book, 2 years between check-ups is fine for adults with no major issues.

As for all this talk of biscuits - what's in my fridge...:-)