Mar 14, 2012

Take My Dentist, Please!

He is flighty, my dentist, like a robin darting from branch to branch. But my dentist flits from room to room, blue plastic gloves snuggly over his two hands.  The hands and gloves go with him, of course, as he leaves my sight line. I hear his voice in the other examination rooms (rooms, plural). He tells the other patients they are doing well, the crown looks good, the x-rays show no trouble, come back in six months, and then he returns to me, same blue gloves covering his hands.  Where have they been?

Once he used his blue-coated hands to pick up a magazine I had on my lap, People, to look closer at a photo of a movie star, then replaced the magazine on my lap and reached into my mouth with his waiting-room-magazine-touched gloves.

When he was performing a root canal on an abscessed tooth and it got very messy and out of control and his fingers just wouldn't work through the gloves, he tore off one glove and used his bare hand. Was it clean?  I don't know.

I have endured because I needed a dentist and because of lethargy and inertia, and, well, who knows why? And I did ask him once to change his gloves when he returned from flitting from room to room.  He was a bit taken aback but answered, "I didn't touch anything but, sure." And he put on new gloves.  Still.  

This dentist had been a replacement for the dentist who sent me to a specialist, who prescribed a night guard that locked my jaw in place for two years; who, the dentist, set a crown too high and would not listen to me when I asked her to shave it down, even though the bad fit gave me jaw troubles greater than I already had; and who, the specialist, suggested capping every one of my thirty two teeth to create a new bite, which sounded excruciating and ridiculous, not to mention expensive; and who, the dentist, was unapologetic about sending me to a wack job ‘specialist’ and so I spun the health-care-approved-providers wheel and ended up with my flighty, bird-like, gadabout-without-changing-gloves dentist.  He seemed so promising at the beginning.

He's also a leaner, which, if you've read my post about people who stand too close to me in line (January 2012 “Line Dancing”) you can imagine how I feel about someone who actually leans on me, especially because my reclining, elevated body's hip is where he leans and that area hits just below his waist.

Today I started searching for a new dentist.  

Dentistry is never fun but it shouldn’t be this bad.  I remember my orthodontist when I was a buck-toothed teenager, who held my mouth closed and my teenage body in the chair when the overflowing goop of the imprint tray made me gag, a lot, and then he continued to talk to me while my terrified eyes bugged out of my head, saying, “This will just take a minute to set.”  This same orthodontist was fond of talking about his sailboat, which at the time just pissed me off because we were poor and owning a sailboat was as remote as owning the moon, but in retrospect, just seems to fill the dentist stereotype, "Doc, how bad are my teeth?  What will it cost me?"  "Well, let's see, I've got three more payments on my boat so let's figure this out..."


  1. I'm in the market for a new one too. :(

  2. I hope you find one who's kind and has good magazines in the waiting room.

  3. I understand why have you decided to search for a new dentist, and I'm sure you'll find one you can be comfortable with. After all, there are a lot of dentists who are kind and friendly out there. It’s just a case of bad chemistry between you and your dentist. And don’t worry; I’m sure there’s a dentist who has a large cabinet full of magazines out there. Keep on searching!

  4. Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. Cheer up, Cathy! Emmy’s right. There are dentists out there that would certainly make you feel comfortable. I don’t know if you believe in destiny, it might sound cliché but that goes with dentists too. Hehe. There’s that one dentist that would make you feel like you don’t have to look for anyone else anymore. ;)

  6. And I believe I've found one...

  7. Hmmm. The dentist I go to changes gloves after every patient. She has a box of disposable, sterilized rubber gloves always at the ready. Sometimes, she needs to take off the gloves to get a better assessment of the tooth and what she’s doing to it, but I see her clean her hands BEFORE she even puts on the gloves. It’s actually not uncommon for dentists to remove their gloves during the procedures, so it’s important that they have hand sanitizers near the dental chair at all times.

  8. Your issue about your dentist was really bothersome, Cathy. I would’ve probably looked for a new dentist, too if I were in your place. You see our greatest concern for going to our dentist is total dental care. And it includes cleanliness, sanitation, and everything hygienic. Disposable gloves, really, are of no use if you’ve made contact to unsanitary objects even before it’s used for its intended purpose. I hope you’d find a much better dentist.

    Trinidad Philipps

  9. Thanks, Trinidad. I did find a new dentist who is very careful about cleanliness. I'm happy!

    1. It’s good to heart that you’ve found a dentist who is very particular with cleanliness, Cathy. :) You see, our mouth is the entrance path to our body; of course, you wouldn’t want unsanitary objects making contact with it. Maybe your previous dentist was just a sociable one. But I sure hope he realized that habit of his before all of his patrons pull out of his clinic.

      Claudia Ortiz