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..."