Today was dentist day. My wife and I packed our mouths up to the dentist's office at eight in the morning for a little dental prophy. I made sure to get up early enough to brush, floss and rinse with Listerine before the visit. This would be the dental equivalent to cleaning the house before the maid arrives, but it's the way I do things.
Why? Dental guilt, plain and simple. I yearn for those "good checkups" when I can be lifted from the chair with a bright smile and a clean conscience. I have a history of cavities in my youth, and I learned to expect a second appointment - a return for fillings. As an adult I have become much more aware of my oral hygiene - compulsively so. I use a Sonicare brush and floss twice daily. I use a mouthwash to prevent decay and gingivitis.
Still, I have surrendered to the notion that no matter what I do, my mouth is a plaque factory and each visit will involve a certain amount of scraping and prodding. It is during these sessions that I reflect on the absence of ceiling art in dentists' offices. Most of the time spent in a dentist's office is flat on your back, staring at acoustic tiles. I've counted the holes and made an estimate of the square footage of the room by counting the number of tiles - you get the idea. All of this because I have to wait for the grinding and polishing and picking to finish so I can receive my scolding.
"Are you using floss?"
Yes. Twice a day.
"And you said you're using a Sonicare brush?"
"Brushing for the full two minutes?"
"We're going to put a watch on that number thirty - it's starting to get a pretty deep groove in it."
"Here's some new floss and a medium bristle brush. Are you using tartar control toothpaste."
Yes. I don't run screaming from the office. I have to go out to the lobby where the hygenist recounts her findings with the dentist and anyone who happens to be within earshot. I take my nice clean teeth and go home. For lunch I have an Oreo just for spite.