She was terrifying.
The dental hygienist was a size zero but her protective gear doubled her weight. She wore a weird combination of hazmat suit, welder’s gear, and executioner’s hood. Her breathing would make Darth Vader proud.
The dental chair jerked back as she thrust the interrogation lamp inches from my face.
“Shall we begin?” she asked in a creepy whisper.
“Ok,” I said tentatively.
She switched on the lamp and my face was enveloped with a zillion lumens of light. My eyes started to water. I wiped them quickly, hoping she wouldn’t think less of me.
She ignored my uncomfort and picked up an old spear from her rusty pile of tools on the floor.
“Open up!” she commanded with the authority of a drill sergeant.
I opened my mouth nervously and tried to move my lips and gums away from my teeth, even though they’re attached.
She laughed and shouted, “Wider!”
I may have pulled a muscle somewhere in my face as I obeyed. I opened my mouth wider than ever and then doubled it. I’m not sure because I was blinded by the light, but she may have actually stepped inside my mouth for the remainder of the examination.
She began the exam by jabbing the gums surrounding each of my teeth with a javelin used in the 1988 Olympic games. Then I was forced to remove all moisture from my head and upper torso by closing my mouth around her industrial strength straw vacuum. After using what sounded like a spin saw to coat my teeth in gritty goo, she rinsed my mouth with at least 20 gallons of water. Fortunately, she removed it once again with her liquid sucking torture device. Finally, she pulled out a large rope salvaged from the Mayflower and used it as dental floss. She jammed the rope (and probably a few chains) back and forth through the rows of my teeth as I wept silently and gripped the sides of my chair.
Then, her verbal assault began.
“You haven’t been flossing. You know you can get floss anywhere. Pharmacies, grocery stores, Walmart, Walgreens, Dollar General, they all have it. Even some gas stations sell dental floss. You have no excuse… No excuse.”
Finally, my punishment, uh, exam was over and I was able to close my mouth and breathe normally.
Suddenly, I heard upbeat 80’s music and the dentist popped in.
“So, how’s it going, my man?” he asked too energetically. “Open wide and let me peek inside.”
I opened my mouth as before and he examined my teeth for approximately 8-10 seconds.
“Looks great!” he cried as he shoved a plastic bag in my hand. Inside I found 6 inches of dental floss and a firm toothbrush that we’ll probably use to clean the grout between tiles.
“Thank you,” I replied to thin air, not realizing he had disappeared.
I crawled to the checkout desk and paid my copay, the most enjoyable part of my visit.
“See you in six months!” cried the clerk as I limped away.
I vowed at that moment to switch dentists, but I’ll probably forget, just like I forget to floss.
*Special thanks to Jonathan Borba and Unsplash for the image