Dental Hygienist Or Proctologist


I’m one of those lucky people with both a dentist and a periodontist. Yep, twice the number of visits, twice the fun. I’ve been with my dentist for the better part of forty years, while I’ve only been seeing the periodontist for a couple of years, having been referred to her by my dentist when I needed some major work. I’m a little skittish when it comes to people putting sharp things in my mouth, but both doctors are great.

It had been about eighteen months since I had last been to the perio, at which time she firmly imbedded two implants in my upper jaw. My dentist took over from there and installed the crowns. All aspects of these procedures – extractions, implanting, crowning – when off without any pain or discomfort, other than financially.

Let me tell you, a periodontist’s concept of a cleaning and a dentist’s differ considerably. Think golf divot versus coal mine.

About a month ago my perio’s office called me to make an appointment for a cleaning and check-up. With all the COVID concerns I had let routine medical visits slide, but figured I should take advantage of this one. After all, I’ve had my teeth cleaned countless times by my dentist. No big deal.

Let me tell you, a periodontist’s concept of a cleaning and a dentist’s differ considerably. Think golf divot versus coal mine.

I spent an hour yesterday essentially sitting upside down, the chair having been tilted to the max, while a very pleasant hygienist deep cleaned my teeth. Sweet jumping Jesus! As I was being lowered into a position that would allow her to work on me as if I had my head on her lap, I noticed her certificate on the wall, before I found myself staring at the ceiling. The certificate clearly indicated that she was a bonafide dental hygienist, yet over the course of my stay there were several moments when I was sure she must be a proctologist, so deep did she dig!

In honesty there was no pain involved – I know, how could ramming a thin, sharp hook between my tooth and gum possibly hurt?

It all started off well, she used an instrument, that looked much like a Dremel Tool, to buzz away the accumulated tartar from my teeth. The constant flow of water, and suction hose made this less miserable than you might think – just a little bit like water boarding. Once this was done, the doctor came in for the actual check-up and found that all was well.

Once the doctor had left, I thought I was home free. Stupid me. Now the real fun began as the Dremel was put aside and replaced by good old-fashioned hand tools. The hygienist had a tray on which was a vast array of hooks, diggers, pokers, jabbers, probers, and scrapers. She spent the next twenty minutes using these instruments to manually clean my teeth, even those parts below the gum line. In honesty there was no pain involved – I know, how could ramming a thin, sharp hook between my tooth and gum possibly hurt? – but it really wasn’t a walk in the park. The sound was the worst part, if you think fingernails on a blackboard is awful, give this a try.

I have choked and regurgitated on more doctors who insist on using a tongue depressor than I can count. And they all seem totally amazed.

She slowly returned the chair to the upright and locked position and let the blood return to my lower extremities. Then it was off to the last step – x-rays. I don’t mind having x-rays, they don’t hurt, at least not at the time, perhaps one day I’ll start to glow, but even that sounds painless. However, when it comes to dental x-rays I break out in a cold sweat. Not because of the radiation, but due to that thing they put in your mouth.

I have one of the world’s finest honed gag reflexes. I have choked and regurgitated on more doctors who insist on using a tongue depressor than I can count. And they all seem totally amazed. I warn them, but they foolishly brush it off only to experience the fruits of my reaction (fruits, or whatever I have recently eaten). Many household products used to suggest vomiting if the cleaner was ingested. How did they recommend you induce vomiting? By placing a spoon to the back of the throat and, bingo. Don’t they study this at medical school?

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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