Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Whole Tooth, Part 3

The hygienist massages my jaw!

After ten minutes in my unnatural and tremendously uncomfortable legs-elevated, head-back, chin-tilted, mouth-wide position, I've about had enough. It's like a bad porn film.

The dentist moves on to do more important dentist-y things, while the hygienist is left to finish the filling. She takes a long time, and spends most of it trying to position a small wedge. Frustrated, she finally summons the dentist.

He can't get it in either. "No wedge," he announces.

"That always makes me feel good," the hygienist whispers in my ear as he leaves. "When he can't get it either."

I know what she means; the DNB has found this vindicating on a few occasions.

"The cavity is just so far back in there . . . . " she explains every two to three minutes as she works. She finally puts the finishing touches on the filling, an hour later.

"Are you, um, learning?" I ask her. She's very nice and seems thorough, but the whole thing has taken her so long I'm beginning to wonder.

"No," she says. "I'm an expanded dental hygienist. I've been one for nineteen years. I do implants, fillings, surgery, you name it."

"Wow," I say, feeling sorry for all those poor suckers who go through dental school.

"Well," she corrects. "I haven't actually done those things. But I've assisted on them."

"Ah," I say. Assistant to the Regional Manager.

The dentist comes back to briefly check her work. He makes a few adjustments, just to show why he's making the big bucks.

"All done!" he announces, finally sitting me up to allow my blood to begin circulating again. "No better way to spend an afternoon," he chortles.

I keep my mouth shut.

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