I knew it was time to find a new dentist.
My last dentist was a nice enough guy. He made an effort. He must have kept a running record of our conversations in my file because he asked me about the job interview I had nine months previous, the time of my last check-up. I told him I got the job. He seemed delighted and gave me a fist to the shoulder like we were the oldest of pals.
The truth is, I met him nine months before. I had just switched dentists and I came to him upon the recommendation of a friend. More than a friend really: a boyfriend. And I thought that if I shared a dentist with this man, I could share a whole lot more. We could share a file. We could share insurance. We could share a life. Know what I mean?
This dentist’s “new patient program” consisted of him and I going into a lounge area to have a discussion. It seemed a lot like an interview process and I had never been alone in a lounge with a man of his age, so I kept the door open. He asked me what I wanted from my teeth. “To bite and chew”, I replied. He laughed uproariously, as though he’d never heard that before. I thought it was rather obvious. Isn’t that what we all want from our teeth?
He said that as part of the “new patient program” he would be preparing a slide show of my mouth, complete with dental records and x-rays. He told me it wouldn’t be covered by my insurance plan, but is “well worth it”. I wasn’t so sure. I sensed that he sensed my hesitance. He said it’s important to figure out what you want from your teeth, so you can “draw the road map” to get there.
Eventually we got on with it, and he actually looked inside my mouth. He took all of two minutes (I think he may have counted them) before sending in the hygienist to do the dirty work. While she scraped away at my well-earned plaque, she asked me about that job interview. When I attempted to answer, she stopped and looked into my eyes as though she was really affected. About fifteen minutes in, she threw the tools in the sink and told me I would have to return the following week to finish up. We had run out of time. I silently stewed thinking if she hadn’t been such a chatterbox I’d be free and clear next week.
I went to the lobby to book myself in for the following week. The receptionist asked whether it was for hygiene or the slide show. “Hygiene”, I replied, through gritted teeth. She said I really should book myself in for the slide show, and then she smiled and asked me about my job interview.
I knew then, it was time to find a new dentist.