Aside from Steve Martin’s sadistic, singing dentist from Little Shop of Horrors, the dentist that sticks out in my mind is the dentist from a Northern Exposure episode. The Alaskan dentist traveled around in an RV, hitting small town after small town and hounding all the residents to get their teeth looked at.
He’d say, “You know what the toughest part of being a dentist is? It’s the lies. Cause you know, you all promise to brush every time. You look us in the eyes and you promise to brush, you promise to floss, but – you don’t brush. You don’t floss.”
I try to shoot my dentist totally straight now, in my very limited interactions with him.
So I sat down to tell you all about my trip to the dentist today, which was going to be a bunch of hilarious slapstick, because I haven’t been to the dentist in eleven years. I was going to call it Dental High Jinx – see, a little play on words, there – but then Steve Spangler showed up and decided to stink up my blog.
See, I had to update Future Tom at a patio bar, because my internet is down at home. It’s a very alarming situation, where I’ve had to head on over to McDonald’s and ironically avail myself of their free, giant corporation-funded Wifi connection.
And so today, up on the north side again, I knew I’d better stop and get it done before I arrived at home, since my horrific, squawking offspring would never let me finish it there.
Yes, and then Steve Spangler walks in, plunks himself down next to me, starts hitting me with a bunch of glossy brochures for some time shares he’s selling – something like that, I wasn’t really listening.
I tell him, listen, I’m blogging about dentistry. That’s pretty edgy material and people are going to want to hear it. Like guess how long it’s been since I’ve been to the dentist.
Eleven years, that’s how many. And guess what, no cavities.
Steve says, hang on a second I’m going to take a picture of you blogging. You know, that’s not helping, I tell him.
I ask Steve how long it’s been since he’s been to the dentist, and he says it’s been a long time. I give him a judgmental frown – Steve, there’s nothing more important than your dental hygiene.
The last time I went to a dentist – before this morning – was as I mentioned eleven years ago. And the whole set-up was different. For instance, the chair you sit in used to be attached to a big thing that looked like the robot maid from The Jetsons, and there was a constantly flushing toilet bowl as well, that you’d gargle and then spit into.
I ask Steve about it and he says, yes, there was a toilet bowl robot last time he went.
Also, the X-Ray machine is different. Instead of being mounted on one of the arms of the robot, it’s in a whole different room from the chair, and you go up to it and stick a plastic thing in your mouth and then it buzzes around your head like a little MRI.
I felt bad for the hygienist; there was some kind of tartar issue and it must have been gross. She kept telling me tartar was composed almost entirely out of bacteria.
“You should see this stuff under a microscope,” she says.
All the while, I’m thinking, I still like these dental hygienists – they’re all so cute and perky. I remember how Steven Wright used to say that he had a thing for his hygienist and for that reason he’d eat an entire box of Oreo cookies prior to each visit.
It turns out that not going to the dentist for eleven years is very similar to eating a box of Oreo cookies. It’s a very labor-intensive project for her, and she does not appear to like it. If Steven Wright was trying to make a move, I don’t think that was the way to go.
But then when we’re finished, they have to reluctantly acknowledge that I have Super Teeth as one of my powers.
The actual dentist comes in for this part, and says, “Well, everything looks good, make sure to come back more often than every eleven years though!”
That’s what the last one said, eleven years ago. No cavities then, either. I remember we all made a big deal about how long it had been since I’d been to the dentist, and when the hygienist finished I said, “Well, any cavities?”
“Oh, no!” she laughed. “Not these teeth.”
My grandmother lived to be about ninety, never saw a dentist in her life and never lost a tooth. Then a hygienist told me I had super teeth. Now here I was eleven years later, and no negative effects whatsoever.
Why should I ever come in here again, is my question?
I practically beg them to take out my wisdom teeth. That’s all they wanted to talk about when I was in my teens and early twenties.
They’d say, “Oh, yeah. You got to get these wisdom teeth taken out so your skull doesn’t crack open.”
I ignored them as I think I’ve made clear – and now here I am with dental coverage and they’re saying, “Oh, hell. Your wisdom teeth are fine. Groove on, Universe-trekker!”
What happened to you, Dentist’s Office. You’re like Ice Cube now, heartwarming and kind and positive. I’m supposed to be afraid of you and instead you’re a positive influence and you won’t grift me anymore.
Steve Spangler says, I thought you said you were getting the hell out of here circa seven o’clock.
I tell him, I know, and I would have made it, too if it hadn’t been for you kids and that crazy dog.