Brand New Nemesis

25 Oct

Nothing like having the dental hygienist loudly announce that you haven’t brought your eight year old in for a cleaning since 2010 to make you feel like a responsible parent. It’s a fun way to start an appointment off on a positive note, her smiling a tight little smile of judgment and all but waggling a finger, me smiling a tight little smile of, “Yeah, well, we just had lice, too, so.”

My favorable first impression of this dental professional was compounded by her chair-side manner. While wielding the hook ‘o pain so enthusiastically I could see her tricep bulging, she kept up a running commentary of hygiene shaming and germaphobic terror.

Hygienist (talking to my daughter in a tone I would reserve for a dog who’d just piddled on the rug): “Ooo, the inside of these teeth are just COATED with germy plaque. See how hard I’m having to scrape here? Notice how long I’ve been working on them? That’s because of the built-up coating of germs and dirty, icky plaque. Do you know what plaque can cause? GINGIVITIS.”

And here I thought gingivitis was something they concocted for toothpaste commercials. It just sounds so fake. And don’t you hate it when people ask questions while they’re using a pointy object next to your tongue?

“Do you know what gingivitis leads to?”

A visit from the equally fictional tooth fairy?


The kid’s eight, so I’m sure that was on the tip of her tongue. That you’re practically lancing right now.

“You really need to get in here on the inside of these teeth and give them a good, thorough brushing twice a day. And are you making sure to floss?”

Me: (Cringing.) Daughter: (Shaking head.)

“OH! WELL! You have to floss. It’s so important. Mom, you have to be sure she flosses. (Throws me dirty look.) Honey, I’ll give you a flossing demonstration after I finish scraping these teeth. Which could take a while! They sure are DIRTY!”

My blood is at this point, if not boiling, bubbling enthusiastically. Like it’s the eight year old’s fault she hasn’t been to the dentist in a while. Like I might not be qualified to teach my kid to floss. Like she can just tell by looking at me that I am a non-flosser, just like my elementary-school aged child. (I AM AN OCCASIONAL FLOSSER, LADY.)

It’s possible I could have laughed all this off, if not for the fact that I was actually struggling to hear her little remarks over the right wing hate radio she was blaring in the exam room. Even if it WASN’T diametrically opposed to my political persuasion, I don’t think that’s an appropriate broadcasting choice for a place you are trapping people for thirty minutes. My daughter actually asked me in the car afterward, “So Mitt Romney is against PBS? If he gets elected, will we not be able to watch ‘Electric Company’ anymore?” Grrr.

But the piece de resistance came a few minutes of vigorous scraping later, when she turned to me and said, “Are congratulations in order, by the way? Are you going to have another baby?”

Me (icy pause): “Excuse me?”

Her: “I thought I saw a bump on your way in. Are you pregnant again?”

Me (rejecting the 3 hurtful retorts that immediately sprang to mind): “…No.”

Her: “Oh. Whoops. I’m sorry!”


At this point I am keeping my cool only by reminding myself that brawling in front of my kid will set a bad example. And gleefully plotting the content of the phone call to the dentist’s office letting them know they’ve lost a patient. And planning out a STRONGLY WORDED BLOG POST.

So, just, let this post be a lesson to you, Lady Who Does Not Read My Blog.

4 Responses to “Brand New Nemesis”

  1. Kerstin October 26, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    Love it! You should write a blog about the phone call as well…
    The nerve! When I have to deal with people like that I always wish I would carry a notebook with appropriate responses to asshats like that. Actually, I think I’ll get right on that, so I’m prepared the next time 😉

    • amomynous2 October 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I love your blog, too!

  2. Kay Leigh Ferguson October 26, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    good one. need to be clear sooner it is daughter, not you, in the chair o shame. had to reorient at ” > > PERIODONTAL DISEASE. > > Shes eight, so Im sure that was on the tip of her tongue. That youre practically lancing right now. >

    I had a long dental surgery once with a guy who listened to rush limbaugh. there was a critical moment when it had to go off or the dentist had to die. he understood, but was miffed by his available options.


    • amomynous2 October 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      Thank you so much for commenting–I did actually edit after posting to address that very concern–unfortunately the email subscribers must get the unedited version–good for me to know, and hard, because I so often don’t see mistakes until the daggum post is published. Ah well. Thanks again for reading and XOX

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