Sunday, October 3, 2010

Open wide.

I really should hate the entire concept of dentistry, but I don't.

After establishing a trusted relationship with My Dentist, who retired and left me to flounder in a sea of dental charlatans, I eventually found a dentist who I love. He started practicing dentistry the year I was born, and I'm 48. 

He practices all methods to which every dentist should aspire. He's orally intuitive, and doesn't do anything to my choppers that doesn't need to be done.

My only dental fear is that I'll outlive him, and I'll have to find another dentist.

And so I visit this Dental Marvel every six months. My visits are events I oddly anticipate.

I've developed a quirky rapport with the woman to the right. She probably will never see this blog, and I'm sure, what with the facial garb and interesting eyewear, you'd never recognize her in a lineup.

She's so straightforward, letting me know, very clinically, how my teeth and gums are doing. 

I feel very close to her. The last time I got my oral report card, she told me about how both of her parents died within a month of one another. And she described how she and her brother are cleaning out their parents' house, as clinically as she told me about my need to floss.

We've developed a bizarre connection, what with her divulgences and my tacit compassion. I can only affiliate so much while her hands are in my mouth.

It's soothing, going to the dentist.

I've had one massage in my lifetime. One mud bath, years ago. And it may seem hard to believe, but I've experienced neither mani nor pedi.

But when I walk out of the dentist's office every six months after my cleaning, I feel like I've experienced a bit of an oral spa.

So the many assets of vigilant oral hygiene have wide-reaching effects. Not only do I get a bit of a dental report card twice a year; I get my teeth cleaned much more thoroughly than I can do all by myself.

Everyone has dental horror stories, and I’m not immune. Bad experiences compel huge gaps in time between dental visits.

And despite almost everyone’s ambivalence when it comes to opening wide at the dentist’s office, it’s been proven that regular check-ups have wide reaching effects that go beyond my cathartic bi-annual exercise.

I recently heard a segment on some morning tee vee show that focused on how to avoid plastic surgery. The primary way, according to this morning show, to avoid facial plastic surgery, is to take care of your teeth.

Because when you don't take care of your teeth, teeth need to eventually be pulled. And pulling teeth changes the contour of your face.

And according to Annie Getsinger at, "poor oral hygiene has been associated with heart problems and infections in those with diabetes or artificial joints."

And, "aside from the problem of bacteria from the mouth entering the bloodstream and causing infection elsewhere in the body, gum disease takes a toll on a person's ability to fight off illness."

It's not brain surgery.

I'm sure that morning show covered brain surgery on another riveting segment.

Sure, it sucks to go to the dentist. And if you don't have dental insurance, seeing the dentist every six months may not seem quite so spa-like.

It's hard to justify something as fundamentally unpleasant as going to the dentist, especially if your dentist wants to sell you on dental planing, whitening, a seemingly necessary crown or root canal.

But if you're lucky enough to find a dentist who's not going to take you to the cleaners just because he can see what you can't while drilling you for all you're worth, it's no big deal to open wide every six months.

You may evade the need for bigger things down the line.

And you may find the whole exercise to be relaxing, kind of like a spa.


  1. I have to agree with you. If you want to keep a good oral hygiene, it’s advisable to visit your dentist every six months. You might not feel any abnormalities in your mouth but that doesn't mean you don't have to visit your dentist. You still have to go for check ups and cleanings to keep a healthy and nice set of teeth.

    Gus Eckles @Dr. Thomas Seal DDS

  2. Maintaining healthy teeth requires some effort. You should religiously follow your dentist’s advice regarding oral hygiene. You shouldn’t miss a dental appointment too! Years have passed already, I hope you were able to maintain a healthy smile. How are you now? :)

    Dominic Woods @ GRMetroDental