Thursday, July 29, 2010

The dentist thinks I'm lying

Dentists and their staff must get really jaded and tired of telling people, over and over all day long day after day, about all the things they need to do to care for their teeth, knowing that most of them won't do most of it. They undoubtedly get to assuming that they're talking to a wall. Doubly so if, six months later, the patient has the same plaque build-up, or whatever.

So every time I go to the dentist, I know just what they're going to tell me. Brush a full two minutes when you brush. Hold your mouth mostly closed to get to the back of the uppers. Hold the brush at an angle. Be sure to floss regularly. And I know they're going to be telling me how, since I'm not doing that stuff, that's why I have this or that or the other issue, or that's why I'm going to have some issue in the future.

The problem is, I do all those things. I do more than they ask. I probably do three minutes of brushing, more than half of which is focused just on those outer uppers. I floss; in fact, I get icky-mouth if I don't, and a few spots that collect things, so I don't even have to try to remember, my mouth reminds me. I hold the brush at an angle. I keep my mouth closed. I use an electric toothbrush to get more movement on the outer uppers than I could do in such tight quarters. I do a dry-brush and another time with toothpaste.

And Siobhan does maybe a third as much as I do, and doesn't do everything they say as often as they say to, and yet I usually get chided more than she does. I guess my teeth just naturally build up plaque faster, or have the wrong kinds of gaps, or something.

I don't bother to correct them or offer a self-defense. They would just assume I was lying. But sometimes I wonder if my dental care might not be better if they knew, and believed, that I really was doing those things, and the mouth they see is the result. Maybe they'd make other suggestions. But they're so used to being ignored that's just not possible.

No comments: