Seeking dental advice

They were remarkably consistent. From the two receptionists who didn’t seem to know how to check me in (“Isn’t this kinda what you do all day?” I resisted asking), to the x-ray “technician” who took several minutes of fumbling to figure out how to turn the machine on but was much better at exiting out of the layers of warnings about the software being outdated, expired, overdue for renewal.


She seemed relieved that I found the chair an interesting artefact.

Dentist chair

“It freaks most people out” she admitted.

But most impressive was the guy, scrub pants sagging well below his tookus, who did the cleaning/polishing thing. I hadn’t seen his technique before, carelessly smearing some of that dentist-toothpaste stuff on my teeth before coming back to polish each one. Except…he didn’t come back. That was it. A once-through so hasty I thought he was kidding and he had to tell me twice that he was done before I believed him. He sprayed water in my mouth and told me to swish it around. His preparation as a dental professional didn’t seem to have included the fact that the human body has the throat attached to the back of the mouth, so “swishing” while laying down would mean swallowing.


But I’m a do-it-yourself kinda guy, so I sat up, reached over to pick up the suction thingy, turned it on, and took care of my own problem. He seemed uninterested in how I’d solved the problem, walking away while I did it, one hand holding his pants up.


While waiting for the dentist I searched for hidden cameras. Twice. But all I saw were water-stained ceiling panels and a dead potted plant. I was the only patient in the office. “You’re lucky, we’re normally much busier than this…” the non-polisher claimed.


The dentist, Persian, whose bilinguality was the reason I chose this office, was deft and clearly competent. I very nearly asked her if she could smuggle a message from me to the outside world. Not sure why. It just felt like she was a messenger from normalcy and I shouldn’t let the opportunity pass.


Other than her, I had the impression the office was entirely staffed with people who had wandered into an abandoned building, discovered a bunch of old equipment, and were playing “Dentist Office” for the day.


That was six months ago. I scheduled my next appointment that day, not really intending to keep it. More to be polite. It is for next Wednesday. Last week they called and left a message saying “We haven’t seen you in a while, call us to make an appointment.” This appears to be the state of dental healthcare for my income echelon.


What do you think? Should I go back?