If I Leave It’s Your Floss

, , | Healthy | December 26, 2017

(I am at the same dentist I’ve been going to for the past five years without issue. I brush my teeth twice a day and frequently use dental floss wands. While I do take really good care of my dental hygiene, my teeth aren’t bright white, as whitening toothpaste hurts my sensitive teeth. However, I’ve gotten nothing but glowing reviews from my dental hygienists and dentists the past few years. I haven’t even had a cavity since I was in elementary school. As the dental hygienist is looking at my teeth, she asks me various questions about my dental hygiene.)

Hygienist: “How often do you brush your teeth?”

Me: “Twice daily.”

Hygienist: “Oh, good! Do you floss?”

Me: “I don’t use dental floss, but I use floss wands.”

Hygienist: “Oh, that counts! Good on you for using those.”

(The dentist stops by to do his inspection of my mouth. I have never seen this dentist before, but I’m not worried, since I’ve had nothing but good experiences with this dental practice. It is an uneventful few minutes, until he jabs me unnecessarily hard in one of my back molars with his sharp tool. Keep in mind, I’ve been going to the dentist twice a year for 25 years, so I’m used to the mild pains of getting my teeth inspected and cleaned. This pain is far out of the ordinary and almost feels deliberately hard. I have never had a dental professional cause that kind of pain in my mouth, even from cavities.)

Me: “Ow!”

(I begin to taste blood, which has me really concerned.)

Me: “I taste blood.”

(I say this with his tools still in my mouth, as he has not stopped his inspection at all.)

Dentist: “Well, that wouldn’t have happened if you actually flossed. See, this is why flossing is so important.”

Me: “I do floss.”

(Again, I mumble, as his tools are still in my mouth and I don’t want to be hurt again. He then finishes his inspection, stands up, and quickly speaks to the dental hygienist. While this is happening, I sit up to check on my tooth. I reach into my mouth and pull out a finger with blood on it.)

Dentist: “Schedule a follow-up appointment in one month, due to her poor flossing habits. It would seem she’s caused herself extremely sensitive teeth and gums. She’ll have permanent dental damage if she doesn’t start taking better care of her teeth.”

(The dentist then walks away, leaving me completely speechless.)

Hygienist: “I’m so sorry about that, honey. Let me get you some cotton balls for that blood. I’ll clean that up and try to finish your teeth cleaning.”

Me: *as I’m fighting back tears* “I swear, I do floss! I even have a pack of floss wands in my purse right over there!”

Hygienist: “I’m so sorry, sweetie. You’re fine; I promise. I didn’t see any inflammation or signs of apparent sensitivity. You also didn’t react to my inspection at all, so I don’t think you have overly sensitive teeth from poor dental care. Again, I’m so sorry. He’s the head dentist’s son, and he’s right out of dental school. He’s only temporarily hired until he finds a job at another dental practice. From what we’ve seen so far, he likes to give an excuse why a patient needs an immediate follow-up appointment so he can try to make more money through more appointments. His father has promised that he won’t be here much longer. I’m so sorry you were here on a day that he was scheduled to fill in for his father.”

(The nurse gave me an over-packed goodie bag with stickers, a new toothbrush, three new toothpastes, a small toy, and a new set of floss wands. She also continued to apologize many more times. She told me I wouldn’t need to come in again until my next dental check-up in six months, when she assured me the dentist’s son wouldn’t be employed there anymore. I’ve never had an issue with this dental practice, but if he’s still there when I come back in six months, I’ll be finding a new dentist.)

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