What I learnt about myself at the dentist

I went to the dentist’s today to have my teeth cleaned. For the past couple of years I’ve gone every six months for a check-up and scale and polish. I don’t like going to the dentist’s, I’m sure there aren’t many people who do, but I go and really it’s not traumatising.

Today’s appointment was just a clean with the dental hygienist. Back home, my dentist does it and it takes about 15 minutes, if that. He tells me I should floss. I say ok. And six months later we go through the same thing again.

My clean today was the most thorough I’ve ever had and it went beyond the usual “do you floss” investigation. I think it lasted about 45 minutes.

She actually told me what’s going on with my teeth, why I should brush around the gums, how I should hold my brush, why she wants me to use Listerine, and where there are potential problem areas with my teeth.

This was so much more useful to me than “you should floss”. To top it off, I could see what was going on via the mirror that was positioned just in front of my face.

“So that’s where my tongue is.”

“That blood must be why I have that horrible taste in my mouth.”

There were moments when she was using one of the tools to scrape my teeth that really, well, put my teeth on edge. But overall, seeing what was happening was fascinating, and helped take my mind off that scraping sensation.

What I came to understand about myself (other than I should be doing a whole lot more for my teeth) is that I need the explanations of cause-and-effect to fully compute and absorb what’s being asked of me. Seeing it being done is also a great help. Maybe it’s a Gen-Y thing, I don’t know but without, it’s all just words with no real meaning.

As a result, I’ve come away from the dentist’s feeling that much more in control and knowing what to do and why I’m doing it.

Of course, we’ll see what the result is in six months when I go back and whether I’ve changed my behaviour.

In other news…

It is frightfully cold outside today. The air temperature was -19°C at 10am and it’s not going to get much warmer over the day. This is despite having a beautiful bright blue sky. Meanwhile, in Perth, it was 25°C…at 11pm.

It’s touch-and-go at the moment whether ice skating will take place tonight. I’ll know more at 2pm. I can’t imagine it will (and secretly hoping it won’t because I don’t want to go outside again).


7 Replies to “What I learnt about myself at the dentist”

  1. Hey Daniel! I agree with you…my dentist here is so thorough. I always learn so much during my appointments. P.S. Being from Jamaica, I use learnt all the time as well. Keep warm! – Donna


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