Okay, maybe that's an overstatement. But not by much.
I went to the dentist yesterday. Like most people, I don't like going to the dentist. The thought that I'm actually paying someone to put their fingers in my mouth and poke me with sharp objects is hard to reconcille. I've been going to this dentist for about a year, and I'm convinced they're screwing me. I don't like being screwed.
Full disclosure: I went for a long stretch of time without seeing a dentist. You know the story - poor actor, no insurance, I'll just brush (and occassionally floss) and hope for the best. When I finally got insurance that included dental, I thought a trip to the densist for a check-up and cleaning would certainly be in order. I asked my girlfriend for the number for her DDS, and I made an appointment. I didn't realize that there are actually dentist franchises, but apparently there are, and mine is one of them. It's like the SuperCuts of dentistry. You walk in and there are rows of examination chairs with just a sort of Ikea-esque wind screen seperating them. The first time I sat in one of those, I kept looking at the screen, waiting for the blood splatter to hit it.
So, the first time I went to this dentist, he's doing his thing. X-rays, scraping, the usual. Soon enough, he says, "Well, I know it's been awhile since you've been to a dentist, but whatever you're doing, keep it up! Everything looks great!". Excellent! He schedules me to come back in two weeks for a cleaning.
Two weeks pass. I return. The hygenist does her magic and says, "Oh, another doctor wants to take a look at you." This is where I met my current DDS, a very tall, obnoxious woman with a thick Texas accent. Oh boy. Dentists and Texans - two of the things I dislike most, all wrapped up in one blonde, post-menapausal package.
The first thing she asks me is what kind of toothbrush I use. I have no idea - it's a toothbrush. She tells me I need to get this thing called a Soniccare toothbrush. It is, apparently, the Lear Jet of toothbrushes. This thing is guaranteed to change my life, improve my sexual performance and allow me to see through time. It also costs over $100. Oh, but lucky for me, she just happens to have a coupon.
She examines my mouth and tells me, "Well, sugah, you gonna need what we cahll a 'deep cleanin'". Well, sugah, that deep cleanin' was gonna run me about $700. Needless to say, I was not pleased. It was so deep, that it actually took two sessions. Again, not pleased. But, I was told that this deep cleanin' would take care of all my problems, and by the end of it, my teeth would be so strong and powerful that I could actually bite through wood. While I didn't think I would ever be in the position where I would have to chew my way out of a forest, I suppose one never knows, and best to be prepared.
A couple of months after the procedure, I'm back in the chair for a follow-up. The Texan is out of the office, so I see another doc. She tells me, "Everything looks great - keep doing what you're doing!". She asks me to come back in a couple of months to see my regular Texas DDS for a follow-up, and oh, by the way...what kind of toothbrush do you use? I came prepared this time. "I use the Crest Spinbrush," I say, proudly. "Well, that's a pretty good one," she tells me. "But you should look into the Soniccare toothbrush. It's the Lear Jet of toothbrushes. I guarantee it will change your life, improve your sexual performance, and you will be able to see through time. Oh, and here's a coupon."
So, yesterday was the follow-up to the follow-up. The hygenist does the cleaning and takes some X-rays. The Texan soon enters and first thing out of her mouth? "So what kind of toothbrush you usin', sugah?" I tell her the Crest Spinbrush, already knowing what's coming next. Feel free to sing along.
"Well, that Spinbrush don't do a thing. You need to get the Soniccare toothbrush. It's the Lear Jet of toothbrushes. I guarantee it will change your life, improve your sexual performance, and you will be able to see through time. Oh, and here's a coupon".
It finally sunk in. My dentist is part of a vast conspiracy sponsored by the Soniccare people. They are planning to take over the world, one molar at a time.
She then tells me that looking at my X-rays, I need two crowns because two fillings I had when I was a kid have cracked and I also have two small cavities. "Wait a fucking second," I say (Okay, I don't say fucking, but it's certainly implied). "I was here two months ago, and your people said everything was great, keep doing what I'm doing. Now, you're telling me that I have to get two crowns and have two cavities that have suddenly appeared?"
"Well, sugah," she drawled. "We musta missed them before."
WHY THE FUCK AM I PAYING YOU THEN?? You are a dentist - you are supposedly trained NOT to miss things tooth-related. I could forgive you for not seeing I had an enlarged spleen - not your area. But for everything in the mouth, I'm holding you responsible. You, as the dentist, are my go-to-guy for all things oral. Are these actual problems or are you just looking for random shit to make sure I keep coming back? When did my dentist become as corrupt as my mechanic?
She then proceeds to do her scraping and poking (again with the poking). When it seems like she finally has her entire first in my mouth, she begins to tell me all about her recent hysterectomy. Note to all female dentists: I think I can speak for all the guys out there when I say we don't give a rat's ass about your hysterectomy. We don't want to hear about your hysterectomy. We don't care that you had a hysterectomy. Especially, when we have a mouthful of your hand. I'm sorry you had to have one, you have my sympathy, but that's really where my involvement ends. If you are not our wife, mother, girlfriend, aunt, or good friend, leave the hysterectomy talk at home. I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate your OB-GYN telling you all about his unusally-shaped prostate when he's wrist deep in your business. She then goes on to tell me how her doctor forbade her from doing water aerobics for awhile because all the jumping up in down in water make all the inside female parts bounce around like a superball. I closed my eyes, and waited for it all to end. Small talk is bad. Medical small talk is worse.
I finish up, and pay my bill. The receptionist shows me an estimate of what the two crowns will cost me on my next visit: $1300. I literally shit my pants. Right there in the office. I could feel it running down my leg. Okay, that's a lie, but I certainly felt a bowel-clinch. I can't wait to see what they find wrong next time. Maybe I will need my tongue replaced. I'm semi-tempted to eat nothing by jelly donuts and Pixie Stix for the next month. By god, if you're going to charge me $1300, you damn well are going to have to work for it.
Gotta go - that fucking toothbrush is on sale.