Monday, May 08, 2006

Fang cleaning
Well, today was my semi-annual visit to have my teeth cleaned at the dentist. All went well. I always like the feel and look of the fangs when they have been recently cleaned. I am happy that there are no major dental events to report. As I was lying in the dentist chair, the hygienist busily scraping away, I began to wonder about what you might call Dental Hygienist Etiquette.

I never know whether I am supposed to try to carry on a conversation with the hygienist as she works or not. It is just all sort of strange. You are there in this person's presence for close to an hour and, if you are like me, you say precious little to her. My take on it is, well, my mouth is wide open and the hygienist has tools and hands shoved in there, how am I supposed to talk? I have always found it curious when a hygienist is working and then proceeds to ask several questions that require a response with words, not just a grunting response to questions such as "Do you need water," or "Is that okay." But I can't get over this feeling that, if I don't say much or try to carry on a conversation, the hygienist may think me rude or anti-social.

I suppose in the future, as the dentist's chair is tilted back at the beginning my session I should simply announce to the hygienist, "I don't really know you well and you are about to spend the next hour with your hands in my mouth, thus precluding conversation, so allow me to say at the get go: I'm glad to see you. I'm thankful for your service and I appreciate having my teeth cleaned. I'm doing fine. There are no major health developments since my last visit to which I should alert you. I hope you and yours are all doing well. My silence for the next hour should not be taken as lack of interest in your well-being or personhood. I will probably be rather still with my eyes closed as you work. If something should cause me pain I will wince and grunt. Now, let's have at it!"

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