Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Open wide

I found myself this morning in an unsettling position: in the dentist’s chair for routine dental work (or at least would-be routine if I visited the dentist with any regularity): a general cleaning and a filling replacement.

Mouth agape, gums numb, I lay there vulnerable, staring up into the eyes of my dentist and his assistant. Alternating between drill and pick, the dentist dug in, maintaining a basal level of small talk with his assistant (I wonder if they have the same rehearsed conversation over every patient) while tinkering with my pearly (or, more accurately, coffee-stained) whites.

Midway through the filling, I detected a hint of frustration from my dentist. To his assistant, as if I were so overpowered by the local injection of novocaine that I was oblivious to his words, he said, “He has a large tongue.”

I had never before heard the size of my tongue (or anyone’s other than Chaim Witz's) so described.

“You have a large tongue,” he repeated, this time to me.

“Mmmm,” I replied, unable to articulate much more than that.

To his assistant: “Please hold his tongue back.”

Fiddle, scrape, drill.

Under his breath: “Man, that tongue is big.”

Fiddle, scrape, drill.

Again, to his assistant, “I said, please hold his tongue back. It’s flopped over onto his tooth.”

I tired to help by keeping my tongue to the left of my mouth, but it was difficult to maintain any control over my numbed oral organ, perhaps due to its sheer magnitude.

I’ve always known I had a big mouth; now I’ve got the tongue to fill it.


Russ Parker said...

Some bedside manner your dentists have got stateside (I'm extrapolating from your sample of one). I went to the dentist down here dixide yesterday, and made it through with nary an insult (to intelligence or appearance), AND NO CAVITIES. (And to preempt all you anti-dixide carper-baggers, I do, by the grace of God, still have all my teeth at the old age of 27.) All that to say, you'll like it here too, and we won't give you lip, or tongue.

yajeev said...

Congratulations on your cavity-freeness.

Good statistical analysis.

Andy said...

I hope some dentists come by this post and comment on whether this is appropriate or not. I imagine if the abnormal body part does not affect the subject's health, the health professional probably shouldn't mention it. Although if you were a single man, I would recommend getting that dentist to write you a note you could bring on dates.

In regards to dentists in general, I wonder how often people switch professions to or from being dentists. Has there ever been a dentist/gynecologist combination? Were any habitual procedures done on a current patient that would only be appropriate for a patient from the previous profession?

yajeev said...

andy, i'll be on the lookout for denticologists.

I also welcome any input from dentists frequenting this blog regarding the appropriateness of my dentist's comments.