Monday, January 19, 2015

Water boarding at the dentist office

I might not be able to go to a dentist again. They water boarded me twice now. I'm only kidding a little bit. It seems that the latest design of dental furniture for patients requires the patient to lie in a horizontal position. The hygienists and dentists actually prefer your head to be lower than the rest of your body, but I said no way so we compromised for a moment. During that horizontal moment (okay, maybe my head was lifted up 5 degrees or so) I pretended to be ok. But when the hygienist finished "brushing" my teeth and I could sit up to wait for the ultrasound cleaning segment, I found myself breathing rapidly. Then I realized that I had not been able to breathe without choking while on the chair, so I stopped pretending. I told them I needed to talk with the dentist and if s/he could not work on me in a more upright position I'd have to forgo dental care. He put me in the most "upright" position he said he could allow. I think he'd put a bend in my knees somehow with the chair - that helped my back-but did not address the issue of fluids building up in my throat. It's like a chair designed to induce the very choking sensation of sleep apnea, and hey, people die from that!
WTF! It can't just be my problem. What if I was pregnant? Aside from the miracle that would be, wouldn't baby be pressing on major arteries? What if I had congestive heart failure? The fluid would build up in my lungs! We're all gonna die in the dentist chair! Arrrrrrgggg!
And, while I'm ranting, what happened to the concept of two people working at the same time? One continuously suctioning fluid and every now and then offering a rinse of mouthwash? And, hey where the fuck is the basin with running water -  you know for you to spit the mouthwash in? I had to get up go into a hall and spit in front of other people. I only do that in bars!
I once had my teeth cleaned by another hygienist who worked alone. One hand bristled with instruments, you know those pin-sharp things they scrape away with. She could have put my eye out! There was no suction device at all, no sink. She could tell fluid was building up so she stopped and said, "Swallow." Eeeeuuuu! Gross.
I told the young dentist that all my life I had gone to dentists without ever having to lean back like that -  there was always a bit of a V-shape in my torso and my head was tilted back for access. He said he was unaware of chairs like that. Bullshit, I thought. But when I speculated that the entire setup was geared to allow rapid work, high turnover, and not even a nod to patient comfort, he admitted, "Actually, it's because the old way of working was damaging to the dentist's backs." Aha.
Well, I wish him a long, healthy career.
Me, I'm going to Mexico and I'll pay cash for my dental work. I bet all those grand old dental chairs are down there. I bet they even have plumbing throughout the clinic with neat basins right by your side to spit in. And I bet I'll never have to swallow such shabby treatment again.

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