Well, THAT was different.

So folks,  I had a dental cleaning today with my new dentist. The place is less than two miles from my doorstep.  It’s a lovely new office flanked by an Orange Theory on one side and a pizza joint on the other.  I would have walked to my dental appointment had time not been a factor; so many little things to do after the appointment….which meant driving.

Within moments after I arrived I am greeted by a pretty, petite gal with a sunny disposition. She introduced herself as Sarah.

“Welcome, she said. I’ll be the hygienist cleaning your teeth today.”

After the usual pleasantries she was ready to begin. “Can I ask a favor of you?”she asked.

“Sure,” I replied.

“I am going to ask you to hold this,” she said as she placed the saliva extractor tool in my left hand (You know: that flexible little instrument used to remove saliva build-up in your mouth.  It’s also called a Saliva Ejector; how strange is that!).

“I will tell you each time when you need to use it; So…when I rinse your mouth just position this in your mouth to remove your saliva.  All you need to do is close your lips around it and press this little lever up or down, like so.” She demonstrates it very well of course, because….well…she is the dental hygienist

Saliva Ejector tool used by dental professionals

I’m quite certain my expression conveyed that the person speaking to me must be from Mars.

“You want ME to do this?,” I asked with restrained incredulity.

“It’s easy,” she promised. “My arms are short. This way I don’t have to reach over you.”

Folks, I have been going to dentists for a very LONG time. Faithfully…. twice a year…for a little over five decades, I might add.  And, sometimes more than often that, if you get my drift.  Add to that, I’ve seen dentists in eight states and one foreign country. I’ve never been asked to perform this task.

” Um…Okay” I say with certain reluctance that seemed to go unnoticed by Sarah.

The first few minutes of performing my required task was quite awkward. I got the hang of it readily enough although I choked on my saliva twice and started coughing.

As we said our goodbyes, once the dental cleaning was over,  I thanked the nice hygienist and said all was fine …well, except for having to use the saliva ejector/extractor.

“You can request a different hygienist the next time,” she said cheerily.

“Good to know,” I replied.

Hmm.  So apparently I would not have been able to politely decline having to do my own saliva extraction; this would be her preferred method all of the time.

It occurred to me as I was checking out that given I had to do some of the work I should expect a reduced bill.  Just saying.  Am I right, or what?!

After leaving the dental office I called my good friend Miss Cookie.  Her daughter recently graduated from a dental hygienist program and is now working full-time as a hygienist in a dental practice in South Carolina.

“Have you ever heard of such a thing?” I asked with full expectation that she would be similarly perplexed and amazed.

“Well, apparently they are teaching this approach in dental school now,” she replied.

Harrumph.  Seriously?

“Why didn’t you like it?” Miss Cookie went on to ask.

“I know it sounds positively mad but I sort of like to zone out in the dentist chair.  I mean…I close my eyes and just let the professionals do their thing.  It’s almost (ALMOST) kind of relaxing.  I think about my to-do lists or what to cook for dinner…that sort of thing.   But with managing that stupid saliva tool I had to be engaged in the process for the entire cleaning.  Besides, I’d think the hygienist could better see from her vantage point what’s going on in my mouth.  I choked on my own saliva, twice, for goodness sake.  I’d say saliva extraction is not one of my better skills!”

Full disclosure: as a long distance runner it took years to be able to spit correctly!

Me no like.

Miss Cookie laughed and completely understood.

So folks, please make me feel like I haven’t just fallen of the turnip truck.  Please tell me this is news to you too!  Lie, if you must.  🙂