Wine, Stickers, and Marshmallow Toothpaste

27 Jun

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the dentist… love because I like to collect stickers for the roof of my car like a crazed five-year-old with a license, and hate because my dentist used to have pet dogs roaming around the office that would jump into my lap during procedures (is that even legal?) and get dog hair all over my corduroy trousers (which were cool in the 90s, I swear). In spite of the dogs, I have gone to the same dentist my entire life. In fact, like plum-flavored baby food and a good episode of Arthur, I always thought that “You did it!” stickers and marshmallow-flavored toothpaste were things for which you could never grow too old.

It turns out, I was wrong. You CAN grow too old for pediatric dentistry, as I learned on Monday. So, in order to prevent you all from making my mistakes, I’ve compiled a list of signs for you to keep in mind while at your family dentist. If you experience any of these signs, contact the closest grown-up dentist immediately.

Sign #1: Inadequate literature

Everyone knows that most people only go to the dentist and/or doctor for the great reading materials. Why would I pay $5 for a magazine when my insurance pays for me to read five in one sitting? Exactly. But let me just say, if you walk into your dentist and aren’t immediately greeted by hoards of People, US, Vanity Fair, and/or In Touch (this one is a last resort) magazines, you should switch dentists because a dentist that doesn’t care about educating its patients is not the one for you.

Given that requirement, let me show you the magazine I chose to read while at my dentist this week:


Does this LOOK like any of the titles on my approved reading list? NO! If you show up to your dentist and the closest thing to a celebrity/fashion magazine is Wine Enthusiast, you are in deep trouble. No one should have to read about the proper aeration techniques for red wine before they get teeth pulled… I don’t care how enthusiastic you are about the stuff. Also, if you are a patient at a pediatric dentist’s office and you are more interested in wine than in Nickelodeon articles, you are too old to be there. Unless you’re a five-year-old with an affinity for a nice, dry Sauvignon Blanc… in which case, where are your parents??

Sign #2: You experience Pretty Woman moments

When it was my turn to see the dentist, I put away my wine literature and was greeted by a dental hygienist who clearly thought – judging by the disapproving glare she gave my cleavage – that I was Sophie’s slutty nanny and not a patient. She looked so disapproving that I felt compelled to pull up my shirt. It was awkward. I can only compare how I felt to how Julia Roberts must have felt when she was forbidden to shop on Rodeo Drive by the frumpy sales clerk in Pretty Woman… That, in and of itself, is the second problem – if you have a Pretty Woman moment at the dentist, it means you are a WOMAN. And that means it is time to move on. Don’t scare little kids with your boobs. It’s just not right.

Sign #3: Baby talk is lost on you

I’m the first to admit that pediatric dentist talk (it is its own language) is one of the best parts of going to the pediatric dentist. Expressions like “Open big and wide like a dinosaur!” and “This is some yummy laughing gas to make you happy!” are so much more welcoming than “Get ready, this is going to hurt like a BITCH! But don’t worry, because you’ll be drugged up!” (Because that’s how I picture grown-up dentists speaking to their patients…)

The dental hygienist – realizing that I was old enough to understand plain old English but not wanting to stray from routine – tried many different phrases to describe what the Novocain would feel like before settling on, “Your lips will feel like a big bee came along and stung the inside of your mouth!” She tried to make this sound really exciting and fun. I appreciated the effort.

But what she said really got me thinking: how would a bee get into my mouth in the first place? Like, was it in my drink and I just swallowed it, or did it just fly into my gaping mouth? What, was I walking around a honey farm with my mouth open and not expecting to get stung? I can’t really decide which scenario makes me seem more stupid…

If you find yourself analyzing dental similes, you are TOO OLD for the pediatric dentist. You might as well be a grandma in a ball pit at Chuck e Cheese’s. Get out, get out now.

Maybe it was all the wine, or maybe it was the public boob shaming, or maybe it was my inability to communicate with the dental hygienist… regardless, I knew I had to get out of there. After receiving my sugar-free lollipop, I quickly made my way toward the exit. But not so quickly that I didn’t have time for a visit to the prize case. I grabbed a teddy bear pencil, a couple of erasers, and a sleeve of tattoos before also helping myself to a tube of free toothpaste.

I’m in college, toothpaste costs money, and Disney-themed temporary tats are hard to come by. Yeah, I think I’ll stick around for a while.

2 Responses to “Wine, Stickers, and Marshmallow Toothpaste”


  1. You Have Short Teeth | A Series of Tom Fooleries - June 25, 2015

    […] written before about my long-term relationship with my pediatric dentist. Ew, you pervs, not the dentist himself. […]

  2. Rules of the Ronvo | A Series of Tom Fooleries - September 26, 2014

    […] or “do you fear oblivion?” and then proceeds to stick a giant “Laughing Wand” (yes, I still go to the pediatric dentist) into your […]

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