Trust me, I am your dentist. Having your mouth filled with someone else’s hands and an array of needle sharp instruments that can, with one poke or prod in the wrong place, instantly put you in a world of pain, does take a lot of trust. You are at the complete mercy of the dentist.

I had, over the years, been happy with my dentist and the more modern approach to dental cleanliness, my dental hygiene therapist. They both knew my teeth and provided me with a professional, pain free experience. But I was thinking that with advances in modern dental technology, this was probably now the norm for all dental practices. So, I decided to scout a clinic closer to home. “What was I thinking?”

From the instant I sat down in the new waiting room close to my home in Five Dock, I felt uneasy. Maybe it was that there was no one behind the reception desk to put me at ease, or maybe it was the scowl and grumpy demeanor on the face of the woman, dressed in the blue scrubs of a dental assistant who eventually appeared and continued to ignore me.

Should I just walk out? My inner guide reminds me that I have made an appointment and an obligation to attend. I am so tired of always having to do the right thing. Why can’t I just this once let myself off the hook and slip away. As I am debating with myself, trying to justify reasons for upping and leaving, no, actually running out the door, the dental hygienist, petite, with a smile that revealed incredible teeth, called my name. In an instant I forgot my resistance and without any hesitation, felt myself glide across the room into the waiting dental chair.

Lying back and looking around, the room was part of an old federation house. It was tired and the room was cluttered and looked out of sorts. The actual chair was quite old. The hygienist smiled and was very pleasant, and I felt myself sinking into the chair as I felt myself relax, relieved that I was in good hands.

I opened my mouth and watched as the sharp instrument headed directly for my sensitive gums. I clenched my hands together, and my eyes began to water as I entered into a world of pain. The pic like instrument worked to deftly precision in the hands of this kind eyed, smiling assassin. She took me on a journey of pain, digging into the plaque on the gum line, taking me to the brink of screaming out, only to stop just in time where the pain would completely disappear for a few seconds. I found myself thanking her in my mind for stopping the pain. A momentary reprieve in what continued for another 20 minutes. Why didn’t I just ask her to stop? She was on a mission. The kind, pretty woman had been replaced by an ogre that worked herself into a frenzy in my mouth. I can take the pain, the same stoic attitude that has enabled me to endure even though I know that it is probably not doing me any good.

“We have finished the clean” said the hygienist. “Are you okay”, she asked? I managed to let out a grunt to signal that I had endured and was okay. “We have a new method of polishing the teeth”, said the hygienist. It was a minor version of sand blasting, which was so uncomfortable and just added to this awful experience.

The final kicker was the application of the fluoride treatment. The bitter paste was applied all over my teeth and smeared on my lips. I was gagging, trying to stop the paste from finding my taste buds. I was handed a couple of tissues to wipe myself down. I noticed then that there was no tap for water attached to the dental chair. I had not been able to rinse for almost an hour.

It was over and I was out of there. Luckily the receptionist could not find the form for me to sign, transferring all of my dental history from my previous dentist. This was a complete debacle. The service was terrible and the product a nightmare.  There is no reason for dental work to be painful, particularly just a clean.

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