“I’ve got fillings older than you.”


‘Eventually, you have to find a new dentist.’

I don’t know about you, but if there’s one thing I hate more than going to the dentist, it’s having to find a new dentist.

Fortunately, this doesn’t happen very often. The first time I had to find a new dentist was related to jury duty. I was in a huge pool of potential civil-court jurors when the Court Guy asked if “anyone knew the defendant, Dr. Blank,” who was being sued for dental malpractice. I raised my hand; Dr. Blank, until that moment that is, happened to be my dentist.

I stuck with the next dentist for ages. He was Dude Man’s dentist. (Interesting side note. Dude Man is an ophthalmologist. I wish I had a dime for every time someone thinks he’s a dentist. Close enough. “Eye-teeth,” right?)

Dude Man, long before medical school, displaying a nice set of young pearly whites

Anyway, Dude Man’s dentist, Dr. B, and I got along like a house afire. For one thing, Dr. B had a sense of humor. (His name, which I am withholding for my usual privacy reasons, started with a B. But everyone actually called him “Dr. B.”) Good ole easy-going Dr. B had funny dental posters on the walls and a silly animated skeleton that writhed around in a toy dental chair. He didn’t mind that I called the room where he did his work (as opposed to the room where the hygienist did hers) the “Pain Room.” And he thought the new specialty I came up with — “dentacology” — was pretty funny: a dentacologist being a doctor who took care of women exclusively, combining dentistry and gynecology in one easy visit. (The exam chair would tilt both ways.)

About the only thing more nerve-wracking than going to either the dentist or the gynecologist? Walking on a scary-ass swinging bridge

Speaking of the hygienist, I liked her even more than I liked Dr. B, which was saying a lot. In fact, I liked her so much that when, eventually, I had to change dentists again — Dr. B died — I didn’t pick the dentist that Dr. B’s widow sold the practice to. I picked the dentist where the hygienist went to work. (She — the hygienist — didn’t like her — the widow. And, heck, if I trusted her to poke around in my mouth with that Sharp Pointy Thing, well, I trusted her judgment in widows and the dentists they sold my name to.)

The grownup Child’s remarkably perfect teeth. Because who wants to see a photo of someone at the dentist? (Much less the gynecologist?)

Why, on my first visit to the New Dentist, I told everyone who’d listen — including The Dentist Herself — that I was there because of The Hygienist. Oh, I liked The Dentist too, but she was disconcertingly young. In fact, when introduced, I removed that little Sucky Thing out of the corner of my mouth, looked her up and down and said, “Why, I have fillings older than you!” She didn’t laugh. But The Hygienist sure did.

Another cute shot of Dude Man and his cute shiny smile. Because why not?

This was a couple of years ago, but, like I say, I told everyone who’d listen about the wonderfulness of The Hygienist — and collaterally, of The Dentist. In fact, I got an email from Google last week telling my that my review had been viewed more than a thousand times.

I’m going in for a routine checkup next week. Wonder if I can get a discount?

Amagansett, New York. February 2024




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6 thoughts on ““I’ve got fillings older than you.”

  1. OK, book marketers and PR folks, take note! Sounds like these reviews are where to get noticed, ha! Hygienists are like hairstylists–you need to have a good report. For me, thankfully, the dentist just swoops in at the end.

    • Hah! I bet there are a few book reviews on Google! Will have to take a peek. Meanwhile, thanks for your readership, O fellow dental patient! I love your comparison of hygienists to hair stylists. Very apt! I would — and have — followed my hair stylist, too. He retired and moved to Southampton, which, fortunately, is halfway between the City and Amagansett. I time my drives to coincide with the need for a trim. While I’m there, I get to pet his dog. Hmmm…I think you just gave me an idea for a blog post! My Hair Guy and his Dog! Thanks!

  2. Madeleine Szabo

    Hi Alice. I always find it so curious that dental records are used to identify a corpse, because no two toothy mouths are the same. But, my goodness, The Child and The Dude sure are a perfect match which will give the coroner a devil of a time if, god forbid, his or her services would be needed. Must be Dr. B’s magic work on them both! Loved your post….as always.

    • Hahaha! I knew Dude Man and The Child were dead ringers for each other…but I certainly hope no coroner has to prove it! They do indeed resemble one another—right down to the pearly whites. Thanks, as always, for your close readership and cogent comments!

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