I went to the dentist the other day for a semi-annual check-up. For these check-ups I spend a lot of time with the dental hygienist, assistant, tooth cleaner, molar mugger, or whatever they are called these days. 

My dental hygienist did a fine job of cleaning off the tartar, flossing, gum checking and general poking around. When she finished cleaning them with cinnamon toothpaste (you can have your choice of flavors) my mouth felt as clean as a “crystal castle”.

As an added attraction, my hygienist provided a running monologue to keep her mind off the mind-numbing fatigue that accompanied cleaning out my mouth. I learned all about her family. She visited a variety of topics from the weather to traffic in Chicago. Neither one of us liked to drive Chicago where they don’t have brakes but only steering wheels and accelerators.

As she checked my gums, she delivered the official lecture of the importance of flossing and using mouthwash. She listed a variety of maladies that could occur from an unkempt mouth. 

As we talked, she would occasionally ask me a question. If it was a yes-or-no question I would nod or shake my head as appropriate. If it required an essay answer, she was quick to remove her tools from my mouth so I could prattle on in a long-winded fashion answering a question that only required a short answer.    

Together we passed a pleasant hour as she cleaned up my dental act. The dentist came, poked around and declared me fit for duty. The hygienist urged me to make a six-month appointment, pointing out how much easier it would be if I had a check-up twice a year. 

After some hemming and hawing, I agreed to the next appointment provided she would by my hygienist. If she could make an hour dental cleaning/check-up seem like a nice visit, then she was the one for me. 

I’m going to make a list of things to discuss the next time I see her – the latest fashion in dentures, whether teeth make good bottle openers, the best way to eat popcorn (one kernel at a time or shove a whole handful in and chow down).

I’m looking forward to my next appointment.