You know what I'm talking about. You go in still carrying the memories of all the flossing you didn't do, the fact you skipped your six month cleaning, and all the coffee and soda you drank. You sit down and brace yourself when the dentist comes in. Because sure, he may not say it (but he does, every time), he looks it.
Well, mine always said it.
The thing he does not get--though he's seen my entire family now--is that I am engaged in a dental war for my teeth. I come from a long, endless line of people who have none once they hit their forty-fifth year and my youngest sister lost all of hers before her twenty-fifth birthday due to malformed enamel (there is a medical term for this; I don't remember it). There are pitched battles, crushing defeats, truces, and vicodin. My dental work all on its own raised my tolerance for vicodin from "whee colors" to "I could get a better high from aspirin", okay? I could have put a kid of his through like, first year Princeton on the strength of my dental bills.
But every time, every time he looks in my mouth with this pained expression, like he can't believe his beautiful, flawless work is stuck in my mouth, where I obviously don't appreciate it.
Which makes me skip going to the dentist and double up on my dental coping mechanisms at home and blah blah blah, the cycle continues.
However, today is Saturday and I needed my front tooth that seriously broke fixed. There's a nearby clinic (like, one mile away) that specializes in Medicaid and CHIP clients. I work in social services; any dental clinic that can keep up a steady stream of repeat Medicaid customers for several years in general is a good bet. My clients were always my best source of customer service information; in general, and possibly in specific, any place where undocumented workers were comfortable going regularly with their kids is basically the gold standard of customer service. We don't lack dental clinics that will take Medicaid, including several frighteningly nice ones with LCD TVs and equipment I'm pretty sure is in the direct ancestry of Skynet, so the fact most of them still chose to go to this much smaller and less sophisticated one was a pretty good indicator it was a good place. Also, they were open on Saturday regular hours.
A.) The tech guy was hot as hell. I tried to admire his tattoos subtly.
B.) Everyone else was a woman. (There was one other male dentist somewhere? In theory? Never saw him.)
C.) I'm pretty sure they did a good job on my teeth; I'm not in pain and they look normal.
I just can't get over the fact I didn't have to wait and wait and wait and wait forever, the dentist showed up fairly fast and smiled in a non-patronizing way, she and my hygienist cracked jokes and weirdly, apologized if I showed discomfort. That was weird. My other dentist wouldn't notice anything less than me grabbing his wrist. I barely twitched (it wasn't even like, hurt, just the vibrations made me jump at first) and they both paused to check on me. I love this place.
(Two thirds of the way through, she stops abruptly and looks into my face; "Are you okay?" I didn't realize I'd relaxed that much; I usually have to seriously fight to keep still and my gag reflex like, triples in intensity. Apparently, I was approaching some kind of dental coma of relaxation or something. This is the first time my jaw wasn't killing me from clenching down on the rubber thing to hold my mouth open, and she did this genius thing with tissues so I didn't have to check in every few seconds to make sure my lips weren't trying to close.)
I can't quite put my finger on what was different. I mean, it was definitely the professional but genuinely warm attitude (as opposed to professional and genuinely patronizing) and the friendly way the staff all talked to each other in the halls as they passed, and the way she actually like, listened to me and gave me options on what to do (at this point, I need to pony up and start the long and expensive process of capping and be done with it with my family and personal history, especially with my sister as an example. Short term expensive; long term a bargain, considering).
Also? No dental guilt. I like her. I seriously have to find out if they are taking new patients anytime soon. That was the single most pleasant dental experience I have ever had.
Personal bias: all three of the front desk clerks were bilingual and from what I could overhear, the tech and at least two or three hygienists were too. That probably made my first really positive impression of the kind of clinic this is; if you are going to build a practice in Texas, especially in Austin, if you don't have bilingual staff, I think less of you. I'm not fluent by any means (at all; I am not good with languages spoken; reading I'm a little better) but I still try to read and practice it enough to understand and communicate on a basic level, and I don't get any business here that won't at minimum get at least one or two full time staff who are bilingual.
Must check for new patient openings. I really don't feel that a lack of LCD tvs on the ceiling is like, a problem.
Also, my gums don't hurt. Okay, this is freaking magic now. *awed*
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