Scenes from the Dentist’s

At the end of the cleaning, KELLY, the dental hygienist, hands DAVE a clear vinyl pouch filled with standard dental supplies.

DAVE: Oh yeah, I wanted to ask you, this um … Glide, the Glide floss? Do y’all recommend that over the regular, like chunky waxed old-style floss?

KELLY shakes her head.

DAVE: Does it matter?
KELLY: Personally, I don’t like it. When I use it it just slides out too easily. I don’t think it gets, you know all the stuff out.
DAVE: So this isn’t like an endorsement of the product?
KELLY: We just get a whole box of ’em. Lemme see if we got any of the other kind.

KELLY disappears.


DAVE gets three different impressions taken around the segment of his mouth where he’s got a tooth hole from an implant, waiting to be filled with a crown. The epoxy tastes unpleasant, like latex taffy. CHERYL, the dentist’s assistant, pulls the last bit from his mouth.

CHERYL: You’re done!

DAVE gets up and collects his things.

CHERYL: Can I get you anything to drink?
CHERYL: We’ve got Mountain Dew? Pepsi?
DAVE (laughing): What? Really? Don’t those rot your teeth?
CHERYL (marking something down on DAVE’s form): Well not one.

Presently, the two walk down the hall toward reception. DAVE spots a Keurig.

DAVE: Oh, actually, could I get some coffee?
CHERYL: Doesn’t that stain your teeth?



Touché, madame. There is something decidedly Southern about these exchanges. I mean: these people are professionals trained in reputable places. Too-slick floss is better than no floss at all; and besides it’s just a sample. Also: they know what soda does to teeth. But Jesus, Dave, it’s one soda. Yankee Dave says he can’t believe a dentist would keep non-diet sodas on hand. The people at his dentist’s say he’s being uptight.

I’m not infrequently accused (verbally or otherwise) of being uptight down here. Most often, I refuse to yield on my inherent rightness. Today, though, I’m happy to.

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