First it’s the wait. You come in early to fill out paperwork even though they only admit you after the obligatory half hour wait past your appointment time. Finally, after reading three month old news in the dated subscriptions in the waiting room, your name is called and you walk down the hall of operating rooms. You sit down and recline on the chair, which look suspiciously like torture chambers sans restraints. After some semi-abusive scraping and prodding with very sharp metal instruments, your only consolation is that at some point they’ll run out of teeth to destroy. You wonder how the hygienists do it, look down at you while you stare back at them obviously in pain, fear, or some combination of the above.

Imagine for a moment that aliens visit Earth and encounter dentist offices. What would they think seeing the operating chairs and tools? Metal hooks and tubes, chemical abrasives, alligator clips and drills. Tools of the trade for both the dentist and the interrogator. Even worse, the dentist offices have mirrors, as if the interrogators have a sadistic desire to reflect their victims’ pains back on them. And of course there’s the omnipresent lamp that hovers above the chair. With a flick of the switch, you’re blinded and the dentist gets you to admit your deepest, darkest secrets, i.e. you really don’t floss very often. The hygienists makes sure you know how painful flossing should be as they pull out blood with what must be little chunks of your gums while admonishing you for your lack of regular oral care.

Or instead of the alien, imagine future historians. I have little doubt that doctors decades from now will look back on oral¬†hygienic¬†practices in this ritualistic bi-annual cleaning with horror. I’m sure in the future, all teeth maintenance will be done touch free with ultraviolet rays or something. During the violent scraping of the teeth with the occasional slip that digs the hook into the gums, I imagine myself as a giant eating my tiny victims. Their only recourse would be to attack whatever soft tissue they could find with spears and arrows. Then again, every video game scenario involving being swallowed always has the victim attacking the uvula.

Sure, oral hygiene is very important and should not be shirked. But everyone hates visiting the dentist for a reason. It shouldn’t be so unbearable.

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