I’m not one to beat a dead horse.

OK, I lied. I do it all the time.

But before you run off to rat on me to PETA for cruelty to deceased animals, know that I’m speaking metaphorically.

I know that ragging on the dentist’s office is a common and beloved subject. Well, there’s a reason for that and I’m here to add my own two cents on the matter based on personal experience that happened this very day.

So, let’s get stuck in.

Ah, the dentist’s office, that den of pain and misery. This time the damn place pulled a fast one on me. An appointment (that I set up six months ago and promptly forgot about) scared the bejesus out of me this morning. Before you could say “Terrifying Toothpaste, Batman!” I had driven across town and found myself, groggy and grumpy, listening to what I suppose certain sadistic individuals imagine to be the relaxing tones of smooth jazz muzak.

Then the moment came, with dawning dread, my name was called and I was ushered into the backroom and into one of those horrifyingly antiseptic and surprisingly uncomfortable chairs.

Asked to open my mouth while the dental hygienist proceeded to shove a piece of plastic into my mouth under the guise of “taking x-rays.”

Sure, a likely story.

Once my gums were suitably battered, it was time to move on to what I sardonically refer to as the “fun part.”

I was there for what is termed a “routine cleaning” (now with even more bleach and hydrochloric acid!). I was forced (from my own masochistic tendencies) to endure an hour’s worth of admonishment for deplorable flossing habits while the kindly lady scraped my enamel off with barbed fishhooks.

Now I’m not here to imply that my pearly whites are less than amazing, but as soon as I step into that too-bright office, I instantly feel guilty of every tooth related crime in the Big Book of Dental Law. 

I find myself lying through my teeth (pun totally intended) as I am cross-examined by a team of expert dentists/lawyers.

Here’s a typical exchange betwixt me and my dentist (German accent not required by totally amusing):

“Where were your teeth the night of the twenty-eighth?” the dentist asks in his gleaming white lab coat.

“Uhhh…in my mouth,” I struggle to say around that little mirror thing that they probe your mouth with.

The dentist tsks and tutts, “Why do you insist on lying? You and I both know your teeth were marinating in acid, sugar and coca cola.”

The blinding lights of his interrogator lamp shine through the flimsy protection of the “sunglasses” they helpfully provide. He makes several carefully calculated punctures with his own fishhook device, before nodding to himself. My guilt has been established. Now it is time for punishment.

He leaves after conferring with his collaborator. She breaks out the steel wool toothbrush and the rock grit toothpaste. Laughter echoes maniacally through the office as my screams of pain echo.

After days of this torment she finally finishes. I gasp for breath. In a calm voice I am assured that my ordeal is over. She packs a consolation bag full of keepsakes to remind me of my loathsome experience.

I’m startled as I walk out the door, my mouth bleeding like a crappy prize-fighter after ten minutes of being repeatedly punched in the mouth (which I’m pretty sure was part of my cleaning). A smack on the ass and a husky, “See you in six months,” from the normally mild-mannered, and pleasant female dental hygienist causes me to shiver. 

Y’know the worst part?

I will be back in six months, ready to repeat the whole terrible process.