But after 18 years I got restless and decided to take a walk on the wild side and see what else was out there. BIG MISTAKE. I went to this other dentist in the Mission who was actually kind of cute but I felt like she was kinda phoning it in. I mean, if it doesn't hurt, they can't be doing a good job, right? Plus the receptionist didn't habla Ingles all that well and I was never 100% sure when my next appointment would be because I didn't want keep saying "Excuse me?" or "I'm sorry?" with my head cocked to the side like an idiot.
So I went back to Old Dentist after like a year and a half. Old Dentist took me back but decided that I MUST BE PUNISHED FOR MY TRANSGRESSION.
Old Dentist took a look at the X-Rays and did that thing where they stick the probe up under your gums and go "3-2-3, 3-3-3, 3-4-3" and then when they say "4-5-4" the dentist and the hygienist look at each other and cluck disapprovingly. It seems that I needed a DEEP CLEANING. If you're unfamiliar, a deep cleaning is where they peel your gums back and hammer away in there with a diamond bladed chisel and also a stick made out of wolverine teeth and a radioactive gun that shoots gamma rays and pain-water into the roots of your teeth.
A deep cleaning is also a useful way of learning valuable information from a rival!
It takes two sessions because they can't novocaine your whole face at once or you'll wander into the street and die or else starve to death because you can't put food into your mouth without it falling out. So each session's like an hour and a half and the Russian hygienist is going SCRAPE SCRAPE SCRAPE and you can feel it in your skull even if you can't in your mouth because they hit you with 4 novocaine injections - no shit, FOUR - and on the whole it's not a particularly satisfying experience.
SO YESTERDAY I go back for the followup and that Russian is "You are flossing daily, no?" and I was like "YOU BET YOUR ASS I'M FLOSSING DAILY SVETLANA" and then I go "You know, that deep cleaning was like 3 weeks ago and I'm not even sure why I'm here" and she says "After deep cleaning, some patient need to return every 4 month," and I was like "NOT THIS PATIENT, YOU CRAZY RUSSKIE." She strapped on her gear and went to work for another 40 minutes with the saw and the high-pressure radioactive Water Pic and then pronounced me GOOD TO GO for another 6 months.
The moral of the story is: if you like your dentist - and by that, I mean if your dentist isn't psychotic or molesting you while you're unconscious - for God's sake, don't cheat on him/her. It's not worth it.
(Oh, one ironic note: Guess who needs a deep cleaning now? MY DOG. I wish I had gotten to be fully anesthetized like he does! Lucky sonofabitch. LITERALLY. KA-POW!)