Opinion: The whole tooth

Commentary by Dick Wolfsie

I had never read my own dental chart before. Being familiar with the laws governing privacy, I assumed that what was going on inside my mouth was really none of my business. But the other day I was at my dentist’s office and there’s my chart sitting right smack in front of me. I was stunned at the number of personal observations made by the dental hygienists over the years. Here were some of the comments and a few notes that I added to the chart.

April 2012: Does not like to be probed

No, I don’t. In fact, just last year when I was abducted by aliens, they said pretty much the same thing about me.

Oct 2012: Has a small mouth

I found this odd, especially since it’s in direct contradiction to all my references from previous employers.

Feb 2013: Asked patient last time his teeth were flossed

She should have remembered. She was standing right next to me.

June 2014: Was a bit grumpy today

A dental hygienist upset because her patients are grumpy is like a professional burglar perplexed that he isn’t more welcome in a new neighborhood.

Jan 2015: Doesn’t talk much

When I have several fingers, a miniature sanding tool, three balls of cotton and a small vice in my mouth, I’m just not in a chatty mood.

June 2015: Doesn’t like dental videos

Gee, how can you say that? I even watched one about diseased, receding, bleeding gums. I thought it was a CSI re-run.

December 2015: Is difficult to numb

It’s about time they figured this out. Maybe that’s why I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs since April of ’87.

The hygienist came in and caught me reading my own chart.

“You can’t read that stuff. Certain parts of that are private.”

“Wait a second, aren’t those my private parts?”

I wish I had phrased that a little differently, because apparently that is not the kind of thing you yell at dental hygienists. But she didn’t’ get too angry. Here’s why:

February 2016:  Pays promptly