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Posted on Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Dave!Today I went to the dentist for my 6-month cleaning and check-up.

Which I hate.

But probably not for the reason you expect. It's not because I'm terrified of the dentist. It's not because I don't like people sticking metal tools in my mouth. It's not because I'm especially sensitive to dental work. It's not because I am afraid they'll find something wrong. It's not because I neglect my teeth. It's not because I forget to floss. It's none of those things.

It's because of the grit.

I hate the grit.

At the end of the cleaning (which is really no big deal, because I brush and floss regularly) they want to "polish" your teeth using a hideous mixture of fluoride paste, nasty flavoring, and some kind of abrasive grit. Grit that they can never entirely rinse away, leaving you with a horrific grit residue that scritches against your teeth when you bite down. And even when it dissipates after an hour or so, the gruesome memory of the stuff lingers for days.

At least it does for me.

I am freaking out right now just typing about it.

I would rather have a full-on root canal... hell, I'd rather have a tooth pulled... than to suffer through that gritty crap. That's how much I hate it. I'd even rather brush my teeth with baking soda, and I think we all remember how much I hate that...

Toothpaste 1

Toothpaste 2

Toothpaste 3

I have no idea why getting grit on my teeth torments me so badly, but it does. If I'm ever captured by the enemy and they want me to spill secret information, waterboarding isn't necessary. Threaten to put that gritty crap on my teeth and I'll tell you whatever you want to know. On more than one occasion I have asked if I really need to endure the polishing and they always tell me that I do. Maybe they think that I'm joking at how badly it freaks me out. Maybe they refuse to believe that it's a big deal. Maybe they think that I'm lying when I say I'm traumatized by it. Maybe they think I'm just a big baby. Whatever the case, apparently this is a necessary evil for proper dental maintenance, and all my teeth will fall out if I don't subject myself to it. I honestly don't know. All I do know is that I really really hate it.

Perhaps I should just let my teeth fall out and switch to an all chocolate pudding diet. Sounds like a win-win scenario to me.

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Categories: DaveLife 2009Click To It: Permalink


  1. ssp says:

    Hm, that’s odd, I don’t usually mind these things too much. In fact I even prefer the dentist to the hairdresser because they don’t ask stupid questions about the ‘style’ I want them to do their work in. (How should I know, am I the professional?)

    All that said, it’s probably time for me to make a dentist appointment…

  2. Rachel says:

    I actually like that feeling I love the feeling after on my teeth and will constantly lick my teeth to get that feeling. but then again, I am odd

  3. Robin says:

    That’s so true – it crunches for hours afterward even though you spend 15 minutes rinsing the shit out of your mouth…tres annoying.

    However, my dentist learned the hard way to give me the bubble gum flavored ones they reserve for the five year olds….tastes great, less filling and no aftertaste.

    There is nothing like a good cleaning, though…lifts my spirits.

  4. Jill says:

    That’s funny! I had my six-month dentist appointment yesterday too… no cavities 🙂

  5. Avitable says:

    That’s what I think the worst part of the dentist is, too. I love going and getting my teeth cleaned otherwise.

  6. Hilly says:

    Yay! Finally someone else who hates polishing more than the other stuff. In fact, I hate the whole teeth cleaning experience and would also rather have a root canal or get any other kind of dental work done than sit through that annoying cleaning. Blech, phooey!

  7. beth says:

    My dentist has a thing that is like a pressure washer (instead of the traditional grit polishing). It is like a salt water blaster, which can be painful, but if I recall correctly there is no grit. I haven’t done it that way in a while, but just so you know – you may have some options out there. 🙂

  8. Robin says:

    This is tooooo funny! I had my teeth cleaned on Monday and I have the same aversion to the gritty stuff. I have asked them to not do it as well. Surely there has to be a better solution out there?

  9. Badger says:

    Dude! I feel your pain. The grit is nasty, but for me it’s the stupid fluoride rinse they insist on giving me once a year. I don’t know what it is about that stuff, but it makes me vomit, for real. I can barely make it home in time, and my dentist is right by my neighborhood! Besides, what am I, twelve? Isn’t it enough that I use fluoride toothpaste every single day and that I know how to brush my teeth properly? GAH!

  10. Nenette says:

    Wow, for me, it’s the cardboard crap the dentist sticks in your mouth before they take the x-ray shots. Those things are always too big, and the roof of my mouth always feels dented long after they take them out.

    I can’t believe I’m delurking with “cardboard dents the roof of my mouth”.

  11. Ren says:

    I vaguely recall some grittiness in the past, but it doesn’t seem like whatever my dentist is using now is gritty. I could be wrong, though.

    You should just tell them no, adamantly. I seem to recall they also have some sort of fluoride rinse available, but I’m probably making that up.

  12. christie says:

    I actually love the polishing- cause it means they’re almost done.

    It’s the noise I hate. That noise when they scrape my teeth. I hate that noise.

  13. Sybil Law says:

    Totally get it.
    Also, eating a baked potato or french fries or anything starchy alone makes my teeth feel fuzzy, which also gives me the willies. For that reason, I try not to eat that stuff alone, which is actually okay, because then I never sit around eating bags of potato chips.

  14. Tracy says:

    I have a real aversion to the polisher itself…I don’t like the feeling of the tool rubbing against my teeth. That said, my dentist now has a “sand blaster” for a polisher. If you really can stand a little baking soda in your mouth (I hate the taste of it, too), the newer method is worth shopping around for & trying out.

  15. diane says:

    Uggggghhhh…please add to the list of 101 reasons why I hate going to the dentist. Reading this actually made my teeth hurt and my stomach turn!

  16. I hate when they pick between your teeth! I don’t like the grit either, but I love how clean they are afterward. It makes the grit worthwhile.

  17. The grit only bothers me if it’s grape flavored. *Shiver*

  18. Kirsten says:

    I hate the grit too, though what I hate worse is that they keep trying to have a conversation while their fingers and tools are in my mouth. But grit – ew. It’s like having a mouthful of sand.

  19. whall says:

    Did you know that you can donate your unused Grit to the homeless? There are specialty community shops that grind the grit together to make false teeth for the disadvantaged.

    They’re able to simulate tooth enamel in such a way that the homeless never have to be toothless again. It really is a great service to humanity.

    It’s called Some Make It Like Enamel or SMILE for short.

  20. I thought I was the only one who hated that gritty crap. Although to be honest, I think I prefer the grit to a root canal. I had my first ever root canal this year and the dentist decided to give me the shaft when it came to anesthetic. Sweet Jesus that hurt.

  21. whitenoise says:

    I had the exact same thing this morning but I don’t mind the gritty polish. It’s the broken fillings that will need to be fixed that give me the creeps. All that drilling and grinding- that faint whiff of burning tissue, the blood, the pain… I even wrote a sci-fi-ish story about it once.

  22. Mrs. Hall says:

    i went to the original post and DAYUM THAT WAS FUNNY!

    laughed out loud and everything!!!

    thanks DAVE!!

    i really needed that 🙂

  23. Michelle M. says:

    The grit doesn’t bother me too much. Dental impressions, however, are my worst nightmare. The goop overflowing the tray… I feel like I’m going to suffocate. It’s pure torture.

  24. Jeff says:

    Pro grit here

  25. Kevin says:

    My dental hygenist doesn’t even ask me what flavor I like. She just crams in some peppermint crap then starts sandblasting. If she’d offer me Banana or Rum Punch, then maybe I’d like it a little more…

  26. Nat says:

    Not so bad as the salt stuff… ever have that? where they basically sand blast your teeth… it gets on your face. Bleck.

    This may sound odd, but you can opt out of the polishing. (Unless you have a lot of staining.) My hygienist gave me the option. I passed. (I get it done once every 18 months.)

  27. Troy says:

    I’m with you on the grit. I hate that crap!

    Reminds me of going to the beach and eating a sandwich only to find bits of sand in it. Yeech!

  28. *lynne* says:

    Back in Malaysia, we’d get a small plastic cup of water to swish our mouth with, and there was a spit/drain thingy made specifically for us to spit out that grit.

    But here in the US, it looks like that doesn’t exist (not with the dentist I’ve been too, anyway) – they seem to think that the saliva-sucker is more than adequate to get rid of the leftover grit from the scaling/polishing. Yuck! I needs lots of swishage and rinsage and spittage to get the mouth free of the grit.


    I am due for a dentist appointment, tho – thanks for the reminder! :p

  29. John says:

    The AWESOMEST (is that a word?) TOON. Thanks for the re-run on this one. Cracks me up. : )

  30. I wonder how essential that step is, and if they’d be okay with skipping it just for you.

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