04/23/2013 06:39 pm ET Updated Jun 23, 2013

A Visit to the Chatty Dentist


Hi, come on in and sit down. How have you been? It's been awhile since I've seen you. More than six months, I'd guess. Didn't I say, "See you in six months" the last time you were here? I guess you didn't hear that. I'm sure I said it. No problem, get in the chair, open wide and let's take a look.

"Uh oh...I can tell somebody's not flossing regularly. Naughty-naughty. Oh, and I see we had a roast beef sandwich for lunch. You know, the best roast beef sandwich I ever had was in Mexico, of all places. Love roast beef. I'm a bit of a roast beef connoisseur, you might say. Love, love, love roast beef.

Anyway, about the flossing. The American Dental Association recommends that you floss twice a day. I do it at least four times a day, sometimes more. Sure, some people make fun of you when you break out the floss in public, but you find out who your true friends are. I met my second wife at a restaurant when we both pulled out our floss at the same time. Love at first floss, you might say. I'm kidding. Actually, it was more like my fourth floss of the day. Whatever. The important thing is to keep flossing. Every chance you get. Don't worry about what the haters say.

Do you know the correct way to floss? Here, I can show you on this porcelain model of the human mouth. She's a beaut, isn't she? Got this for 25 bucks from a dentist that was retiring. These babies sell for $300 on eBay. Ever use eBay? Oh sorry, I guess you can't talk with all of that stuff in your mouth. You can just nod yes or no.

Oh, I've gotten some great things on eBay. In fact, most of the equipment in this room I got through eBay. That tube that's sucking the saliva out of your mouth? eBay. 10 bucks. And the spit and rinse bowl over there? eBay. I think the only thing I didn't get through eBay is the tiny paper cups by the rinse and spit bowl. See them? It's really hard to get cups that tiny anymore. I get mine from India, you can't get them anymore in the U.S., and believe me, I've tried.

Where were we? Oh yeah, flossing. Wow, that's a big topic, sometimes I don't know where to begin. By the way, just let me know if I'm going on too long about flossing. Not that you can speak. Ha-ha, a little dentist joke there. Say, I heard a good one the other day, want to hear it? I'll take that as a "yes."

Guy walks into a dentist's office and says he needs a tooth pulled. "How much do you charge for something like that?" he asks. The dentist takes a deep breath and says," About 400 dollars." "400 bucks!" exclaims the man. "Isn't there any way to make it cheaper?" "Well, said the dentist, if we do it without Novocain, I charge $200." The man says, "That's still pretty steep." By this time, the dentist is getting annoyed so he says, "Well, I could rip out the tooth with a pair of rusty pliers. I only charge $20 for that."

"Excellent!" the man said. "Book my mother-in-law for next Thursday."

Ha-ha-ha! Isn't that great? The first time I heard that, I laughed so hard I thought I was getting osteonecrosis of the jaw. Know what that is? It's when your jaw starts to.... oh, never mind, if I have to explain the joke, it's not funny. A lot of my patients think I'm funny, do you think I'm funny? I'll take that as a "yes." By the way, feel free to disagree with me, don't be intimidated because your mouth is full of cotton and sharp metal instruments. They won't hurt you. At least the cotton won't.

Anyway, where was I? Oh that's right, flossing. See how I go off on tangents sometimes? One of my patients calls me "Doctor Chatty." Isn't that great? Oh, I laughed so hard when she said that I almost had a hypoplastic maxilla. That's when....oh forget it, you don't want to know what a hypoplastic maxilla is. It makes a keratocystic tumor seem like a walk in the park.

Okay, lets take a closer look at this model of the human mouth. I almost got one of these off eBay, but I lost the auction. Boy, that was a real knock-down drag-out bidding war. On eBay, you gotta know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, am I right? Who did that song, Kenny Loggins? No wait, it was Kenny Rogers. I get them mixed up all the time even though they're very different.

Anyway, the first thing you need to remember about flossing is that you've got to get the floss between the teeth like this... but never like this. See the difference? If you do it the right way, your gums will stay pink and healthy, but if you do it the other way, your gums are likely to turn black and ooze blood every time you eat. It's called chronic mandibular gum disease, and it's like gingivitis on steroids. And if you develop that, you may have to have a dental debridement or even a gum lift, both of which we offer here, by the way. I can do it for 20 bucks if you want to book your mother-in-law for next Friday. Ha-ha-ha! See, I told you I was funny.

Now, I'm going to take some X-Rays of your teeth. Don't worry, this is a simple procedure and is completely harmless. This heavy Kevlar jacket I'm putting over your chest? Just a precaution. And when I take the X-ray, I will have to leave the room. Just another precaution. So bite down on this cardboard mouth-stretcher and I'll take a few X-rays. Now don't worry, I'm leaving the room for a minute or so, but we can pick up where we left off. I'm really enjoying our little conversation....

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