Dental Scaling or Pelvic Exam? Survey says…

Last week I was at the dentist for a checkup and for scaling.  The word “scaling” gives me the chills.  I conducted a brief and informal survey among girlfriends, regarding which they would rather have: dental scaling or a pelvic exam.  The results were approximately 75/25 in favour of pelvic exams.  Of course, this isn’t a scientifically accurate survey.  The sample size was small and not representative of the total population, but I strongly agreed with the majority here.  I would much, much rather endure the awkwardness of the bright lights and scootching my bottom down a little, and even the weird retractor thing, than have my teeth scaled. 

People have a tendency to quote statistics, with absolute certainty, in order to prove a point.  I could say, forcefully, that 75% of women prefer pelvic exams to dental scaling, but I would be incorrect.  A survey of less than twenty of my girlfriends does not constitute an unbiased, random sampling, and the sample size is much less than what is considered statistically significant.  This is one of my all-time pet peeves: the quoting of inaccurate statistics.  Wow, I’m really a nerd.  It’s like I’m one step away from pulling out my mechanical pencil and pocket calculator in order to do my own calculations.  Show me the data behind your statistics.

Where was I?  Oh yes, the dentist.  I dread it every time.  My mouth resembles a crime scene afterwards, and while I realize that flossing more regularly would help matters, I still believe strongly that putting a sharp metal object forcefully against soft tissue is going to result in bleeding no matter what.  My real issue is that I’m a people pleaser when it comes to my hygienist, and I end up being less than truthful when it comes to my flossing habits.  There is a scene that I relate to in my friend Michal’s short film Arithmetic, where Annie is reclined in the dentist chair, blood spattered all over her paper bib, and the caption is something along the lines of “There are two people Annie lies to: the dentist and her mother.”  I’m like that.  Not that I lie to my mother.  (Hi Mom, if you’re reading this!).  Hey, did I mention I was an extra in that film?  I did?  Oh.

By the way, I KNOW I have to floss more, but knowing is not the same thing as doing, as anyone can tell you who has found themselves with a mysteriously empty bag of potato chips, a bloated stomach, and crumbs all over their shirt.

I also had to take the dog to the vet for a checkup and vaccinations.  Canine vaccinations are the only type of vaccinations I will ever mention on this blog.  Have you ever noticed that there is very little debate over getting your dog vaccinated?  Or maybe there is debate and I just haven’t noticed.  (Note: I don’t want to know.)  Anyway, I took the dog to the vet and – some of you may remember his weight struggles (he’s fat) – he lost weight!  He lost five pounds which is almost ten percent of his body weight!  I was so happy, and I expected great praise and accolades, which did not materialize.  Yes, the vet said, it’s good that he’s lost weight but he should really loose a couple more pounds.  I was completely crestfallen.  Where are my accolades?  The vet, furthermore, informed me that Barkley needs to have MORE dental chews (apparently he and I have plaque in common) but that I should deduct the number of calories from his dental chews from his total daily caloric intake.

I agreed with the vet, but internally I thought no fucking way.  There is no way I am going to start doing a calorie count for my fucking dog.  “It’s easy!” the vet said, giving Barkley a small treat, “These are ten calories each.  Just deduct that from his food.”  I spend enough time calculating my own calories, I do not need to worry about my dog’s intake.  The thought of dividing my dog’s food into little ten calorie portions in order to deduct that amount from his food total makes my head spin and, quite frankly, makes me fear for society.  Is this where we are going, people?  Are we going to expand our obsession with weight loss to include our furry friends?  Because I do not want to go there.  


  1. Favorite parts:

    1. the part about statistics

    2. the part about how there does not seem to be a fuss over pet vaccinations (I had not noticed that, but you’re right!) (I don’t want to know, either, if there is)

    3. the part about deducting 10-calorie portions of dog food

  2. The difference between pelvic exams and dental scaling is the judgment. My hygienist thinks my gums & teeth are gross and she doesn’t hide her disdain. Whereas my doctor never makes me think my vulva is unkempt or misused. NEVER.

    Let me know if the anti-dog-vax nutters storm your blog w/ fake statistics and poor science.

  3. I have no idea what a dental scaling is but I’m not sure I want to have that done.

  4. My dentist keeps calling me leaving messages about how I really need to come back so they can scale my teeth. But they have to freeze me to scale them, AND I have to go back twice. So. I’m not taking their calls.

  5. I hate the dentist. Hearing that scraping thing inside my head gives me the creeps.

  6. I hate the dentist. I hate anyone touching my face, I hate being reclined at that angle, I hate the one stupid hygienist who I TOLD this to and who subsequently left me reclined while I was seven months pregnant and LEFT THE ROOM for ten minutes (I specifically request not to have her, and I don’t feel the least bit bad about it). But I floss. Only because I’m obsessive-compulsive and tricked myself into developing the habit and now I can’t go to sleep without flossing. So now they just make me guilty for not flossing my kids’ teeth. Fuck them, I say. And fuck counting your dog’s calories – put the dental chews in Easter Cream eggs.

  7. I would take a pelvic exam any day! I brush, I floss, I brush more and floss more and in plan English…dental scaling sucks!

    As for the pup…let him eat cake!(or at least the 10 calorie treats)

  8. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Would love to hear how you celebrate your Thanksgiving.

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