Christianity at the Dentist's [a tad long]

I am a mere 4 months away from becoming ineligible to be covered by my parent’s health insurance. Luckily though I have health insurance awaiting me through my job at the same time so I remain in the clear, but considering that my parent’s insurance is better than mine will be I figured I would have one last run on it while I still can. So over the next several months I have scheduled doctor, eye doctor, and dentist appointments. Yesterday was the dentist appointment.

Now I have never had the healthiest teeth. I drink almost nothing sugary (mostly diet soda and water) and I do not have anything that could even resemble a sweet tooth (I have perhaps a whole 2-3 bowls of ice cream in a month). Essentially an occasional cup of coffee is the most danger I put my teeth in, and yet I always seem to get at least one or two cavities a year. It’s been getting better over the last couple years, but a dentist appointment is still an overall unpleasant experience. But I have to go, taking care of my health and all that. Plus I get to leave work an hour early, so it’s not all bad.

I get to the dentist’s office and am promptly directed back to the… I suppose examination room would be the word I’m looking for, by the receptionist. I sit down in the chair and wait for the hygienist to arrive. As I sit and wait I start to zone out a little, as I am wont to do when I am without reading material, and I start making a list of things I need to do when I get home, trying to remember the name of that actor in that one movie (which has been bugging me for several days, but only when IMDB is unavailable), and other things I tend to do to keep my mind busy.

Suddenly I am jolted back into reality when I hear someone say, “Evolutionists either have no idea what they are talking about, or they are deliberately misleading the public.” I take a quick look around, wondering who would say something like that out of the blue in a dentist’s office. Seeing no one around I promptly realize that it is coming from a radio being played over the intercom (it must have been playing the whole time, but that one line made me actually take notice of it). They have the radio tuned to a conservative Christian station and the show is currently covering the evils of Evolution as opposed to Creationism.

My first thought is that I could just politely request that they change the station. Note that I have absolutely nothing against conservative Christians (i.e. the majority of my family), but having been raised on, and never questioning for so many years, the exact things that were coming out of the radio here I have a specific aversion to those arguments. Then I recall that I am in the same dentist that my parents use. Meaning that their relationship with the entire staff of the office falls somewhere on the high end between ‘acquaintance’ and ‘friend’. So if I made that request it would find its way back to being mentioned to my parents. Now this wouldn’t usually make me think twice, but at the moment my father and I are barely on speaking terms over our religious differences (i.e. he’s a conservative, fundamentalist, biblical literalist, Christian and I am most certainly not… well any of those things) and I would prefer not to do anything to further inflame the situation. Plus the hygienist is a very pleasant woman whom I have known for several years. In fact I did a bit of computer work for her in the past and both of her sons are going into Computer Science degrees in part due to my influence (something I almost feel bad about considering that I am so very anxious to get out of the field myself, but to each his own). In light of all of that it seems perhaps rude to request that they change a station that apparently everyone else in the office had no problem with. So I keep silent.

Finally the topic on the radio changes and I breathe a sigh of relief, until I realize that the next topic for discussion is ‘How gays and divorcees are destroying our way of life’. The worst part is that I can’t even drown it out with idle conversation because by this point the most I can say is “Hhmph phh phamphy?” as my mouth is filled with sharp metal pointy things. After another fifteen minutes or so they at last switch to something innocuous about how sleep is important for children.

All in all a relatively harmless experience in which I suffered nothing more than mild annoyance while being subject to mild discomfort. But I had to spend forty minutes listening to a radio station that might as well been called The ‘Long discussions carefully tailored to cover all of the things that you were taught as a child while being brought up in such a way as to spend much too much of your life not questioning them’ Station.

And that is the story of how I wrote more than nine hundred words about a dentist’s appointment. I considered throwing a generous supply of swears and cusses into here and putting it in the Pit, but I’m really not angry, hardly even annoyed in reality. Just needed to rant about something both mundane and pointless.

Man, that puts the appeal of the satellite radio “Light music” selection in a new perspective. Sounds like a change of dentists is in order (you could always blame it on your new insurance or something).

Seems like you have genetically weaker teeth, if you don’t do anything “bad” and still get cavities. Did they do the brushing demo with the giant teeth?

Wow…that’s pretty awkward, isn’t it? Sounds like a case to me of someone who doesn’t realize that some of their customers might be offended by that kind of talk. You might approach it from that perspective with them…that it might cause them to lose business if they play controversial talk radio where the patients can hear it.

Actually, that might not work. If they’re the type to knowingly put conservative christian talk radio on, they might not care that such a thing drives away business. (Because… what’s wrong with it? Are you not a good god-fearing person? ) OTOH, they would probably be the type of person who would turn the station to music, if you said that talk radio annoys you. I.e. Make the discussion solely about music over talk; it should have nothing to do with the kind of talk.

If it’s on in future visits, how about a simple, “Would you mind turning the radio to something a bit lighter? I don’t really feel like listening to serious discussions today.”

MLS has a good suggestion. I’d go even more of a white lie, like, “I find music so much more relaxing than talk radio…”

Whoops, sorry, I see that Just Another Geek has already made the same suggestion.

I changed tax guys because the one I’d been using for years–otherwise a very nice person and good tax guy–started doing yearly glurge mailings of right-wing religious crap. I wish him all the best, but I don’t feel like sending any more business his way.

If this happens again, ask them if they have headphones. You can then tune in to a station of your choice.

Frankly, if I heard this kind of thing at my dentist’s office I would ask not only for headphones, but for gas.

And soon you will be free to find a new dentist.

I image that is the case. I haven’t recieved it in years, but I recall as a kid getting the demo using comically large teeth and an oversized toothbrush alright.

That is not a bad idea. I have one more appointment at this dentist to take care of that seemingly inevitable cavity (only one this year), and I if they are playing said radio station again I may say something. After that I am certainly finding another dentist, mostly because this one is not exactly a convinient location for me, but admittedly this might have pushed me over the edge even if it was.

In their defence I was the last appointment of the day and was the only customer in the office at the time. Plus being in an increibly small and conserviative town they probably assumed it was alright. I don’t even doubt that they would have changed it upon request, but my paranoia about keeping my relationship with my father from deteriorating any further kept me from finding out.

You evolutionist pig! It’s not genetics! God wanted him to have weak teeth, and so he does. Praise the Lord.


I’m with gigi, as usual. I seem to have managed to inherit my father’s bad teeth and my mother’s dislike of dentists! Perhaps this is the price I have to pay for Dad’s being an agnostic? :wink:

One tactic to consider is asking if you could listen to something else because hearing stuff like that makes it hard for you to relax. Do so in such a way that it’s unclear whether what’s bothering you is the notion that people could reject God and accept evolution or the notion that people could still be making the same Creationist arguments. I have encountered people who are irritated by the mere notion that reasonable people could support gay marriage. It could work.