Doctor Ong greeted me warmly and I got my 60 seconds of pleasantries. I truly believe he times his chatter with patients and when he reaches the end of the time it cuts off. Doesn't matter if it's mid-sentence, conversation is finished.
The process for getting a crown is simple. They take off the temp crown, sanitize and then glue on the new one. The first part of the process went well. Doctor Ong was pleased.
Then, he turned me over to his assistant, the butcher. Before they let you leave, they have to be able to floss on both sides of the tooth. The first side was tight, but it went in. The second side held fast. I had no idea what she was trying to do at first or I would have stopped her. The first thing she tired was putting the floss in the groove between teeth and leaning on it with her full weight. I think her feet left the floor for a moment before the floss snapped. She did this over and over, slicing the corner of my lips in the process.
Since this wouldn't work, she got a floss needle and thread. She threaded the mint scented piano wire on the needle and then clumsily tried to jab it through the gap. My gums were gushing blood at this point and she managed to stab my tongue. She still couldn't pull it through.
I could see in her eyes that she was afraid to admit to Doctor Ong that she was unable to floss my teeth. She looked over at the tray of forbidden "dentist only" tools and snatched up a skinny pointed hook. The hook vibrated as she gouged at my cheek and gums.
"I think there's a bit of glue stuck between there, I'm just trying to get it out."
There was no precision. It was a mad house. She lost control of the tool and it skittered across my teeth. She had all the skill of a five year old trying to fish a quarter out of a sewer with a piece of gum on a string. And she was just as successful.
"I'm afraid... I'm going to have to tell the doctor."
She left. I waited twenty minutes.
When Doctor Ong returned, the smile on his face was less real than his usual fake one. He snatched the vibrating hook. In just a few moments he had cleared the passage to his satisfaction. He put the floss against the groove and pressed down hard. It still didn't go through. Vibrating hook. Floss. Vibrating hook. Finally, pushing as hard as could, he managed to break through the glue. Of course, there was so much pressure on the floss at that point that it cut another slice in my already raw gums.
Dr. Ong said, "There you go, all done."
They pulled off my bib and helped me pick pieces of discarded, bloody floss off my clothes.
As I turned to leave, Dr. Ong said, "You do not need to floss that tooth again today. It has been flossed enough."
I didn't look back.