Covid-19 Teeth Cleaning

Today’s Slice of Life at

Today was my regular teeth cleaning, though it wasn’t really regular. I was three months late due to the dental department closure for some months in the springtime. Even now that they are open, it wasn’t regular. It was a Covid-19 teeth cleaning.

When I came into the room, I felt conspicuous, especially when they asked me to remove my mask. Of course, I would need to remove my mask. What was I thinking? The periodontist and the assistant were each decked out with double masks and a boldly-marked FACE SHIELD.

They both meticulously used hand sanitizer and then put on a pair of rubber gloves. They busily set up the work station, getting all their tools lined up. The assistant poured me a cocktail of betadine and water to rinse my mouth.

After getting everything set up, they removed and disposed of those gloves and then put on a new pair. At this point, I was clearly feeling like I myself was the virus from which they needed protection.

As I sat there, occasionally opening my eyes, I saw a trio of images. In the center was the dental light focused on my mouth, on either side the periodontist and the assistant. I couldn’t help but notice their attentive and vulnerable eyes under their shields. I wondered how many of my droplets were able to reach those defenseless, exposed orifices. I felt guilty and prayed I didn’t have Covid-19.

Fortunately, teeth cleaning is a fast and furious process here. It is not for the faint of heart, indulged or coddled. He is on a mission to get through all four sections of teeth before giving the person in the chair a break. Three tools were put into my mouth, a water jet, a suction and some kind of an ultrasonic teeth cleaner. I began breathing deeply and slowly. He began traveling on the lingual mandibular route. Then surprisingly, two of the tools escaped. I closed my mouth over the suction, happy for the unexpected break. Then he continued on the labial mandibular teeth, jumped up to the maxillary, turned and scaled every surface along that route. He then did another u-turn around my wisdom tooth and continued on the front of the upper jaw. No more breaks to be had until the end.

In the next moments, he gobbed that gritty polish onto all the surfaces and scrubbed it off like lightning.

I looked down at my watch. The whole process had taken 13 minutes.

Today is Day 168 in Bahrain’s Covid-19  time.

8 thoughts on “Covid-19 Teeth Cleaning

  1. Teeth cleaning is a strange procedure in itself. Add the virus protection measures and it becomes even stranger. I enjoyed your description of your experience, the specific details and your inner thoughts.

  2. Every little, previously “normal”, life event should be described and recorded- something like a teeth cleaning and how it all changed during this time. This is a post that you can go back to in time and remember how teeth cleaning used to be so different. It’s the little things where the stories can be found, the stories that paint a picture of this larger time in history. Thank you so much and hope your teeth feel ultra clean. I need to make my appointment!

    1. Kathleen, that is a good idea. I should watch for more slices of my life to record that have become out-of-the-ordinary. I am glad I recorded this one. I was wishing my eyes had a camera to snap that picture of their vulnerable eyes I could see so clearly.

  3. I’m dreading taking my kids for theirs next week and myself a couple of weeks later. I worry about air purification considering how much “stuff” (technical word, I know) leaves the mouth during a cleaning. Ugh.

    1. Stacey, that is a good point! I actually hadn’t thought about previous patients sitting in that same chair. I wonder how they clean up after we leave. That is a good thing to think about, and hopefully the dentist office has!

  4. Thirteen minutes?! Woah! Bob and I both went last week, and we had to sign that we had not been out of the state. We got our temperatures checked and our hands sanitized. I felt guilty for taking off my mask, and I felt as if I was a walking virus, too! What a different world. (I got to choose my toothbrush color…<–BONUS!) Hooray for clean teeth!

    1. Yes, thirteen minutes does seem like enough. I hope it is adequate to help my teeth last a lifetime! 🙂 I wonder what color you picked? I am always looking for red when I have a choice of colors.

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