Alan’s OCD Dental Routine


She stroked her fingers across his smooth chest. His tone was odd. She couldn’t tell if he wanted her to stay or not. “You don’t mind me staying the night do you?”

“Well, I have to brush my teeth.”

She propped herself up on her arm so she could see his face. The nightlight cast enough light for her to see his unease. Was this some kind of OCD thing he’d picked up in rehab to replace his habit? Was he going to be brushing his teeth until his gums bled? “Okay.”


I have a great dentist. He is an amateur archeologist who digs for dinosaur bones every summer in Utah. He and his wife wanted a big family so in addition to their two biological children they adopted four from overseas before it was trendy. They wanted to be involved with this family so they set up his office in a former house. The downstairs was remodeled into offices and the kids and their nanny spent the day upstairs. He’s the go-to dentist for many of the developmentally delayed adults in the area because he’s so good with them. So when my dentist said to use special toothpicks to push my gums down, I said, yes sir.

A couple of years later I was teaching kindergarten in Korea and I swear one of my mothers had a budget for monthly teacher gifts. She have myself, my co-teacher and our assistant approximately $50 in gifts every month like clockwork. One month the gift was an electric toothbrush (this was years ago when they were very expensive.) I still have it.

During my time in the UAE, I went to the dentist and asked about a cleaning as I had not had one in years. They said, why would you do that? They also didn’t use anesthetic unless absolutely necessary so the work I did have to have done was painful and I avoided repeating it.

Last year I managed to schedule a dentist appointment with my fantastic dentist here in the US after not getting to one for 6 or more years and guess how many cavities I had. None.

So the OCD brushing, flossing and picking that Alan does in the book is actually excellent dental care recommended by my amazing dentist.

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