Joe Pisani (opinion): Need advice? She's armed to the teeth with it.

Novelty teeth.

Novelty teeth.

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Some of my friends go to a therapist for advice. Others go to the bar because bartenders are also known to give good advice. (At least it sounds good after you’ve had a few drinks.) Still others visit their parish priest and are even brave enough to go to confession.

I go to my dental hygienist. It’s cheaper and I get my teeth cleaned at the same time.

Lisa is a master at what she does. I leave the office with polished teeth, bleeding gums and enough advice to last six months until my next appointment. She could have her own radio program or team up with Dr. Phil and offer oral hygiene tips while she’s helping young people recover from broken relationships. Just remember that teeth usually last longer than a relationship, so don’t neglect them.

She offers guidance on parenting, marriage, pets, and of course, molars. (Did I mention she gives stock tips, and if you’re a regular patient, she’ll share some of her favorite Italian recipes.) I’m not going to tell you her last name because it’s hard enough getting an appointment.

It’s amazing how much advice she can give while she’s got that ultrasonic plaque remover whizzing in my mouth with water spraying everywhere. She does the talking. I do the listening.

She could have been a family therapist, a marriage counselor or a dog obedience trainer, but she decided to go into dental hygiene. If she ever gets her degree in psychotherapy, she’ll be able to charge four times as much, but I don’t think my dental insurance will pay for a cleaning and therapy, too.

She gives great tips on oral health. Even though I suffered hair loss, I won’t suffer teeth loss because of her. And I’m convinced if she had been my hair stylist, I wouldn’t be bald today.

I always arrive at my appointment with unsightly coffee stains on my incisors. Lisa told me that to prevent stains, I should drink my coffee through a straw, so while I was at Starbucks, I asked for a straw when they handed me a steaming hot Cafe Americano.

(WARNING: Do not attempt this without supervision from the American Dental Association or Dr. Fauci. And NEVER attempt it without wearing a face mask to protect yourself against COVID and hot coffee.)

The first sip burned my tongue. The second sip burned the roof of my mouth. The third sip singed my nose hairs. And by the fourth sip, I was coughing up coffee, and I could hear the young baristas snickering, “Look at that crazy Baby Boomer trying to drink hot coffee through a straw. The next thing you know, he’ll try to eat sushi with a straw.” (I did, but it didn’t work.)

Lisa also tells me to floss every day, especially if I want to keep my teeth until I pass into the Great Hereafter, which may be difficult because I have more gold crowns than the cast of “The Sopranos.” I had to get them because I cracked a couple of molars after biting into olive pits at the Olive Garden, if you can believe that.

On my recent visit, she gave me terrific advice about the perils, pains and pleasures of parenthood. “Parents have to adapt,” she said. What a revolutionary concept.

All my life, I thought it was the other way around. I thought kids were supposed to “adapt” to their parents, but I had it wrong. Since no two kids are alike, we have to be tolerant of their idiosyncrasies. Besides, adapting will keep us from developing an ulcer, having a nervous breakdown or even worse ... grinding our teeth, which can cause a lot of dental damage.

“Are you suggesting I have to treat my kids, my grandkids and my spouse with the same tolerance I show the dog?” I asked.

She nodded and muttered, “Yes, it’s a fundamental principle that governs pet companionship and marriage: “An obedient dog is a happy dog and an obedient husband is a happy husband.” Hmmm, that’s dog food for thought.

I tried to apply her philosophy. When my wife complained because I didn’t hang up my clothes and left them on the bed, I told her, “My dental hygienist says you have to adapt.”

That didn’t go over well. So I tried to redeem myself. “Have you ever tried drinking your coffee through a straw?” I asked.

Former Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time Editor Joe Pisani can be reached at joefpisani@yahoo.com.