I didn't have a dental pick. I used a narrow, flexible hobby putty knife. The button side edge popped right off. The blank side required me to slowly wiggle along, continually pushing the putty knife up to 2" to detach each of the clips.
Indeed, it is difficult to insert the keyboard ribbon cable. It will stop after about 1mm of insertion. It needs to go in quite a bit further. Angling it slightly, you may be able to get a corner to go in, then straighten the ribbon while applying forward pressure. I reassembled it a few times with that sinking feeling on startup before I realized that it wasn't really making contact!