Last Thursday I went to the Dentist.
Since I have the quintessential English teeth stuffed into a narrow Danish mouth, a dental visit in the past has always meant trauma . . . for both me and the dentist . . . and the dental assistant . . . and pretty much everyone in the room. After I got married, it even included my husband who had to pay for it.
I had been going to the dentist since I was 4. At that time my dentist was a Weird Al look-alike whom we called Dr. Thompson. We were scared of the dentist. I cannot remember a time when I went to the dentist and got a pleased thumbs-up on the state of my teeth. Something always had to be extracted, drilled, cleaned, or capped. Usually more than one something. Actually, our whole mouth was usually reconstructed in quadrants. I especially hated that stuff they swabbed on my gums to numb the shot.
It did not work. And it certainly did NOT taste like bananas.
I can still remember my first visit to the dentist. Dr. Thompson had me close my eyes when I got the shot of anesthesia. This was so I wouldn’t see the needle coming at me, scream, then release my bladder all over his vinyl. He said if my eyes were open, it would scare away the tooth fairy coming to visit me. I did not believe in the tooth fairy. I thought he was crazy. I humored him anyway. I knew it was the shot.
Since Dr. Thompson, I have gone to several different dentists over the years. The one before last, my least favorite dentist in the whole cosmos, shall remain nameless. I do not want to be sued. I suspect that he uses the kind of drill bit that could rivet metal warships. After he had used it on me, I blew a chunk of tooth from my nose when I sneezed. I am not exaggerating.
Then came his sullen assistant. She had to take an impression of a single canine. So she overstuffed a full mouth tray of Impression Glop, shoved it down my throat before I was ready, then left the room. I immediately choked when a jawbreaker sized ball of Glop came loose and stuck somewhere in my trachea. I pulled the tray out, coughed my airway clear, then silently endured her foul aggression for removing it. The other assistant finally asked her to leave the room.
Then came the work up and projected billing. They estimated that I had $4,000 worth of cavities. I was suspicious since I don’t have many teeth. I really became suspicious when they showed me 3 “cavities” on my crowns.
So I went in search of another dentist. I found Dr. W D Harris on Quandt Avenue in Springdale.
This dentist does NOT overcharge, does NOT use a drill bit the size of a bolt, and does NOT hire assistants based on their ability to win gladiator battles armed only with a swab and an attitude. He is also considerate of the patient. He is aware that they must breath to stay alive. He knows that his patients are humans. He knows that they use facial orifices – and not a blowhole over their dorsal fin – to get the oxygen into their lungs.
His assistants are just as good as he is at what they do. Stephanie was the assistant on my last visit. She is very skilled at using the new x-ray equipment. She can quickly take an x-ray without a) scaring the patient b) scarring the patient, and c) making the patient sterile.
Dr. Harris’ assistants also will NOT try to kill the patient with their own spit, tooth fragments, or glop impressions. They are efficient, pleasant, and patient.
I still hate going to the dentist, but not as much as I used to. I am very glad I found Dr. Harris’ clinic.
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