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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Grateful

We came through today’s dental adventures in one piece, if not more than a little weary and decidedly lighter in the wallet! As we drove home, me with the roughness of my temporary crown relentlessly drawing the attention of my tongue and Chuck with his antibiotic-saturated root canal throbbing a bit, the dominant feeling we shared was one of gratitude. As we thought about our dentist, his assistant and the hygienist who popped her head in to check on us, we couldn’t believe our good fortune. Adding to our sense of wonder was the fact that the endodontist Chuck met today for the very first time, had been excellent - a patient, careful, teacher.

My first dental experiences as a little kid were dreadful - not quite Dickensian, but scary, painful and involving what was likely the unnecessary loss of too many teeth. I finally got good dental care at the age of fourteen, but by then Dr. M. had to spend an enormous amount of time and energy repairing earlier damage. So, many years ago, long after I had moved from Rhode Island, I followed Chuck to his dentist. (Nothing beats a first hand recommendation from someone you trust.) Even so, my first visit with Dr. W. I spent trembling and weeping. That was sufficiently distracting to the dear fellow that he wrote me a prescription for Valium/Diazepam on the spot. Then Dr. W. had to retire for health reasons and in came Dr. D. (Oh no. Please don’t make me adjust to another new dentist!) But Dr. D. was fine - very low key and quiet. But soon the hygienist who understood my dental fears retired as well. Suddenly, we were going to a dental practice where the staff had experienced a huge turnover. It reminded us of the old joke about “This is my great-grandfather’s hammer. My grandfather replaced the handle and my father replaced the head.”!

But today, as Dr. D. finished up his careful work and explained what I should and shouldn’t do until the permanent crown was in place, I began to cry. I’m sure some of it was from the release of tension that the procedure was over. But mostly it was an overpowering sense of gratitude that Dr. D. is so good at his job. He told us that he went to dental school later than most, after making a career switch. Through my tears, I patted his knee and said how glad I was that he had changed professions. I was also rather proud of myself because this was the first time in more than a decade that I underwent anything more than a routine teeth cleaning without Valium.

That’s why, driving home, we kept focusing on how wonderful it was to have access to excellent, pain free, compassionate dental care. The fact that these folks are warm, well intentioned, human beings (and Red Sox fans) with good senses of humor makes it an embarrassment of riches.

6 comments:

dancingmorganmouse said...

Well that's a relief - I once had a dentist by the name of Dr Bubear, I chose him for his name and he did not let me down. Your Dr D sounds like a Bubear.

Pink Granite said...

Hi DMM -
We told Dr. D. about you and Mr. Brown. So I will now have to explain the Dr. Bubear comparison!
;o)
- Lee

dancingmorganmouse said...

Just tell him a Bubear is a kind of dental koala :)

Sue said...

So glad that it all went ok. Trips to the dentist are my worst and I'm also putting off making a routine appointment due to needing a new dentist after my last one (married) tried to pick me up. I'm NEVER setting foot near his office again. Jake's also due to go in for his first real check up, so may as well find someone we both like now.

Hope your new crown has settled in!!

Sue x

Pink Granite said...

Hi DMM -
Check!
;o)
- Lee

Hi Sue -
Oh my! That's right. Of course you need a new dentist after that absolute cad!!! (And "cad" is too good for him!) We need to clone our Dr. D. and send him your way.
Good luck with the search...
;o)
- Lee

barbie2be said...

i had horrid dental experiences as a child too. including one dentist that broke off a root canal needle in my tooth and LEFT IT THERE! then i found dr g. who had to give me nitrous before i would even open my mouth to him. he treated me for 20 odd years and then retired. his replacement was to me the equivalent to a 12 year old. so i hied myself away to the husband of a friend. after a year of having problems getting appointments because he was always taking time off i found my current guy on 1-800-dentist. i love him! he is walking distance to my house. and his staff are all super skilled and pain free. in fact last year i underwent root planing with only topical anethestic. love dr d!