Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dentistry--Now and Then

Yesterday, I was on the wrong side of my dentist's office and had the opportunity to experience modern dentistry. 

My dentist's office is divided: periodic cleanings and care on one side with the other dedicated to surgery and reconstruction. I realized that I prefer to be on the cleaning side and not the repair side. But, alas, yesterday was devoted to some dental surgery. 

I hate having people probing around in my mouth. Let me just get that out right up front. 

I would not go for routine cleanings and care, if I thought I could get away with it--and in fact I think I went three years without going in for cleanings. I was lucky that I didn't develop any huge problems as a result of that hiatus. But, I have been back on the twice a year schedule for a couple of years now. 

As I was sitting in the chair bantering with the dentist and the assistant yesterday, I was reminded of how far dentistry has come during my lifetime. 

I remembered one vivid, traumatic experience when I was in the dentist chair and the dentist was giving me shots to numb my mouth before filling a cavity. It hurt! A lot! I was in high school and was a football player then. I remember grabbing the dentists arm as he came at my mouth for the fifth very painful numbing shot and asking if this was really necessary. He was shocked, but affirmed that it was necessary. In reflecting, it felt like I was living the scene from the movie "Little Shop of Horrors." The dentist was playing the part of the sadist perfectly, but I was not playing the part of the masochist very well at all.

Roll forward to yesterday. No pain. I was numbed to receive the numbing shots. The surgery went without pain or discomfort. Yes, I was rigidly nervous expecting a tinge of pain--but thankfully, none came. Three hours later, the numbness was gone and so far there has not been any pain.

Yay for painless dentistry.

No, I still do not want to visit the surgery side of the dentist's office ever again. 

But, my fears have been eased a bit. I still hate shots--especially in the mouth!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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