Wednesday, March 27, 2019


I am scheduled to go to the dentist today.

My current dentist is very, very good. He is fast, efficient and a charming fellow.

His staff is courteous and pleasant.

I still do not like going to the dentist.

Growing up, the family dentist was a drunk. Harsh words, but that is what the evidence suggests.

He took twenty minute breaks in the middle of drilling fillings "for the drill to cool off." He came back smelling of cigarette smoke and "after shave". And his hands did not shake.

He once put in a filling and took so long he had to give me a second shot of Novocain.

There was never another patient in his waiting room and he was the cheapest dentist in town.

Our family had the worst teeth in the world. I suspect that the number of cavities he found had something to do with the number of bills he had to pay in the next week.

"Yup, mama ERJ, your little son has seven cavities."

It was our little secret that each of my teeth did not have four filling apiece. I was happy to flee after getting drilled once because he did not reliably hit my teeth. I am probably one of the few people with multiple filling in my gums. Not below them.

We see things differently as a kid. I had no radar regarding the possibility of substance abuse.

The first time I had a cavity I had to lend him a dime to grind up for a filling. He said he was out of silver. I thought it was cool.

The last time I did it I wondered how much money I had given him over my lifetime as his patient.

As I approach the age of sixty, the chickens are coming home to roost.

The first time I went to my current dentist he said, "Dang! Those are some huge fillings! Stephanie, come over here. You gotta see this."

Big fillings means that much of the tooth's structure has been cut away or compromised.

Now that I can access my IRA without punitive penalties I can have some crowns over those teeth before they split down to the roots.


  1. The way we view dentistry today versus 40-50 years ago has changed drastically. Much more proactive care versus reactionary care. Less time spent on fillings and more time on cosmetic work. Better awareness of daily care and probably better products to maintain your teeth. More focus on jaw/bite alignment.

    When I was a kid, my front lower teeth were not coming in straight and my parents couldn't afford braces. Just remove one of those front teeth and they will grow together, which they sort of did eventually.


    The Root of Misaligned Jaws article. Great reading.
    It is from this Mar April 2019 issue.

    Dental fillings could last twice as long

  3. I know what you mean about old time dentists. I have ten years but that shouldn't make much difference. My dentist was sober but he kept slurping saliva between his teeth while he worked. Mainly he didn't believe in novocain for fillings! He said his new water cooled drill made it unnecessary. So my big fillings come from the fifteen years I didn't go to the dentist after I left home.


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