I’ve mentioned the dentist before. I said that I once told someone to have a nice day or go to work, but I didn’t do either that day; I went to the dentist. Today, I went to the dentist again. There’s no question that hanging upside down in the dentist chair, with your head tilted back a little farther than it will go, and your mouth wide open is unpleasant. It’s especially unpleasant if you have compressed discs in your spine. I don’t like the thing that sucks all the saliva and water out of your mouth either. But shots of local anesthesia are really good if you need them. I hate it until it wears off, but I’d really hate the pain if I didn’t have it. Nitrous oxide is good too if you need it that. They even have topical anesthesia that they rub on your gums when they’re cleaning your teeth. That isn’t a good idea if, like me, you’re allergic to Benzocaine. It makes me itch, so I take a pass on that. But there are good things about going to the dentist too.
First among them is there is a dentist to go to. Can you imagine a world without effective dentistry? Especially once chewing coarse food wore down the enamel on people’s teeth, I imagine there was a time when most people had a toothache frequently, once a week at least.
I suppose one or two hundred years ago, the only thing you could really do about a bad tooth was have it pulled or pull it yourself. Even that was iffy. I don’t know when general anesthesia was invented, but I know it wasn’t typically used during the US Civil War and while penicillin was invented in the 1930’s, it didn‘t become widely available to the general public until after World War II. Technology has improved immensely, even since the 1960’s and fluoride in drinking water and in toothpaste has greatly reduced the number of cavities an average person suffers in a lifetime. Plus, most of the time, when I leave the dentist’s office and the anesthesia has worn off, whatever I went there for doesn’t hurt anymore.
I’ve been going to the same dental practice since I was in my mid-twenties. When I retire and relocate, I expect to receive a pension from them. In that time, I’ve had four dentists, including the new one who saw me today. To me, the absolutely best thing about this practice and about others I remember too is that the office is efficient. If I need to schedule an appointment, I always can. If I have an emergency, they always accommodate me. If I get there on time, they see me on time.
Did you understand what I just said? The dentists I deal with are always within a few minutes of on time. From what I understand, that isn’t unusual for dentists. If every health professional I’ve ever dealt with was as punctual as my dentists’ office is, who knows what I could have accomplished with the five years of my life I would not have wasted in doctors’ waiting rooms?