Monday, December 05, 2016

then and now

Until I was 15 all my dental work was done by a dentist who did not believe in Novocaine.  I bore it bravely because my mother would let me buy a book if I were good.

They were part of the Landmark Series which wrote about the Tudors, WWII, and all sorts of interesting subjects. With that as a reward I wouldn't have uttered a baby moan no matter how much it hurt.

However, when I told her I was uncomfortable with the dentist because when he dried his hands he did it on the napkin over my breasts.

He must have been desperate because breasts were almost nonexistent.We changed dentists. As much of a protective mother that she was, she never approached the dentist. Agony was over. I was allowed to buy a book.

With one exception all my dental work has been pain free.

One in Switzerland made me go thru 12 appointments for a root canal. I was new in the country and stupidly assumed that the treatment methods were different. When I finally sought out another dentist I learned that the one who thought a root canal procedure should be eternal was known in the community for being a bad dentist.

Then there was the wonderful Scottish dentist who saved my wobbly teeth. For all the appointments we had from then until his retirement, he told jokes as he worked on me, pain-free. He would always say how surprised he was that his treatment to save my teeth worked. He had warned me at the time, he wasn't sure, but it was worth the effort.

He also did it one miserable sitting (he told me I would hate him, but I didn't, don't, won't). Because I need antibiotics because of rheumatic fever as a child, the dentist thought repeated doses would not be as good as one mega one.

In Switzerland I seek out North American trained hygienists. Cleaning is a relatively new procedure and for years foreign dental hygienists were almost guaranteed work. The newly trained Swiss ones are okay but not as good.

My new dentist who took over from the Scot, is young bilingual, and caring. I had a small cavity.

What a surprise when I looked at his ceiling. It was a screen with whales, seals, penguins and birds playing in the sea.

"It helps with my troublesome kids," he told me.

It helped me. I was almost sorry when he finished. 

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