Courage at Twilight: Visit to the Dentist

Mom and Dad drove themselves to the dentist office for their annual checkups and cleanings. They came home happy to report that they had no cavities or other problems.  Dad’s first visit to the dentist was at age 15, circa 1951, by which time several teeth were in bad shape.  His mother sent him to the dentist with a $5 bill, which the dentist took, along with four teeth.  “Going to the dentist was a luxury,” he explained, a luxury his single mother, emptying waste baskets at night in the Kearns Building downtown Salt Lake City, could not afford.  More than a decade later, when he had a job and dental insurance, “Doc” Nicholas made bridges to fill the gaps—implants weren’t a thing.  Mom took her first trip to the dentist at age seven, by which time she had several large cavities to be filled.  She remembers the agony of the dentist grinding for what seemed forever with a slow rotary tool, and no Novocain.  She had to just sit there, a prisoner in the chair, and suffer through it—what was the alternative?  Thereafter, Mom was taken to dear Uncle Harvey, a new dentist who always smiled and laughed and made you feel good about life.  Today, Mom and Dad came home cavity-free and in good spirits.  Mom reported how kind the hygienist staff were on this visit.  “Sometimes they just jab you, and it hurts, but my hygienist today was so nice and gentle.”  Next month it is my turn to see the dreaded dentist.  I wish “Doc” were still around.


(Image from Pinterest.  Used pursuant to the Fair Use doctrine.)

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