Wednesday, March 02, 2005

An Afternoon In The Dentist's Office

The dreaded day arrived: My yearly visit at the dentist.

In many ways my dentist is exactly the opposite of me. She is a secular, leftist woman. In spite of our differences we get along quite well and I am a loyal patient. While my wife changes dentists about as often as she changes her socks (I'm exaggerating), I've been going to the same dentist for the last 18 years or so. She is a fantastic dentist and a very nice person.

I am such a coward! Even though I served in the army I fear going to the dentist more than I feared doing reserve duty. At least in the army you are standing up armed with a M16 and six magazines of ammunition as you patrol the border. In the dentist's chair you are lying down, unarmed and vulnerable, while the dentist is armed with a vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and various tools of torture!

The time for my appointment arrived. I walk into the office and ask her "How are you doing?"
"Thank G-d;" she answers. She may be secular but when she said "Thank G-d" I think she really meant it.

The dentist prowled around my mouth with her little mirror and the nasty hook shaped pointy tooth exploring tool. As she searched around my mouth I was dreading for the moment where she would find a hole with that hook shaped thing and cause my nerves in my teeth to send the "that hurts!" message to my brain. She looked at the fillings that she had done in the past and was quite pleased that her work was holding up so good.

"No cavities," she said.
"Praise the L-rd," I thought to myself.
"But you got a lot of plaque and stone on your teeth. You are not brushing well enough. We are going to have to do some scaling."

I was mentally prepared for that, as I figured that this would have to be done. She started work right away. I can't stand the feeling when she goes under my gums with that thing. I hate when the mixture of the blood from my gums and the water from the scalar causes me to choke when the suction tube is not in the right place at the right time. Every minute is an eternity.

For the dentist this is routine work. She talks nonchalantly with her assistant about other appointments and other patients while she is working on me. Fine, two can play that game. I'll think of something else. Let's see, what vegetables are missing from the refrigerator? Ouch! I still feel the scalar when she is cleaning under my gums.

"That's all, we're done," she says.
"Can I make out the check for the 10th of the March?", I ask. This is a well-known Israeli practice of managing the overdraft and making sure that the monthly salary will enter the account before the check is redeemed.
"Sure no problem. I am writing in my notebook to call you in a year for another appointment."
"Right. We'll meet again next year, G-d willing."

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