Modern Dentistry

As I sat in the chair in Dr. Sterling Foy’s dental office today, it occurred to me the progress made in modern dentistry is amazing.

I remember going to the dentist as a child. It was to Dr. Kraft in South Omaha. Dad usually took us, and the office was a second-floor walkup. The stairs were very steep and plentiful for little kids to hike. Upon arriving at the second floor landing, you went to the right, where all the doors had glass upper panes in them. They were back-lit in the dark hallway. We turned left and arrived at the office with the next right. We walked into the packed waiting room and looked for a seat.

Dad always gave up his seat for a lady. Dr. Kraft never used novocaine when he drilled and filled a cavity. He didn’t use x-rays either. The cavity had to be visually present for him to drill it. Sometimes he’d do it right then. In our lives, I became afraid of the pain there was while getting a cavity filled. Soon, I stopped going. I refused. I’m surprised Mom allowed that. After a few missed visits, I started going again. I went during high school and married shortly afterward. When I went to a dentist across from our apartment, it embarrassed me to have nine cavities. The new dentist used x-rays and novocaine. What a relief.

This is just my fourth dentist in my lifetime. He moved here from Oklahoma and bought the practice from my previous dentist, who went to teaching at the Creighton Dental School. Each dentist has brought newer techniques and procedures. Today, I marveled at the efficiency of the novocaine and precision of the drilling. I found something to be grateful about, even though it will be quite expensive, even with dental insurance. And I’m grateful for the retiree insurance I have. Blessings abound.

I’m grateful the worst of this tale is behind me. In a couple weeks, the permanent crown will be crafted and ready to be mounted. Thanks for checking in today, it’s pretty boring stuff. Tomorrow will be better! Have a good night.

Monday, Monday

When I was about in eighth grade, the Mamas and Papas came out with a song named “Monday, Monday.” They had a lot of splendid music, but there has been some question about the morality of some members, John Phillips specifically. There are horrid accusations from his teenaged daughter, but I’ll just let God judge that. His job, not mine.

The day started extra early. When you don’t sleep well, the time to get up always comes too early. I had an early appointment to look at my Cervical MRI, (Nothing terrible). Lots of arthritis causing pain, nothing they can/should do now. Wait and see. A good strategy during COVID flare-ups.

Then I had a dentist appointment. They have you phone from your car. They come out to give you paperwork, and your tech comes out to get you. Just a cleaning today. Do you remember anything like this?

Similar to my childhood dentist’s office. It was frightening. The drill was so loud!

This is like the dentist we had as kids. We had to walk up the longest flight of stairs in the entire world. We walked to our right, then went through an old-fashioned door with a large frosted glass window. There was a hall with similar frosted glass doors, and they lettered one with the name and credentials of the dentist. You entered the waiting room, and it was fairly full of patients. I always headed towards the Highlights magazines. The dentist nodded to my dad, and he would sit down too. The door to this room of torture was always open. You could see the patient, hear the dentist and his noisy drill, while you waited your turn. The rubbing alcohol smell was terrible, too.

He was an amiable man, and he knew my dad’s family since he was a young man. My dad always insisted on paying him the day of service, even though Dr. Kraft always told him, “If you need to wait, Tommy, that’s all right.” Dad paid for services rendered once Dr. Kraft performed them. One thing I could not bear after a while was the drilling. Without Novocaine. He did not use it until much later in his practice. It was torture. He did not x-ray, I supposed to keep the cost down, and relied on the visual sighting of cavities before he could fix the teeth. It was that way until I got married at eighteen years of age, in 1970.

After having my first child in 1971, I went to a different dentist. He x-rayed your teeth. I had a lot of cavities and embarrassment. He said not to be, because they were tiny. He always fixed them as soon as he discovered them. That was a great way, and he always used Novocaine, too. Modern dentistry. I love it. My kids didn’t grow up afraid of going to the dentist. When I was a little kid, I remember not opening my mouth, then refusing to go for a couple exams. It just hurt so badly.

I went one time, and we made friends. He always squeezed my cheeks and called me Mary. I always wondered if he was fixing my cavities or Mary’s. I never found out.

As I thank the Lord one more time for modern, painless dentistry, I thank you for reading today. I hope you have a beautiful day, it’s sunny and a little chilly, so bundle up. Be careful out there and be safe. See you back again tomorrow.