Just Stuff      A6  July 6, 2003     The Wasatch Wave          by Jan

   I’ve never been overly fond of the dentist. Wait. That isn’t true. I have an excellent dentist I’ve been going to for years, of whom I am very fond. It’s going to the dental work, the tools, the drills, the “little pinches”, that I don’t like. Call me a wuss, a wimp, a panty waist, but I don’t like pain. And, for some reason, I equate “dentist” with pain. Consequently, when my dentist, Dr. Spangler was drilling and filling a cavity in the back of my mouth (molar #2- top, right at the very back) and said “Oooo! This doesn’t look good,” I wasn’t thrilled.  

 I experienced my first “crowning” glory just a few years ago. With the fruity-tuity topical applied with a cotton swab and the Novocain injections, it wasn’t too bad…not a walk in the park, but not as bad as I thought it was going to be. But my dentist’s recent”Oooo,” and his poking and probing that followed were more than a “you need a cap” sound.

“Hmmm. Looks like we need a root canal,” he said as he snapped off his latex gloves. Somehow I knew I was the singular “we” he was talking about. “I know an excellent endodontist just up the street who does great work.” Ouch! “Root canal” was a mouthful that didn’t sound good, and in the next mouthful, my trusted dentist, in whom I had the utmost confidence and faith, said he wasn’t going to be digging the canal in my mouth. The combination scared me more than, well, going to the dentist. As Dr. Spangler assured me everything would be fine, memories of people making comments like”Boy, that sounds about as much fun as a root canal” raced through my mind.

Between the time I received the news about needing a root canal and my scheduled appointment with the “excellent endodontist up the street,” I heard two kinds of stories about root canals, the majority of which were not pleasant. My assistant tole me about a former boss who was flat on his back for two days after having a root canal. One of the secretaries warned me about the swelling and bruising. I heard several horror stories. Someone commented that they’d heard “They aren’t that bad.” But he was glad he’d never had to go through that kind of pain.

A dear friend had had a root canal just a week or so before and she said it went just fine. Not bad at all. And it had been performed by Dr. Flath, the “excellent endodontist up the street.” While such a comment from a trusted friend would normally be comforting, unfortunately the wimp in me came out and I was far from looking forward to meeting the good doctor. Unfortunately, I had all kinds of terrible thoughts racing through my mind. I already had the pain pegged at 11 on a 10 point scale.

I filled out the requisite paperwork, paid the piper and watched and waited. Mr. Smith was called back. His wife, Lorraine, was ready. She’d be woozy for a bit, but she had come through with flying colors. Mrs. Johnson was called back. Her husband was finished and she could help him out to the car.

Another gentleman was called back. His wife was ready to go too. All these patients had people to help them to their cars and give them rides home. I was on my own.  Would I be able to find the car? Would I be able to drive? The thought of not being able to drive home had never crossed my mind. This was not looking good.

“Umm, should I have arranged for someone to drive me home?” I nervously asked as they settled me into the procedure chair.” Do I need to call my husband?” “Oh no,” they siad. “They all needed to be sedated.” I immediately thought And you think I won’t?

My worries were unfounded. The staff was very kind and caring; the office was very comfortable and cozy, and my root canal wasn’t bad at all. Seriously. Even the injections for the Novocain weren’t bad. Dr. Flath did a tremendous job. And he called me later that evening to see how I was doing. The numbness had worn off and I was a little tender, but it wasn’t even bad enough to try and play for sympathy from my husband. I discovered that a root canal performed by an excellent endodontist is something worth sinking your teeth into!

Thanks, Dr. Flath, and thanks Dr. Spangler for recommending him. You both have my vote of confidence, which says a lot, because, after all, you are dentists!