Thursday, May 18, 2006

My dentist . . . the triple-whammy

Recently, I made it back to the dentist for the first time in 2 years. Now you may think that 2 years is a long time in between dental visits. After all, isn’t that supposed to happen every 6 months or so? Actually, two years isn’t bad for me.

After I graduated from High School, I spent 4 years in college and then 10 years in youth ministry without ever going to the dentist. We didn’t have dental insurance and on a youth pastor’s salary, I could not afford it. When I became the Senior Pastor in Osceola, Indiana, dental insurance was part of my package. I went to the dentist for the first time in 14 years. It took them 2 visits and a total of 4 hours to clean my teeth (so, are you grossed out yet?). Now get this. After 14 years of no dental visits and never flossing, my dentist spent 4 hours cleaning my teeth and found no cavities. Not bad, huh? So then I go back to the dentist 6 months later thinking that this ought to be smooth sailing. After all, if 14 years in between dental visits resulted in no cavities, then 6 months in between check-ups ought to be a breeze, right? However, my dentist discovered that I had two cavities. I could only come to one conclusion . . . all that “gunk” that they cleaned off of my teeth after 14 years was actually protecting my teeth. Thanks, Mr. Dentist.

Anyway, back to my recent trip to the dentist. Understand, that I would much rather take a beating than go to the dentist. As a kid, I would get many cavities, but I hated shots so I would not allow my dentist to give me any Novocain. I would just grip the arms of the dental chair and he would drill away as tears of pain flowed down my cute little cheeks. I’m not as tough today. Today, I want double Novocain. So, as I am sitting in the dental chair I discover that I have a tooth that at the very least needs the filling replaced but very well could need to be crowned or I may lose it. Ouch!! I hate the dentist.

If that wasn’t bad enough, as I look out the window from my dental chair, all I can see is the gas price sign from the Sheetz station across the street. Isn’t it bad enough to be sitting in a dental chair to begin with without having to take in the sight of gas prices edging ever so close to $3.00 a gallon for the cheapest octane? And I’m pretty sure that the price per gallon went up at least three times while I was sitting in the chair. So now there is the dentist and the gas prices tag teaming for a double whammy!

But then came the worst part of the ordeal. The dentist finished and I went out to the reception desk to finalize this little trip to purgatory by paying my bill. Do you know how much a filling costs? Now multiply that many times over and your getting close to what it costs for a crown. This isn’t a double-whammy; this is a triple-whammy!

And if that isn’t enough, the dentist told me I needed to rinse twice a day with Listerine. He then assured me that just because Pfizer makes Listerine here in Lititz that he did not have any type of deal with them and got no kickbacks by recommending this treatment. Okay, I will believe him for now. But Pfizer also makes Viagra--if he tells me I need that to make my teeth whiter, then I am never going back to the dentist again.

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