Tag Archives: dentist

Dental Blues

4 Dec

I’ve had a toothache for the last couple of weeks, and believe me, ignoring it didn’t make it go away. As a matter of fact, I had not been ignoring it, but was in and out of the hospital and just didn’t have time to get to the dentist. I was on industrial strength painkillers anyway, so I survived.

I trotted off this morning to be there at 8:00 AM, and after a short consultation the dentist and I agreed to pull the thing out. It was the very last molar on the lower right, and sat lower than the other teeth, so I didn’t even know it was there. (I’d actually told the technician it was the tooth directly in front of this one.) We had to use so much Novocain I think the fingers on my right hand are numb, too.

I grew up before Baltimore had fluoride in the municipal water system, and have had well water most of the time since then. Believe me, it shows. The dentist showed me the tooth, and above the gum line, what wasn’t cavity was filling.

A Very Patient Man

23 Jul

I read in the paper my old dentist, Drexel Johnson, has died. He treated me from the time I went back into public school, until my first born was about two years old.

Bear in mind that we are talking about the period from 1957 to 1960, while I was still under my parent’s roof. Once a week my mother would give me $10 to walk to Dr. Johnson’s office so he could work on my teeth. Back then, even  I did’t think $10 was enough, but off I’d go, my money clutched in my hand, to see what the poor man could do for me. Her instructions were, “Have him do $10 worth of work, and then stop – and don’t waste good money on x-rays!”.

He once asked me what he was supposed to do if he was in the middle of something when I ran out of money? I told him he could finish up, and next time I came in, I’d be glad to give him rest of the money, and then go read a magazine until it was time to go home.  (It would not do to get home early. ) I’m probably the only kid in the world who carried a running tab at the dentist. The man had the patience of a saint.

I had an impacted wisdom tooth, and he honestly needed to “waste good money on X-rays.” Dr. Johnson asked me to discuss this with my mother. I was no fool; I suggested “Why don’t you call her and talk to her directly.” (And for God’s sake don’t get me in the middle of this!) He went into the office and I could hear her ranting at him over the phone. I couldn’t make out what she was saying, but I got the gist of it. He came back into the treatment room shaking his head.  “Is she always…” and stopped.

“Like that?” I finished. “Yes. sir.”

A real piece of work.