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Back from the dentist!

And I’ve never had an easier two hours in a dentist’s chair!

Looking for a dentist these days, it’s hard to tell if you’re going to a doctor’s office or a spa. Aroma therapy, soothing water features….the scent of fresh-baked cookies…I mean…sheesh. They seem to be vying with one another for the best way to take the fear out of going to the dentist.

Personally, I think much of that fear is culturally induced. We’re trained by the very ads the dentists use to believe there’s something to be scared of. The only thing that scares me in a dentist is incompetence, and I’m suspicious of anyone that needs all those bells and whistles to entice patients to come to them.

I’ve had a fair amount of work pending…fillings getting old, mostly, that I really wanted to replace with composite. I’ve a real sensitivity to metals and have frequently suspected the mercury in my fillings as adding to some of my ghosty aches and pains. Not to mention that amalgam fillings just pack into the tooth whereas the composite actually adheres to the tooth, making it stronger. I figured, if I could avoid one crown from a tooth breaking, it would pay for what I wanted to do.

But I kept putting it off as an unwarranted expense.

Anyway, when I lost my crown at Shejicon, my regular dentist—one of those now offering the latest equipment and free whitening (to new customers, of course)—wouldn’t even look at it until I got in for a complete cleaning and full xrays, cuz I hadn’t been in for…I guess it had been a couple of years…and they couldn’t fit me in for a week! Sheesh! So… we looked for a more local dentist (we’d been going half an hour out past Spokane Valley)ย  and we found oneย  only a few miles away, with a review by a customer who comes clear from Seattle to go to this fellow. Sounded promising.

I now understand why someone would do that. He got me right in and cleaned up and put the crown on, without a big to-do. He cleaned my teeth himself (did a great job, thank you) and took actual xrays…no digital machine for him, yet… and he looked at those old fillings, saw some pulling away and darkening around them and recommended I think about replacing them. Hmmm…corroboration. Well…I bit the bullet and went for the whole works…three upper and three lower on one side and one on the upper on the other side. All at the same time.

I got it done today, and I’m here to tell you, if you need a dentist in Spokane, go to this guy!ย  He had a unique way of administering novocaine that was pretty much painfree and super effective. No fancy computer operated slow-drip machines. He sort of grabbed the cheek and wiggled it while he injected the stuff. It’s worn off now and there’s none of the usual soreness from distended tissue. Also, he nailed the positioning. Usually, they have to administer multiple injections to get me numb. He did one round of the entire mouth and zapped just the areas that needed zapping…but he zapped them good.

The best part was, there was no nardy-fardling around. He got in, got it done, quickly, efficiently, but without the least feeling of rushing, or unnecessary roughness.ย  As he was doing the final polish, the life was coming back to my mouth. Perfect timing.

And…he’s funny.

I’m here to report: no cookies or water features here. Just Simon Prosser, DDS, a damn fine dentist!

7 comments to Back from the dentist!

  • My first Navy ship had a dentist onboard, a few years later, I met again at another duty station. He used the grab the cheek and wiggle it while injecting the anesthetic. I’m not a big fan of the topical anesthetics they use to dull the pain of the needle in your gum.

    I’m glad the procedure went off well. I hope that the crown stays on this time. My dental insurance finally approved composite fillings, but only if they aren’t more than 2 sides. I had a 3 sided filling last year, so I ended up having to pay for it myself. My arguments went for naught. But then, that tooth was the worst one, so I can’t complain too much.

  • smartcat

    Jane-ji, I am very happy to hear that all went well. It sounds like you went through a minimum of pain and discomfort! :biggrin:

    You remind me that I need to see my dentist! She is wonderful….administers a topical numbing agent before any shots, and has hands like silk. (When her office was in a large building she was the one other dentists called in to give shots if they had a hard patient.) The really neat thing is that her hygienists are equally talented. When I had to have a crown put on she knew I was *very* apprehensive as my experience with a previous dentist had been pure agony and took three weeks for me to recover. Imagine my surprise when the office called on a follow up and I had forgotten that I had had any work done the day before! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  • I don’t mind the topical…he used that as well as that cool technique. What impressed me was there was none of this inject little bits, wait for that to take effect, then go for the main injection. He just did the whole thing, quickly, efficiently and painlessly.

    That followup call is a nice touch. I’m delightfully surprised this morning to discover there’s absolutely no residual soreness…not even in the jaw from holding it open for two hours. I’ve never had that. I always try to be accommodating and “open wide and steady”, which usually means sore muscles the next day. He had this cool little rubber brace that he stuck into my jaw that let me relax against it. Made all the difference in the world. Half the time I had to actively think where he was working in my mouth!

    I actually have a very high pain tolerance and no real fear of the dentist at all. I just resign myself to novocaine that doesn’t quite reach everywhere it needs to and just to hold steady. It’s why all the stupid “spa effects” adverts don’t impress me in the least. But I’m very impressed by a dentist who uses none of that, doesn’t even have a website, yet has several reviews online, all glowing.

    And I can’t say enough about his efficiency with the needle! As I say…even with extra poured in, I’ve always had “zingy” moments.

    It’s not that I haven’t had good dentists in the past, they’re just sooooo gentle and working so hard to be low-key and non-scary. This guy is just cheerfully matter-of-fact, I actually had a good time! Now, that’s weird! ๐Ÿ˜†

  • chondrite

    Glad to hear your expedition into dentistry went well. It gives me hope. At some point I’m probably going to have oral surgery; I’m of an age to be getting ‘long in the tooth’, as my gums are slowly receding to the point where tooth root is starting to appear. I’ve been avoiding it in the hopes that within the next few years a procedure will be developed that is essentially a paint-on covering for teeth exposed by receding gums, rather than the current, which involves grafts from elsewhere. If I’m going to have the biggest too-hot-slice-of-cheese-pizza mouth ever, I’d rather have it be because of actual pizza.

  • CJ

    How we found this guy was the internet: we searched nearby dentists, then started looking at consumer reviews. This guy had no complaints (one of the most visible advertising dentists had some grievous and credible ones) and he had two, count ’em, two rave reviews from people who would come back to him, one from 300 miles across the Cascades, and another one from Arizona. This seemed like a good indicator, and we guessed right. Jane, like Mikey, got to try it first, and now that she’s happy, probably I’ll go there for my next visit.

  • Iphinome

    I find dentists intimidating.

    The chair leans back leaving you supine, exposed rather than sitting. Fidgeting is forbidden so all you’re allowed to do is grip the sides of the chair. While you still have the freedom to look down you see a paper bib hanging from your neck to catch he splatter from what’s to come.

    First comes a voice, pleasantries, meaningless social noises followed by the command to open. There’s someone standing over you reaching into your mouth. At such close range perspective is ruined. What you see is gloves, giant hands, knuckles, oversize instruments, eyes, a mask. You focus on the ceiling but even that starts to seem surreal, there’s nothing wrong with it but ceilings don’t normally get that much attention so you start to notice things. Random darker spots on the tiles form patterns. You’re living a scene ready made for a Tim Burton movie.

    The worst part is when they throw you in a rubber room for screaming about the shifting patterns in the tile because the fear and painkillers did a number on your mind.

    I wonder if Poe and Lovecraft spent a lot of time in dentist offices.

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