No Reason to Fear the Dentist

August 3, 2017

Written by Art Petrosemolo

For the past several weeks I have been telling you about interesting people and places I have run into the past six months while I have been writing feature stories for the Ephrata and Lititz weekly newspapers. And as I continue to have new adventures in doing that research I’ll share with you.

However, this week I want to share with you one of my nervous anxieties, one similar to something you have had too and probably with the same subject. The Dentist.

I truly believe changing dentists is harder than thanking your primary MD…. Dentists are in-your-face, in your mouth, use power tools on your pearly whites and now-a-days, you don’t even see the dentist unless there is a problem…’s the hygienist who you know on a first-name basis.

I can almost hear you saying “Yes Art, I agree…that’s why I haven’t been to the dentist in a long time!”

Unfortunately, I am a three times a year visitor as the hygienist takes pleasure in getting plaque off my teeth and gum line…it seems to love my mouth chemistry. I grin and bare it but not without some apprehension.

When we moved here in January, finding the right dentist to replace the young, thoroughly modern, high-tech dentist we had in Red Bank, NJ was a high priority. Tina found Dr. Daniel West at Garden Spot Dental. He had good reviews and seemed to be the dentist for us.

I am sure there are lots of dentists like my friend Hector in NJ and Dr. West here in New Holland. It just takes a little research, reading reviews and asking to find the one who won’t have your blood pressure through the roof on your first visit.

OK, so you found a dentist Art….. where is this blog going?

For the past several years my NJ dentist reminded me I had a big old filling in my upper jaw that was holding a tooth together and it was going to go sooner rather than later and it would need to be replaced with a crown. I was hoping later rather than sooner but you guessed it, the tooth came apart over the weekend and I had to wait patiently from a Friday evening to Monday morning to get help.

The dental staff at Garden Spot took pity on me and got me into the office by 9:30am and a very efficient dental assistant confirmed what I already suspected. Within minutes she had photos taken and an estimate prepared for my insurance company.

She looked at me and said “When do you want to get this done….?”

“The sooner the better,” I answered.

“How about now?” she said.

I answered, “Let’s do it,” thinking better to get it done than to agonize about it for a few days.

Well, here is why I am writing about the dentist. Would you believe from the moment I sat in the dental chair and the assistant confirmed a broken tooth to leaving with a permanent crown was two-and-a-half hours? Honestly, I can’t believe it myself.

There have been some real breakthroughs in medical treatment in all disciplines but I believe dentistry is close to the top of the list.

Here is what happened by the numbers.

First, the dentist numbed the jaw (and even that doesn’t hurt anymore) and removed the filling and the part of the broken tooth preparing it for the crown.

Second, they took a number of photos and even an impression for a temporary crown.

Third, Dr. West said this crown could be done in-house with a modern, 3-D type printer. I was dumb-struck. Using a small hand-held camera instrument and software on a laptop computer, he took photos of the tooth and built the crown on the computer screen in about 10 minutes. He then spooled the file to the crown-making machine like you send an e-mail to your printer.

I sat for 15 minutes until it was done. It fit perfectly. They said the crown needs to be hardened in a kiln for about 60 minutes and if I could wait I would be finished without having the inconvenience of a temporary crown and a 7-10 day wait for a permanent crown. It was a no-brainer. I ran a 45-minute errand and came back to the office, was fitted for the permanent crown and sent on my way. There wasn’t time to send a bill. I paid my co-pay as I left the office.

So if you are struggling with the dentist, think again….dental offices look like space ships with acceleration couches surrounded by TV screens and speakers with soft music. And you even have to look hard for the high-speed drills…and oh, no spitting anymore….. it’s dry dentistry…..they keep your mouth clean and dry with the use of a small hand-held vacuum. Sweet. I always had to get myself ready for the dentist…don’t think that is the case anymore.

I smile, however, every time I walk into a dentist office and hear my dad telling me years ago when I was a kid…”Be true to your teeth son, or they’ll be false to you.” Sorry dad, I didn’t do as good a job as I should have.

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