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Some Things Have Changed For The Better

By Staff | Apr 1, 2009

One of the things I have most feared in life was going to the dentist.

As a child I lived in horror of getting a toothache. I knew what would follow.

Young people today have no idea of the pain we endured when going to the dentist. In those days, it seemed to me as a child, my dentist was surely in business to hurt kids. If not, then he certainly achieved an unknown goal.

We didn’t go to the dentist except when it had become an emergency. Of course, living in the small town of Wallace, our dentist was in Clarksburg. Only on times of going to the dentist each mile between those two towns caused more anxiety.

I don’t recall my first trip to the dentist. I probably have that so deeply into my subconscious that it will never be remembered. That man’s face is still vivid in my mind. Maybe he was not as horrid looking when I was not in his dental chair. That is not all that is vivid in my mind either.

In those days, nothing was given for pain before he started that horrid task. And nothing was given afterwards either. I can recall his office even appeared dark, kinda like a horror chamber. At least as a child, I felt that way.

Strange, but I don’t remember him taking films of my teeth. Maybe it was that I was so scared I didn’t see that action. Of course, with your eyes sealed shut, it would have been difficult to see. The dental chair was so big it almost swallowed you. But, perhaps I was just hoping it would swallow me. The sounds were almost as bad as the pain. You just knew there had to be a jack hammer in your mouth.

I think he may have given an injection if he was going to pull a tooth. But, again, my eyes we never open. I do know he had no assistant; he did all the work.

Had he had a female assistant, she would have given a bit of kindness to a scared kid.

Even as an adult, I feared going to dentists. I know I have left my teeth marks on thumbs from New York City across to the midwest. I hated that noise too. I thought dentists had a vocabulary of their own. You know, those strange sounds, like hum, ahhhhh, as they were looking in your mouth. Of course your mouth was full of cotton, or something to keep it full, so you could not respond.

Several years ago I had 11 root canals done, with caps and crowns. Many of the nerves had erupted, and I had become a witch until the dentist released the pressure on the nerve. My family had the misfortune of having bad teeth. My brother, Glenn, was the only one with good teeth. As fate would have it, in the eighth grade he got hit in the mouth with a baseball in ball practice. That event knocked out all his upper teeth and shattered his jawbone. It caused hours of dental surgery.

About four years ago, a bridge, which had been put in my mouth decided to break.

That was during the time period I was often going to New York City to be with my son, Craig. I only went when I got a call he was worse and needed to be on my way quickly.

Without the bridge, there was a huge gap in my teeth. I knew I could not wear a ski mask to New York City, or I would have been suspect of being a terrorist.

I had seen the sign “Affordable Dentures” many times. I called their 800 number and explained my situation. I was referred to St. Clairsville.

Having no idea what this would be, again the fear entered my heart.

The kind man explained it would be no problem to get me fixed up in one day.

With my history of dentists, I found this hard to believe. His kindness, how gentle he was, and how special each of others working in his clinic was.

Then came the bad news. Several teeth had to be removed. The clinic made the arrangements for the surgeon to remove them. Again, that horrid fear raised its ugly head.

The work was started immediately.

I knew that another one of my least favorite things would have to happen also. That bad time of taking impressions in your mouth. In my former experiences, you had to lie back in the chair, while that more than a mouthful of “stuff” was put in your mouth. You just knew you would gag to death.

What a pleasant surprise was in store. I was left up in the chair, and that “stuff” did not gag me, and it was over in just a few minutes.

When the teeth had been removed, a temporary bridge was put right in. I did have to wait a few hours, but I knew at least the ski mask would not be an option.

During all this maneuvering in and out of my mouth I felt no pain. I had been given injections to take care of that.

That afternoon when I left the area, I had new teeth in my mouth.

I went back the next morning to have the rough spots taken care of. For the first time in my life, I did not fear going to the dentist.

Doctor Mike McClure has done all of my dental work. But, he has taken all the fear out of going to a dentist.

When I told him of my plights of going to dentists in days gone by, he knew exactly what I was talking about. He could relate to all my horror comments.

Going to his clinic now is like going to a tea party with friends. That entire staff has become almost like family. And I do mean, good family members. I have no fear at all.

The changes that have come about in dentistry have totally removed that fear.

Of course, Dr. Mike’s attitude is so pleasant, and kind, how could anyone fear going to him? Perhaps other dentists have changed also, but trust me, I would hate to have to find out.