MY Dentist Rocks (Mostly)

“The value of a good dentist is beyond comprehension.” CGB

Yesterday, I broke down and finally went to my dentist, Dr George. You might not think this would be a great topic for a Gratitude blog, but while I was in ‘the chair’, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky I was to have this service available to me.

In many countries around the world, and even in many areas in America, capable dentistry is simply not an option and oral health education is sadly lacking. The World Health Organization maintains that among 12 year olds in Saudi Arabia, there are on average, 5.9 cavities per child. Can you imagine?

5.9 cavities per 12-year-old child? Don’t get too outraged. The United States is by no means in the top 100 for lowest rates of dental cavities. Our children, on average, have 1.9 cavities per child. And this number has been increasing steadily over the past few years.

But, back to my story. When I lost half of an older filling about a month ago, I really did not want to go to the dentist. You might call me a chicken, but a more accurate title is ‘procrastinator’. It just didn’t seem too urgent. Until I began to experience a toothache. That motivated me!

After a through teeth cleaning and a new set of x-rays, my dentist put me on a round of antibiotics before fixing my tooth. Finally! I get to the heart of my tale.

As I reclined in the dentist chair, rather nervous, I began to think about this blog and all of the parts of my experience that I ‘could’ use to generate gratefulness. You might not have thought about dental work and gratefulness together, but I did as I felt the prick of the anesthetic needle, saw the drill coming towards my mouth and felt the vibrations of the repair.

As Dr. George worked in my mouth, I thought about how lucky I was to (1) have a dentist I could call and see within a couple of days, (2) have a dentist with new, clean equipment, (3) be able to trust the expertise of both the dentist and his dental assistants, and (4) know that I was not at risk of secondary infections from unsanitary conditions or untrained folks pulling my teeth or poking around in my mouth.

So, when otherwise I might have been tense and worried and wishing I was somewhere else, I relaxed, took a deep breath, focused on sending healing light to me and Dr. George, and silently chanted a gratefulness mantra. I felt the mood change as I consciously began to be grateful, rather than resistant. I kept my mind on all of the aspects of my experience that were positive and I relaxed into the present moment.

And at each present moment I was OK. I was being taken care of by a team of highly skilled, caring health professionals who were attending to my needs with total concentration. My mouth was numb to ease my pain, Dr. George’s tools were new and state of the art and his assistant was calm and peaceful, and made small talk as the work progressed. I felt my gratitude increasing as my fear lessened. Or maybe I felt my fear lessen as my gratitude increased?

Even though all of this happened without one word from me, my gratefulness practice eased the tension in the room. As I became more and more centered on how lucky I was to be able to get my tooth repaired, instead of being afraid, the others in the room also visibly relaxed. I am pretty sure they did not make note of how easily the repair progressed, nor how calm I seemed, but I made a big mental note:

Gratefulness works-for everything!

Thank you to all caring health professionals and a big ‘Thank You’ to Dr. George.


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