June 8, 2000

Bridging the Gap

(Pun Intended, as Always)

The main event of my day today was a dental cleaning.
I don't mean to say my day was boring (it was about average, as my days go) but that something happened that made it memorable: I allowed the dentist to repair a small cavity WITHOUT FREEZING!

Of course this has to be put in context. When I started visiting dental offices (in the 1950's) they were perceived by my generation as chambers of horrors. There was none of this, "put your finger on Mr. Toothbrush, feel how he shakes, he's going to tickle your teeth now, isn't this FUN! and by the way what flavour fluoride would you like?" It was, strap the kid down in the chair (well not literally but that's how it felt), put in your earplugs and get to work.

I went through a period when I had zillions of cavities (I must not have been a Crest Girl) and for some reason the dentists I was taken to were reluctant to use freezing. Maybe my mother warned them about my allergies or maybe they were just sadists, I don't know. I will always remember one of them trying to explain to my mother why I was screeching by saying, "It doesn't hurt, she just feels it." I should have bitten his finger.

After awhile I found a dentist I could tolerate and went regularly, albeit living in dread for the week or two before each appointment. After I married I switched to Hubby's dentist, who has a modern office and dental hygienists who clean teeth quite thoroughly, using what I call the "Chinese water torture" procedure. This involves an apparatus that appears to force out cold water at high pressure which causes stains and tartar (but hopefully not your teeth) to disappear in a jiffy. It really doesn't hurt.. it just always feels as if it's about to.

As the years went by and I gave birth a couple of times, the dentist visits seemed less formidable. I even began to relax and enjoy the quiet time when no demands were made upon me. Cavities were few and far between but I always refused to even sit down until he would promise to freeze me.

I don't know why today was different. I asked if it needed freezing; he said no. I asked if he could absolutely positively guarantee it wouldn't hurt; he said yes. I nagged a couple more times and then the drill was in my mouth. For about five seconds. And it did NOT hurt.

Then he put something on the tooth, told me not to close my mouth 'cause it would taste awful, put something else in, and the assistant stuck this THING in my mouth which was whirring and beeping and slightly warm. That turned out to be a blue light of 1200 watts, which sets the filling material. This was repeated two or three times and that was it. Out, done.

I was really proud of myself!

OK we have the Toronto moose, the Chicago "Cows on Parade" (which was inspired by a similar exhibit the previous year in Zurich, Switzerland!), Johnny Kaw somewhere in Kansas, and the Giant Puppy in Rockefeller Center, New York. I feel a project coming on..

If anybody knows of a similar urban monstrosity please let me know. Web links with photos preferred but I'll take anything as long as its orientation is to boost tourism, morale, commerce in general; and/or to be appreciated as "art"; NOT just to make money as an attraction on its own. If I can accumulate enough of them maybe I'll make a theme page or something. Naturally, credits and links to the people apprising me of the exhibits.

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