This Ain’t Your Father’s Dentist

I lost a crown the other day while trying to chew up a Tootsie Roll.  I should have known better than to try gnawing through the putty-like candy but, before I knew it, my tooth was embedded in the chocolate goo.  I don’t know if I was more upset about losing my tooth or having to spit out a perfectly good Tootsie Roll. How many chews does it take to get to the center of your gums? I guess about three.

My list of things to do was now to throw away all remaining Tootsie Rolls and find a dentist. It has been an unwelcomed part of our traveling adventure trying to locate doctors, dentists and truck mechanics while on the road. The fear of the unknown is just that – fear. Fear of mechanics finding that your “Master Cam Separating Springs” need to be replaced, fear of doctors who couldn’t read a thermometer – let alone diagnose a serious illness, and now – fear of trying to find a dentist that doesn’t use a pipe wrench and wire brush. So, I said a prayer and hit “Google Search”.

Cambridge does not have a plethora of dentists (which may be a good thing) and I made my choice and called for an appointment. Fortunately, the “Family” dentistry practice accepted my dental insurance and could see me the very next day.  It turned out to be quite an experience.

Upon arriving at the office, I approached the main desk to sign in and was greeted by an enthusiastic, young woman who welcomed me to their office. She walked out from her glassed in reception area to greet me in person. Wow! I’ve never had this kind of welcome before.  After shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries, she proceeded to take me on a tour of their facility – showing me the various rooms where they cleaned your teeth, pulled your teeth, x-rayed your teeth, replaced your teeth, whitened your teeth and even provided Botox services.  I was expecting them to say I could even get a hair transplant and sex change while they cleaned my teeth.  Dentistry has come a long way, baby.  My tour guide then invited me into a room where she took all my information.  A large monitor hung on the wall next to me allowing me to watch as information was shared and entered into their computer.  She then handed me a gift bag and guided me back to the waiting room.  On our way – she stopped to show me a new outdoor gas grill sitting in their hallway and she explained that it was to be given away to a lucky patient in July.  We shook hands again and she told me to relax with a magazine while I waited.  I was a little disappointed that a spa treatment was not offered.

I had just opened my “Woman’s World” magazine ( seemingly the only magazine in any doctor or dentist office I have ever been in) when my name was called and a different lady met me with another firm handshake and asked me to follow her to the exam room.  I was asked to sit in the skinny dentist chair as she began asking me questions about why I was there that day.  Along with asking about my Tootsie roll crisis, she wanted to know what was important to me in regard to my treatment.  In all my fifty-five years on earth I never remember being asked by anyone in the medical field what was important to me as far as treatment and care.  Somebody pinch me! Is this really happening?  She asked if pain control was important?  Hmm, let me think about that a moment.  “Yes!”  What about low-cost treatment options? Again, I had to think for a minute. Do I want my treatment to be less costly? “Well – Yell Hess!”  There were other questions asked but the first two stunned me so much that I don’t remember much after that.

Next it was time for dental x-rays and photos.  Another large monitor on the wall displayed my broken back teeth.  It was the first time I had really seen inside my mouth in living color and I then understood why dentistry is so expensive.  The human mouth is a disgusting place.  Maybe they should have shown me the pictures before they asked me how much I was willing to spend.

Finally, the dentist arrived and took a look inside.  By my estimation it took him about forty seconds to determine I need two extractions, one crown, two bridges and a partridge in a pear tree.  I decided that pulling just one problem tooth was best for now since we will be home in two weeks.  The hygienist then spoke into her headset (you heard that correct – a hands-free communications system was used by all the staff) and told someone, somewhere on the other end that “Mr. McFarland was ready.” I followed her to another room and met the business/scheduling person.  My appointment was scheduled, payment collected and  I was then thanked for coming in – escorted back to the waiting room and exited to the parking lot.

Cambridge, Ohio has about thirty thousand people living here.  I would never have expected the red carpet treatment I received from this unknown dentist and his staff.  Perhaps much of what they did was a little over the top. But, not really.  I liked their questions, their kindness, their welcoming of me to their business.  I liked them – period.  And if I resided permanently here I would return as a patient and gladly refer others to them. I don’t know how my treatment will go later this week, but I have complete confidence in these people. If it was their intention that the tour, questions, inter-office communication system, dental photos, large screen monitors and gift bag would impress me enough to return and maybe even refer others to their office – it worked.  I was very impressed.

And besides  – I could probably use a new gas grill.  But, after seeing my teeth in those colored photos – I may need to trade it in for a nice blender.

Smile!  Love Steve and Lisa!

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