Open Wide, Please

I stopped making New Year’s resolutions because I never kept them. You know what I mean, don’t you? “I’m going to lose weight so that I can get back into the clothes I’ve outgrown . . . I’m going to exercise as my doctor recommends . . . I’m always going to know my checking account balance . . . I’m going to take books back to the library promptly so that I don’t have to pay fines . . . I’m going to brush my teeth more . . .“
The operative words in my resolutions were “I’m going to.” I never actually did what I said I would do. For example, I promised myself to reform every time I had my teeth cleaned. Scrape, scrape, scrape . . . Probe, probe, probe . . . Scrape, scrape, scrape . . . . boring, boring, boring . . . I missed last winter’s session with the dental hygienist and paid for it by enduring an hour-long session this summer after which my dentist, Dr. Maddigan, informed me that I had some small cavities. Eek!
I started keeping my resolution to brush thoroughly, to floss regularly, and not miss any more cleaning appointments. I have become almost obsessive about taking care of my teeth because I can’t stand the thought of having them pulled and wearing dentures!
Dental care has changed greatly since I was a girl. Rather than the deep cleaning of today, our dentist basically just polished one’s teeth. Many people didn’t go to the dentist unless they were in pain, and it wasn’t unusual for people, including my parents, to go through the process of having their teeth pulled and then dealing with false teeth. Watching them convinced me that I’d do just about anything to keep these little pearls!
I was fortunate not to have a cavity until I was 26. I went to Bill’s excellent dentist in Beech Grove whom I shall call “Dr. B.” Dr. B was a chatter: “How ‘ya doin’, Rose?” Drill, drill, drill . . . “What do you think about . . . ?“ Drill, drill, drill . . . “Mmf . . . uh-huh . . . unh-unh . . .” I’d mumble since it was impossible to answer him. Never mind, he had an answer for everything, anyway.
One time I flummoxed him good. The back of my mouth became very sore behind one of my upper molars. I stuck a finger back there, and it felt as if a little tooth aimed at the back of my head was protruding above the molar . I went to Dr. B. “I’ve cutting a tooth that points toward the back of my head.” He stuck his mirror in, but saw nothing as I have a small mouth.     “Naw!” “Stick your finger back there, Doc.” “Ohmygod! I do apologize. You have a supernumerary tooth that an oral surgeon will remove.” The little tooth was about the size of a baby tooth.
I credit Dr. B. with saving me from dentures. I left him one time to go to a dentist whose office I could walk to. My teeth were growing loose, and that dentist sent me to another dentist who said that I should have all of my upper teeth pulled. Bill said, “Go see Dr. B.” Dr. B. examined my teeth and said, you stay here while I go in another room and call Dr. X.” I could hear him screaming at “Dr. X.” “My own teeth are as loose as hers, and I plan to keep them till I die!” I still have those teeth!
I have been blessed with two fine, likeable dentists. Dr. B. suddenly retired, and Dr. Daniel Maddigan took over the practice. His personality is very different from that of Dr. B. He is a quiet, serene and soft-spoken man who speaks only as necessary. However, he was very interesting and informative when I interviewed him. More to come.