Six Dental Thought Problems: A Writer Wednesday Post

Apple & Bread drawing and all text © Irene O’Garden, 2012

I made this charcoal drawing a few weeks ago while taking a classical drawing class at the Garrison Art Center. Without Cyril, the subject of the following post, I would be able to eat only the bread.


1. Over several months in a prolonged bridge procedure, I learn the meaning of the word patient. Is there another role named for a virtue essential to it?

2. If my dentist were also a government, would I still think I should feel no pain? Would I insist on more novocaine, more gas? If teeth must be pulled, is there any way not to feel it? Not to miss the missing tooth?

3. Could I ever go without a visible tooth, as solidarity with those for whom dentistry is luxury?

4. Though no fault of my dentist, things have gone wrong with my bridge. Lab problems: color, fit.  A silver sliver of unporcelained metal. Gums so healthy they make his job difficult. My utmost patience has been required. Is there any useful alternative during reconstruction?

5. My dentist tells me about fixing broken banisters on his girlfriend’s deck. “It’s really just a great big mouth. But I can take a hammer to it if it doesn’t work, and there’s no ‘Excuse me, Mr. Wood.’” Has he had to be as patient as I have?

6. My dentist is an artist, sculpting tiny curves and planes no one but he and his assistant will ever see. Yet I feel his sculptures every day. He sculpts for feeling: the feeling of jaw and tongue, the natural bite, the blessed humble comfort of nothing out of place, though so much has disappeared and so much is newly fabricated. Who honors this artist? Who hands him prizes at what ceremonies? And can such care be taken by a group?


Any further questions? Any answers?

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