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The Jesus Dentist

 

 

"Open wide..." - Day 60, year 2When I was very young, I had a pretty strong phobia of needles. So you can imagine how I’d react when the dentist would come at me with the big Novocain syringe. Not a pretty sight.

It wouldn’t matter how long he’d gas me up with Nitrous, I would kick and scream and cry like a man with a head-cold whenever that needle came anywhere near my face.

My childhood dentist was not a patient man. He’d just shrug, put the needle aside, instruct the hygienist to hold me down and go about drilling and filling my not-numb-at-all teeth. And it hurt. A lot.

After a few out-patient surgical procedures wherein they dose you up with whatever delicious IV sedative there is, along with a few blood drive donations, I no longer have a fear of needles.

I do, however, have a terrific fear of dentists.

So you can imagine my displeasure when, last week, I woke up in the middle of the night with a roaring toothache. “It’ll be better in the morning.” I lied to my poor, frightened self. “You’ve made it this long without those devil’s minions they call ‘dentists,’ you’ll be fine.”

Of course, it wasn’t fine in the morning. It was much, much worse. Crap.

I’d heard rumors there were these newfangled dentists out there who called themselves “gentle,” and that these “gentle dentists” were willing to knock you out just to clean your teeth. Now this was an approach to dental hygiene I could get behind.

A quick Google search proved that there were quite a few self-proclaimed gentle dentists and one was only a few miles from my house. According to the search results, he was The Gentle Dentist, himself!

I called to make an appointment, hoping beyond hope they’d be booked for the next month but willing to keep me in pain killers until I could be seen. When the kind receptionist informed me they could see me in AN HOUR, well I kinda fell apart.

Blaming every god and goddess I’d ever known for my incredible misfortune, I prepared myself for the visit by dusting off my bottle of Ativan and saying a few prayers to the very deities I’d just cursed. Seemed reasonable at the time.

When I arrived, ashen with sweaty palms, I signed in and sat down in the waiting room. I told myself to just calm down and looked around for something to read.

That’s when I realized what I’d done.

Everywhere I looked there were well-worn Bibles and pictures of doves with olive branches in their beaks. The loud-speakers sang the songs of Christian rock.

Oh my god, what was this?! Me, a witch. Him, a Jesus dentist.

I’d been duped!

Paranoia swept over me and visions of burning stakes and dungeons filled with torture devices flashed before me even as I could hear the horrific screeching of drilling teeth down the hallway.

I could run. I could just get the fuck up and leave.

“Jennifer, the doctor will see you now.”

Crap.

I thought about saying something like “Praise the Lord!” or “Bless you.” or just picking up one of the Bibles and asking if I could hold onto it for strength. But even my disingenuousness has its limits.

So I walked down the Green Mile to the exam room where the very sweet hygienist took digital X-rays of my teeth. She explained that, even though it was less profitable, the doctor insisted they use digital to reduce the amount of environmentally-unsound materials.

Then the receptionist came in and asked me to sign an estimate of the day’s services. She held out a laptop with a touch screen which displayed the forms online and handed me an inkless, plastic pen like the kind you use when you pay at the supermarket. “We’re a one-hundred percent paperless office.” She informed cheerily.

As I sat waiting to meet my fate with The Jesus Dentist, I noticed a sign on the wall that read, “It would be an honor to pray for you. Just ask.”

The allure of the offer could not be denied considering my present circumstance.

Finally, He came in. The Jesus Dentist himself. I shook his hand and he was polite enough not to wipe his coat with the sweat I’d transferred in the greeting. I was shaking and cold and just wanted to go home.

But there was the small matter of my throbbing face.

He didn’t look at the X-rays. He didn’t reach for any instruments. He didn’t scold me or lecture me or do any of the things I was familiar with at the dentist’s.

Instead, he sat and talked to me. For like, half an hour. He asked me about my past experience with dentists and listened with compassion. “You were tortured. That was torture.” He spoke with sincere regret.

The Jesus Dentist explained that he would do everything he could to regain my trust in his chosen field. We would go as slowly as I wanted and he would not do anything without my expressed consent. He would knock me out if that’s what I wanted, or I could get a relaxing paraffin hand wax while he worked on me (seriously). They had virtual-reality glasses with which I could watch a movie of my choosing or state-of-the-art headphones with soothing music to drown out the sounds.

He told me their office does not use mercury fillings, stating again that it is harmful to the environment. But we both knew what the real dangers were. (In case you didn’t know, dentists have been known to lose their licenses for speaking out against the health issues of mercury fillings. Look it up.)

When it was time to leave, I asked to use the bathroom. I was taken down a long hall lined with pictures of children in Haiti. The Jesus Dentist spends time there, apparently, volunteering to help the poorest of our world. I also noticed a poster explaining their “Gentle Dental Plan” for the uninsured. (Seriously.)

I left there in much less pain and hopeful that I’d finally found a dentist I could trust.

But I also left there with a sense of shame in how I had originally judged my overtly Christian surroundings. I suppose it’s to be expected, and I didn’t beat myself up about it, but sometimes a Jesus Dentist TRULY is a Jesus Dentist. And thank the gods and goddesses for that!

This man gets it and he serves as an example to us all. His kindness, compassion, generosity and willingness to put the greater good above his own profits is unmatched in my small sphere of experience.

So if you’re in the Shelby Township area of Michigan and want to find a totally kick-ass dentist, I know where to send you. Just ask. Better yet, go ‘like’ his page and tell him I sent you.

Have you ever been too quick to judge? How can we get better at throwing away old information and processing what is actually happening now, in this moment, even when we’re scared shitless? Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Photo by  Matthew

34 comments
Dental Assistant Resume
Dental Assistant Resume

Nice post. Actually fear grows by our relatives when we hear their painful story of dental works. But, today's technology is far away from old hand tools.

             dental bracket
dental bracket

Nice article..Now days dental technologies have emerged so much that you can undergo any of the treatment of the problem. From just little filling upto laser treatment everything is available.

subhas13q
subhas13q

I suppose it’s to be expected, and I didn’t beat myself up about it, but sometimes a Jesus Dentist TRULY is a Jesus Dentist.

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vinyl polysiloxane

Wow, Great information, Now a days the dental material are in huge amount we can't even imagine that the big problems are so much easily removed, I am glad to read this perfect dentist blog.

courtcan
courtcan

Jenny, as a follower of Jesus, I find your story intensely moving and refreshing. Seems like nine times out of ten, when I hear a non-Christian relate experiences they've had with people who claim to follow Jesus, those experiences are negative and leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth -- not against the person telling the story, but against the alleged "Christian" who has apparently acted in every way except Christ-like.

 

Don't get me wrong -- I am far from perfect and screw up those Christ-like principles myself all the time. But I do hope that as I make it a point to live intentionally, I am also growing in wisdom so that I can recognize and be honest with myself (and with others!) about the times my own flaws get in the way of brightening the corner of the world where I am. For me, life with Christ is a wonderful, humbling, transformational, and empowering adventure, and I hope I can learn to reflect that *always*.

 

Anyway, thank you so much for sharing this, dear. It gives me hope. : )

saraho
saraho

Wow! What a story! As a recovering CAtholic (survivor of their school system) and daughter of a now-Born-Again-Christian, I'm also often quick to judge. And then it's so refreshing to come across Christians who actually practice what their namesake preached! Sounds like you found a Winner there. What a gift you drew into your life! Just goes to show it's not the trappings, the 'religion', or whatever. It's the human beings themselves and how they live their lives. Sounds like this Jesus dentist really gets it! Wish he could give a few lessons to our supposedly "Christian" lawmakers!

 

I'm with Carol - you, my friend, are one stellar storyteller!

 

Hope those teeth are feeling better!

florabrown
florabrown

Jenny B,

 

What a well-told and entertaining account of your courageous visit to the dentist. I've been fortunate to have had pleasant encounters with dentists over the years, but that doesn't mean I go skipping into their offices with glee.  I figured that I would lessen the likelihood of having dental emergencies by keeping up with checkups, cleanings and whatever the dentists recommended.

 

My current dentist LOVES dentistry so much that I have to laugh at her when she says "I don't know why people hate coming to the dentist. I just love dentistry!" I explained to her that most folks have great fear because of real or imagined bad experiences. Because she, too, is a gentle dentist, she's very sensitive to how the patient is feeling throughout the whole procedure.

 

On the other hand, however, my oldest daughter and I were lamenting the fact that dentistry doesn't seem to have made much progress over the decades in some areas. The scariest parts about being in that chair are the sound of the drill right in your ear, the smell of gook they are removing, that cold water and the impending gag when they have your mouth open forever. It's always so cold in those offices too. Anything short of putting you completely unconscious leaves your imagination rampant about possibility of  pain.

 

I'm so happy that you found a truly gentle dentist. Kudos to you for giving him a chance even though you had trepidations about him being a Jesus dentist.  Although I sign off my emails with " Blessings,"  I'm actually spiritual rather than religious, especially  with a capital "C," and have misgivings about folks who feel the need to identify themselves as Christian, such as Christian Singles, or Christian electrician, etc.

 

I very definitely have been too quick to judge. The only way to get rid of those misgivings is to do exactly what you did, especially when you're in pain and scared shitless. Use your best judgement based on the info at hand and using whatever gives you comfort (prayer, meditation, referral, mantras, affirmations, deep breathing, etc.) and without beating upon yourself for being scared, move forward as bravely as possible.

 

Then once you're through the ordeal, share your experiences with others (as you've done.) It helps  you and us. Thanks.

 

 

 

CarolynArnold
CarolynArnold

Great saga! And what a fantastic find, there aren't any like that in my neck of the woods...I rely on good ole self hypnosis, which is good, but would be *really* good with the headphones & eyewear to help things along in my happy place :)

Oh, and my childhood dentist was a torturer too, I think some found it to be their vocation...

AngelNSullivan
AngelNSullivan

WOW

 

so yeah, i'm a little embarrassed too, b/c as soon as you siad he was a Jesus Dentist i was just waiting for a horror story :-(this dude sounds like one who actually 'practices what he preaches', and hell yeah... we can all use a little more of that can't we?

 

<3 

tsilvestre
tsilvestre

Being the daughter of a dentist -- who is also a devout Mormon (he's been on FOUR freakin missions!) -- I can totally sympathize with every bit of this post. Unfortunately, my dad never learned the tricks of gentle. Instead, he used his children as learning tools during dental school which is part of what makes me totally gag every time I walk into a dentist's office. (OMG that SMELL). But he's far from the only dentist who scarred me for life. When I was about 8 or 9, I was getting my teeth cleaned when the little rubber thingie came off in my mouth, fell back in my throat, and proceeded to induce vomiting. Oy! Torture is right! I'm glad you found a truly authentic and generous man. Hopefully, there will be more and more as our world changes.

LisaMarieMary
LisaMarieMary

And OMG! Yeah! Completely agree with him - your childhood dentist tortured you. That is just awful.

LisaMarieMary
LisaMarieMary

What an amazing and INCREDIBLE dentist! Wow! Like, awesome all around, cool! Girl, I'm a liberal wannabe hippie and I live in AL - I am too quick to judge on a regular basis. Which kinda goes against my peace-love-granola heart. I've lived here for just over six years and I'm still working on living in a foreign world without being judgmental. I don't really know that I'll ever get there. This post is another awesome reminder that I need to make that effort, though! Thanks so much for sharing the experience with us and I hope your tooth gets healed up <i>quickly</i>! 

Jason Fonceca
Jason Fonceca

Absolutely beautiful story...

 

I was raised by super-loving christian parents, but not "Christian"  like most people think. They basically judge no one and accept everyone :) Everyone was welcome in our home, regardless.

 

This dentist sounds like a relative of ours :P

 

And now I write about energy coaches + astrology on my blog - so... who knows :)

Carol Hess
Carol Hess

What a great story told by a master storyteller.  I love it when our expectations are confounded by reality, and we are joyfully surprised.

CharlotteRDixon
CharlotteRDixon

Being too quick to judge is my signature trait, I swear it.  My only saving grace is that I'm aware of this.  And I'm working on it.  Loved this story.

StaciBoden
StaciBoden

Amen and Praise the Lord for the Gentle Jesus Dentist!!!! Recently, I was in a dental chair myself and found myself praying hard, I guess that's one way to practice spirituality, eh? Perhaps we need to start a group for recovering dental-phobia?

 

Within that, I'm so glad you met what seems like a genuine soul. Compassion can take many forms, and even though I'm culturally Jewish, isn't that what Jesus was supposed to be about?

 

Jackie Walker
Jackie Walker

Ah those dentist people have unfortunately been a big part of my life, mainly because I fell off a moped in Spain at 3am with no helmet on (well at 21 you don't, do you!)  Anyway, I've had some rather fun and less fun escapades and can deal with most things.  In the summer walked out on a new dentist. He was truly awful.  So much so I said in a very unchristian way 'wtf (in full) d'you think you're doing'.  His nurse burst out laughing and I got the impression others may have been harbouring similar thoughts! 

I'm so glad you've at last found someone willing to spend time with you because generally, I've found them very lovely and loathe to subject us to pain.

FaeNathara
FaeNathara

It's hard not to judge - it's part of our survival instinct - it's part of what keeps our heads out of the lion's mouth. But the virtue is in the not making decisions based on our preconceived notions and confronting those notions when we find them. Your dentist makes me wish I were in Michigan, though!

Sandi Amorim
Sandi Amorim

I've got a similar story about my now beloved chiropractor! First time I heard the Christian music piped in above my head, I shuddered. Then after a painful adjustment where I broke out in tears, she took me aside and prayed. One minute she's totally woo woo (much more my world) and the next, very biblical. Keeps me on my toes if nothing else! 

Latest blog post: The Autumn Calls. . .Let go

courtcan
courtcan

P.S. My sympathies on the horrible dentist experiences. I never had bad experiences with dentists myself, but I certainly never enjoyed the visits to the orthodontist -- especially in the days after she would tighten my braces. Ouch. : /

JennyBBones
JennyBBones moderator

 @florabrown Flora, so glad you've found an amazing dentist, too! And your advice is rock-solid. I'll be putting all those methods for comfort into practice the next time I'm in The Seat. :) Thank you!

JennyBBones
JennyBBones moderator

 @CarolynArnold Oooo, I might have to pick your brain on self hypnosis ideas lol :) Sorry to hear your past experiences are similar to mine. Tough crowd, dentists. xoxox

JennyBBones
JennyBBones moderator

 @tsilvestre O.M.G. Tea, I just wanna give you a big, huge, dental-nightmare-healing hug right now! I cannot imagine. Just, cannot. But yes, there is apparently hope out there and enough good, gentle and kind dentists that I was able to find one out here in the middle of noman's land lol. Keep the faith! :D

JennyBBones
JennyBBones moderator

 @LisaMarieMary It's healing up well, thank you :) And yeah, I'd imagine being a liberal in AL can be a challenge lol. One step at a time, right? Thanks Lisa! 

JennyBBones
JennyBBones moderator

 @Jason Fonceca Thank you, Jason! Sounds like a lovely family which explains the lovely person you grew up to be! Thank them for me :)

JennyBBones
JennyBBones moderator

 @Carol Hess AW *blush* Thanks Carol. And yeah, I love it when that happens too! 

JennyBBones
JennyBBones moderator

 @StaciBoden LOL, Amen is right! It's totally what I believe Jesus, the Buddha, Muhammad and all of the Great Teachers have stood for. Was so nice for me to see it in action and (hopefully) learn from the examples set. 

JennyBBones
JennyBBones moderator

 @Jackie Walker Ouch! And yes, it's amazing any of us survived our 20s. Fun, though they were!He's like a gift from heaven, literally :) Thank you Jackie!

JennyBBones
JennyBBones moderator

 @FaeNathara So well put, Fae. Thank you. And I wish I could send him your way, what an amazing man :)

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