Wednesday, June 8, 2011

2011.06.08 Sacramental Dentistry

One would not normally associate a visit to one’s dentist with anything but pain. But in this case I received radical hospitality, spirituality talk for extending to all warm welcome and first class compassion with grace.

The office staff was warm, natural and humorous sharing their confusion about an insurance recipient named “Ee-pis-CO-ple.” We have insurance with the Episcopal Church.

The dentist took time to find out who I was other than the info form. The assistant was equally relational. They went over every tooth in my mouth, all numbered and with each one’s own pride of place and identity. Every move was thoroughly explained and I was asked if I had questions my comfort level checked at every point.

Dr. Gregory André, Silver Lake Dental in Willmington, MA., had a way of jiggling my cheek whereby the Novacain needle did its business with absolutely no pain. Light interesting conversation went on about their weekends above me as the drill did its job. A nice distraction.

While I waited for camera and computer to be set up the assistant Barbara gave me a shoulder massage!

A little camera went into my mouth, took a picture that registered onto a nearby computer where I watched André fashion the tooth that would go into my mouth.

In a half hour VOILA a crown was inserted into the emptiness and I had a new tooth. (If you will need a crown don’t wait till the tooth breaks and you then need root canal.)Is this laproscopic or its equivalent?

The whole procedure took about two hours. When it was done the dentist and the assistant thanked each other and they thanked me for my good work as a patient. Amazing!

The experience was entirely mutual, non-hierarchal, all of us experts, all of us with necessary gifts to give to the task. I was included and my dignity and needs were as important as theirs.

I felt safe, held and, yes loved, the entire time.

And when I went out I found I’d locked my keys in the car and didn’t freak just calmly took the appropriate actions.

This dental practice is a sacrament: an outer sign of an inward and spiritual whole-heartedness.