Open Wide!

I remember going to the dentist (every 6 months or so) as a kid/teenager. I can still visualize walking through the sunroom/greenhouse entrance and into the lobby of their downtown Winchester establishment. There was a large fish tank in the waiting area and lots of books and magazines piled on the side tables.

I remember there were lots of files in alphabetic order on the shelves behind the receptionists (I always thought their job was cool) and when it was my turn, I was excited to lay down in the chair and look up at some picture on the ceiling. More often than not, the hygienist was one of my elementary school friend's aunt. It was fun to catch up with her and how their family was doing. 

I felt pretty special with the option of choosing a flavor for the teeth cleaner (maybe 3 options?) but I did NOT like the gritty feeling of the stuff. The mini shopvac-for-your-mouth was helpful at best, but I always felt awkward when it got stuck sucking on the inside of my cheek. After the cleaning, the very nice dentist would come review my stats and we would discuss needs if there were any. I almost always left with a something new on my hand...a new ring!

Sometime after we moved to Tullahoma, we started seeing a new dentist (and family friend) who was always jovial, gentle, and kind. He is the one I remember pointing out that two of my teeth are turned 180' (and attempt was made to turn one/both? but it didn't work) and that I still had two baby teeth. At one point, I decided that I did not like the gap in my two front teeth so I had braces put on those two (just those two!)--I have photos to prove it.

The orthodontist was in Huntsville & was the third dental facility with which I became familiar. After the braces were taken off, my teeth shifted apart again...my two side teeth were just not large enough to keep the two fronts together. At that point, composite of some sort was added to those smaller teeth, and my gap was greatly diminished. On visits home from college I would have teeth cleanings at the old Winchester office or stop by our friend's office if I had concerns in between.

 I took a little break from professional cleanings and screenings until Mr. H & I received dental coverage (and there was much rejoicing!)...and since then I have been to three different offices. Mostly the same routine--they make a remark about my baby teeth, 180 degree teeth, repair any cavities, and touch up for my two smallies with fake tooth around them. I am usually in and out with little conversation with either hygienist or the DDS.

I took  my boys to their first dental visit last month and it was a hit! You would not believe the flavor options they have for cleaning now! The kids got new toothbrushes, a bag of loot, and stickers! They were thrilled. J was fabulously patient, I was so proud of him. N--well. He's two year old--enough said.

TODAY I had MY first dental visit at a new place! I was nervous since it had been awhile and wasn't sure the status of my pearly whites. I walked in a few minutes late (sometimes my GPS does NOT mean I arrive more efficiently!) and was greeted with a smile, handshake, correct pronunciation of my name, and complimentary bottle of water. I was impressed with the calm, welcoming environment (soft lights, beautiful decor) and friendly staff. I sat down and within a few minutes, the hygienist came to get me (as in: came into the lobby to greet me and take me back, as opposed to calling my name out with the door balancing on her hip), calling me by name. 

Rita introduced herself and took me on a tour of their exam rooms (including the view of the pond), offices, and finally ending up in a little conference room with a little round table and four chairs. Rita told me that the Dr. liked to get to know her clients first and she would be joining me shortly. Really? A face-to-face (not with my mouth wide open) visit with the dentist?

After a few minutes, we were on first name basis and we were like old friends...her husband was from Chicago, she currently lives in one of my favorite cities around here, and she could relate to my busy schedule with a husband whose job requires frequent travel. After our getting-to-know-you chat, Rita took care of a few radiographs, photos, and evaluations before my new dentist friend joined us to do a cancer screening, gum disease screening, and discuss the needs of my smile.

Before I knew it, I was heading out the door with a little box with green ribbon around it and a note that said "Thank You". I felt pampered, appreciated, and special. It was like a spa day...complimentary water upon entering (also an offering of water/coffee as I was leaving)...personal attention, low lights, calm voices, gentle massages on my neck...

Ok. No massages on my neck.

But seriously. I'm so glad I have a filling that needs repair and a stain on my composite-covered tooth so I can go back and hang out with my best friends and feel pampered for an hour or so!


Stephanie said...

Finding a great dentist is so nice! We love our's. The office is very personal and friendly too, and very good with kids.

JosephJ said...

Wow, I'm jealous. We're currently between dentists, so you're making me hope that our next experience has a tour and a view of the fish pond! I was just going off the reviews of practices online, and it's tough to find reviews as glowing as this one. Maybe I'll just have to commute to MN to get my teeth cleaned, perhaps?

Linda said...

Debra ( Heather Heath's Aunt!) is still most often my hygienist and always asks about each of you, and catch me up on her family! They have redone the office a bit...gotten new chairs ...remember the bright yellow one in the front room? They got some new equipment ,so that now once a year you sit in the hall for some panaramic photos... and there is a handsome new young doctor, Dr. Glenn.

Dr. Stewart lost his final battle with cancer. His wife once came to my house to buy hairbows for her daughter. Their son Patrick was in a 4-wheeler accident and was paralyzed, and passed away some years back, a young adult. Dr. Stewart at one time was gone for a year to Afghanistan or Iraq . Then later he had hair implants. Then later after cancer he was bald but he didn't care about hair implants anymore. He was always kind and I miss him! After he died, I got a letter from the office. I thought "Well, I guess this might be the time to switch to one in our town..." but I never did. I think I sort of like this foray to Franklin County.

Now they have tv's in each room and that is actually a nice distraction. HGTV, anyone? I think the fish tank is gone, but still walk through the green house! Seems to me there is a new bathroom in the lobby, but maybe it was there all along? I don't remember it. (in there they have a vase full of toothbrushes in plastic that have toothpaste already ...on or in them, somehow?) I always go to the post office across the street afterwards, because it is not busy, and I can walk. Then I usually go to Hammers and see what is new there. And then sometimes I take myself out for Mexican food at a place we like there in Winchester. I try to remember to take a book to read.

Then I go to Cato's in Decherd, because they have different stuff than in Tullahoma.

So I do try to make my dentist day a sort of special day out for me.
Which is kind of funny.