Today, I spent the afternoon at the dentist’s office.  I had another root canal.  Yes, I know many folks complain about such things.  But, I’m not.  Instead, I am grateful for good dentists and dental insurance.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that I want or look forward to root canals.  But, they’re better than the alternative… ongoing pain, infection, tooth loss, and digestive issues.  Besides, the technology was awesome!  There were computers, 3-d images, 360-degree scans, and infrared, light wands.  Dental science has sure come a long way, in the last fifty-years.

Interestingly, I still remember my first dental appointment.  I was toddler and it was an emergency.  It all began when I had stacked my toys in the corner of my crib.  I then stood on them to climb out.  Which is not surprising, considering I’ve always hated being boxed-in or confined.  Unfortunately, it’s also not surprising what happened next, considering I’ve always been clumsy, too.  I promptly fell flat on my face, onto the floor.

To make an expensive and long story short, silver caps were placed on all my front teeth.  They remained there, until my baby teeth fell out.  And while it hurt, my dentist and parents made me laugh.  And while I looked like the infamous villain from a James Bond movie, they insisted that I was pretty.  They handed me a mirror to see my teeth “that sparkled”.  Then they made me promise to always smile.

Those years came and went.  Then adolescence arrived, along with pimples and braces.  This time it was an orthodontist and my parents who reassured me.  They said I had pretty teeth, behind all that metal.  They made me laugh and said I had a beautiful smile.  And fifty-years later, there have been root canals.  Instead of silver, it’s now gold or porcelain that sparkles.  Of course, it hurts… in the pocket-book.  Yet, I’m determined to smile.  After all, I made a promise, a long time ago.