It was a formula for disaster. I was having surgery later in the week and needed two infected teeth removed before the operation. The phone book yielded only one dentist who would schedule an appointment on short notice.
That should have been an omen. Skilled dentists have full schedules, right? This one had plenty of time and I was desperate.
Arriving at his office—which was under a small mall-- I noticed smudges and dirt on the plate glass window and door. It looked like the glass hadn’t been cleaned in a year.
His waiting room was an eclectic blend of Marilyn Monroe posters and photos of the Beatles. At least it was clean…sort of.
The dentist, just finishing his lunch, called to me from his inner office, “Want a doughnut?”
“No thanks,” I replied. “I have to watch my sugar intake.”
“Just one won’t hurt,” he answered.
And then I knew why he said that. Sitting on a rolling stool in his office was one of the largest men I have ever seen. He was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt. He might have made a sumo wrestler look anorexic.
This was the dentist? Wasn’t he supposed to be uh...healthy?
A quick look around the room reinforced my hesitation. A huge fishbowl of candy sat atop his disheveled desk. Counter tops lining two sides of the room were filled with stacks of magazines and clutter of various description. It resembled a warehouse with a dentist's chair in the middle of the room.
His nurse--a foreign woman-- sounded as though she had learned English from a textbook instead of a live speaker. “Com weeth mee,” she said, as she led the way to an antiquated x-ray machine.
This was getting creepier by the minute. But I was desperate. The infected teeth had to be removed.
Arriving back in the room with the dental chair, I noticed the dentist never walked; he just wheeled himself around on a rolling stool.
“Dear Lord,” I prayed, “If you get me through this I’ll never come to this place again.”
Long story short: the “dentist” managed to pull the two teeth and urged me to come back for more dental work. I smiled (I think) and thanked him as I gleefully fled to my car.
The lessons I learned that day can be summed in three maxims: The best things in life come in small packages. Doubt is the beginning, not the end of wisdom. And fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
What about you? Have any dental horror stories? We would enjoy reading your comments below.