Christian Articles Archive

The Magic of Dentistry

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

You probably have your own dental horror story. Here's mine.

We used to belong to a dental group office that changed dentists fairly often. The really good dentists seemed to go on to establish their own practices. But young Dr. Bozo, I'll call him, was not one of those.

I listen to him offer rude remarks about patients to the receptionist while I wait. Finally, Dr. Bozo bounces into the dental cubicle where I am reclining at a vulnerable angle, dressed with a throw-away bib fastened around my neck by a cold chain. "And how is our patient today," Dr. Bozo asks patronizingly. He continues to babble on.

"My tooth..." I try to explain, my mouth traumatized by the ghastly tube sucking a hole in my cheek. "My tooth needs to have the temporary filling removed." I point to the tooth, sure they don't teach garble-talk translation in dental school.

He glances at the chart prepared by the previous dentist. Out comes the long, thin needle, dripping Novocaine. He jams it into my gums. Ouch. Why there? I wonder silently as I wait for my lips to droop and saliva to slobber out onto my clean bib.

Dr. Bozo finally comes back. "Are we numb?" he asks, slapping my cheek with his fingers. He takes out his drill, switches on its grinding whir, and sets to work. Ouch! Stop! I push him away. He's drilling on the opposite side of my mouth from where he put the Novocaine. He seems perturbed. I yank out the sucking tube myself. "You put the Novocaine in the wrong side of my mouth!"

I can see a shadow of doubt flit across his face, but it is immediately replaced by a maddening "everything's-all-right-what's-wrong-with-you" smile as he reaches for the insidious needle once more.

"Oh no. No mistake," he says cheerfully. "Open wide." Back goes that awful whistling, gurgling tube. "It's just the magic of dentistry," he says as he plunges the needle into the other gum.

The "magic of dentistry," my foot. He just won't admit he made a stupid mistake. I noticed he left soon after that-- not, I don't expect, to open his own practice.

But there's something Dr. Bozo shares with you and me. It's the unwillingness to admit we are wrong, and then correct our mistakes. The Bible calls it confession--owning up to our sins--and repentance--changing our mind and going the right direction again.

We get stubborn, hard-headed. It's a sign of insecurity, I'm sure, but we do it too often.

How about you? Are you right with God? Are you really walking in His way and diligently leading your family to follow Jesus?

I hope you're not hiding behind "You-don't-have-to-go-to- church to-be-a-Christian," or "I-worship-God-in-the-all- outdoors-while shooting-a-buck-between-the-eyes." Maybe you forgot "The kids have soccer practice on Sunday mornings" or "There are too many hypocrites in church." Hey, there's always room for one more.

I didn't laugh then. I was ticked. But now I chuckle when I think of Dr. Bozo. The magic of dentistry. What nerve. What chuzpah.

You ought to remember that line on the Day when God asks you about how you raised your family for Him.

Copyright © 2024, Ralph F. Wilson. <> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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