Saturday, September 15, 2007

If You Just Smile

Over the past month, I've been dealing with a dental dilema. One day, after biting into the routine chicken wrap I always get at least once a week for lunch, I found a piece of my porcelain veneer had detached itself from my left front tooth! I was so upset but felt silly and vain for feeling that way. I wondered if people were looking at me a little too closely when I laughed or smiled so I tried to do both by covering my teeth with my upper lip or my hand. Completely irrational and ridiculous but when one is paranoid about appearance, things like this happen! It's like I had this piece of food stuck on my teeth that I could do nothing about!

Clearly, I had to find a dentist to solve the problem and quick! The first dentist lived in my housing complex neighbourhood. She didn't introduce herself and her first question once I sat in the dentist's chair was "What do you expect me to do about this?" She seemed offended that I was bringing a cosmetic problem to her but warmed slightly when I told her that my adult incisors had come in without the enamel covering. She pushed me to get a crown on my tooth which would require more money, more grinding of the tooth itself and a 30 minute trip to her lab in North York. I said I needed to think about it and left, never to return.

My second dentist was recommended to me by a friend and was LOVELY. She was really very nice. She actually looked in my mouth to make an assessment! As well intentioned as she was, she was unable to help me because her lab technician was on a two-week holiday and would be booked solid for a month upon her return.

They say that "third time's a charm" and my third dentist visit yesterday proved to be just what I needed! I found her just from an advertisement in fab magazine. I picked her because she was very close to my apartment and she offered flexible appointments. When I arrived, she understood that I wanted to put this behind me and glued a matching plastic resin to the pieces of the remaining veneer. This solution may last three weeks to as long as three years! Furthermore, she asked me all about my partner and our immigration experience. I left feeling like I had made a friend and definately will give her my business in the future!

This got me thinking about the parallels between my experience and the story of the Good Samaritan. In short, a Jewish man was hurt and in need of help. The first man passed him by as did the second, without helping. The third man took action to help him. The three women in my story are probably all equal in experience and talent but the action of the last dentist is really what made the most difference to me in the end. She took steps to not only see me as more than a patient but to meet my needs as well.

I suppose this is why I have so much more respect for people of action (the late Mother Theresa, Doctors Without Borders) than people of word (the late Jimmy Swaggart). When I think of the thousands of people out in the world, taking action to fight hunger, poverty and sickness, it gives me hope for humanity and, a reason to truly smile again!


Jolie said...

Wow! Good story! I'm so glad this is behind you.

Lance Noe said...

I love your stories! they're bitching AND uplifting!