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Gentle Virtues

Lessons From a Dental Chair

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02/01/2007 - Last night, just a few hours before a small flock of sparrows and finches would be breaking their fast at our bird feeder, I fumbled around in the dark. My husband turned in bed and asked, "What are you doing?"

I leaned toward him and whispered, "I am being the Tooth Fairy." Our little girl has just lost her first tooth. Dad had the honors of wiggling it out when he was flossing her teeth at bedtime. I, along with big brother, little brother and hairy brother (that's our pug), joined in celebrating Marcelle's special childhood moment.

When I leaned over to kiss her goodnight, I saw her glancing over at the "Tooth Fairy Container" and she smiled with her new gap. I told her that I hoped the Tooth Fairy would dress warmly so she wouldn't "freeze her bunnies". Marcelle broke out in a laugh, exposing her new gap once again.

Thankfully our dental assistant Sherrie was able to prepare me for this moment months ago when she detected a slight movement in Marcelle's bottom baby tooth. I had more time to grow into the idea that my little girl was growing up.

My dentist, Dr. Horton, and his assistants have not only done a great job in helping us take care of our teeth, they have helped "cement" a few of life's lessons into my head. Being that it is National Dental Month, I thought it would be fitting to "brush up" on those lessons.

One of the first times I met Dr. Horton, I was holding a pearly white crown and pointng to a gap in the back of my mouth. (So much for making good impressions!) I had a Sugar Daddy sucker adhere to my crown while I was sprightly planting our garden. Life Lesson #1: Plant a garden without a sticky sucker in your mouth.

Thinking that Dr. Horton would tap my crown into place and declare me "Queen for the Day", my chin sunk into the dental bib when he enunciated "root canal:, a long, four-step process. Life Lesson #2: Restoration, whether it is restoring a tooth, a relationship or restoring a home back to beauty and order, takes time and tenacity, but is worth every painful effort.

Recently I went back to the dentist office to have a broken tooth repaired. Dr. Horton used a rubber dam to hold my tongue in place while he rebuilt the tooth. (My husband would like to know if such a tool is available to the public. I hope it is not! :) Life Lesson #3: Whether it is in building up a tooth or building up a loved one, we sometimes can do a better job by holding our tongues.

Delight your dentist and his assistants with a visit this year. Ride the chair, the one chair in Casper that puts your feet higher than your head. You can leave with a new toothbrush, a shiny smile and perhaps one of your own lessons on life.

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