Today’s daily prompt is cavity, with an obvious link to teeth and dentistry. That I have a complicated and checkered history in this realm is an understatement, something to be explored in detail on another day. There is however, a short story I do have about cavities.
My childhood dentist was a quiet man. He didn’t talk much and he didn’t seem a particularly cheerful fellow. However I now recognize both a steadiness and a kindness to him, and a way of working with children that was respectful and not about force, even as he was often doing things that a child might well be fearful about or find unpleasant.
I had a number of cavities as a child, and they required filling. You are probably acquainted with the process: numb up the area, drill out the infected/rotten tissue, fill the now-cleaned cavity with an amalgam (silver and mercury in those days), scrape and polish that up. Noisy, with high pitched-drills, suction devices, rubber dental dams across ones mouth. Quite the procedure. And somehow, it was manageable for me, largely because of how Dr. K handled the numbing up.
First, using a swab, he’d put a topical anesthetic on the area in question. Then, after it had taken effect, he’d tell me: “Close your eyes and a fairy will come and sit on your tooth”. I’d oblige, and only then would the syringe full of novocaine appear in the room. That fairy had a bit of a pointy butt, but it didn’t really hurt.
I’m not sure how old I was when I finally realized what the “fairy” was doing when she was sitting on my tooth, but by then, even my needle-phobic self was able to recognize and accept her presence. Thanks, Dr. K!