And so (reluctantly), I decided a trip to the dentist was probably in order. It was, and I did go, the first time I’d sat in a dentist chair in 25 years.
The last time before Monday was when in 1986 when I had a bothersome wisdom tooth extracted, soon after which my Honolulu dentist retired. The time before that was 20 years earlier, in 1976.
Prior to that, the wife and I had our teeth done before we returned to Hawaii from the mainland, maybe five years earlier.
Our California dentist was Dr. Gordon Oshita of Montebello, a suburb of Los Angeles. Extremely nice guy. He used to break out his guitar and serenade the wife when he was done fixing her teeth. And in fact, he called her on her birthday to sing Happy Birthday to her.
But the thing I remember most about him is that he had a beautiful assistant – to me, she looked like actress Jennifer O’Neill, who starred in the movie, Summer of ’42. It was always a pleasure to lie back in the dentist’s chair and look up at her.
I’ve always had a phobia about going to the dentist. I remember an incident when I was in elementary school – One of my teeth was kinda rotten and our Hilo dentist had to dig it out. He brought out this humongous syringe with a long needle and I panicked. I’m not ashamed to admit that I bit him. Yikes! Actually, if I could see him today, I’d apologize profusely.
Procedures have changed and really, except for the needle poke, the procedures don’t hurt any more. The last time I went macho and turned down the anesthetic injection was around 1976. It hurt so much I decided right then and there I’d succumb to modern medicine from then on.
Even the fillings have changed. I remember dentists shaking up the metal amalgam then smooshing it into the big hole they created in my tooth. Now, they use dental resin that cures hard with the application of blue light.
Consequently, I’m happy to say, everything is once again copacetic in my mouth, and I’m a big fan of modern advances in dentistry. And of my new dentist, Dr. Wendy Wakai of Honolulu.