My dentist back home in rural Ohio retired a little while back. Walking into his office and sitting in his chair was a trip back in time to the 1950s. At least that’s my guess. The chair looked like it should have been in a museum. I’m not saying what kind of museum. You can decide whether it was one for torture or dentistry. The way the dentist cleaned teeth and poked around in my mouth, I was certain he was trained well before people ever thought about painless dentistry.
When my tooth broke recently, it was time to move up finding a replacement dentist on my “to do” list. I’d spotted one near my home. As it turned out, I was just a block away from the office when I had my crisis. It was time to walk in the door and introduce myself.
This was like Star Wars dentistry in comparison. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dentist on Star Wars, but the technology was so much more advanced than anything that I was used to. There were special glasses to wear during all procedures and then even more special sunglasses to wear when lasers were in use. I was really impressed with the technology. Of course, I was equally depressed with the estimated costs of a root canal, laser gum reduction and a crown – or worse yet – an implant. Yes, all that technology had to be paid for, and I really didn’t want to be the one to do it.
So, I headed to Mexico.
The facility I visited also had the same fancy equipment, glasses and technology. Except nobody seemed to have figured out a way to inject pain-free novocaine. Seriously! You only get the shots to numb the pain. But, nothing is numb when you get the shots. In my painful experience, I have come to learn that shots in the gums hurt a lot. And, I had to have at least six shots. The work lasted so long inside my mouth that the novocaine kept wearing off. Come on, Star Trek had a transporter way back in the sixties. Why is there not an amazing technology to make this a whole lot less painful? You know, transport that medication where it needs to go without a needle involved.
After several hours with three dental technicians and three dentists staring into my mouth, all of them speaking Spanish, the work for the day finally came to an end. I was allowed to go back to the lobby and I thought it was time to pay the piper, or in this case, the dentist.
And, I got the best possible news. Honestly, who gets the best possible news at the dentist office? I’d mentioned to the person I took to be the business manager that I could pay the bill. That was not a problem. But, I would rather wheel and deal. This would never happen in the United States, but there is a lot of wheeling and dealing to be done in the rest of the world. I explained that I’m a muralist and I would love to paint a mural, sponsored by the dentists, wherever they wanted in exchange for my dental work. As far as I could tell, everyone would win. Me, the dentists and the people at the location of the mural.
Well, I’ve learned that it never hurts to ask, but I went into this situation with low expectations. But, the business manager said the boss loved the idea. She didn’t pick some worthy charity with well deserving children in need. She wanted a mural at her home for her grandson, Lukos.
Who was I to question a gift horse literally in my mouth? Let the wheeling, dealing and painting begin! Vive Mexico!
Dr. Irma loved my mural in Belize. It was the inspiration behind this one for Lukas. She wanted it full of animals that he would enjoy. I selected animals found in parts of Mexico. Except, I'm not really sure about the clownfish. That addition was a requirement because someone loved Finding Nemo, but I never really knew if it was for grandmother or grandson.
Now, I know that the good dentist has other grandchildren. If they have even the slightest bit of jealousy over this mural, I'm always ready to wheel and deal and return to Mexico.