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A Painless Root Canal?



Mar 30 2005, 12:08 AM

I went to the dentist today to have a long-needed root canal done. This is part of a series of things I am doing to get myself physically feeling better. The mind, in order to function well, must be supported by a body that is functioning well. I've had trouble with a certain back molar for a few years now. It usually flared up twice a year, but it was becoming more frequent this year, so I decided it is time.

My dentist is probably on of the best around. He's actually quite rational. We have had conversations about politics. He dislikes socialism and could cite me examples of how Canada's socialized medicine is an utter failure. I've spoken Objectivist ideas to him in the past and again today. He doesn't disagree, but listens and sometimes agrees. There is hope for this man.

He's not only an excellent and focused practitioner of his trade, but he also is compassionate and genuinely cares about his patients. I remember my first visit to his office, on the referal of a longtime friend: my tooth emergency came in the middle of a snowstorm. I called my new dentist, and he stayed after work to take care of my emergency, even though he did not know me well as a patient. I make it my first priority among creditors, to pay him first. He does amazing work. Within his field, he is highly rational, focused and innovative. Yes, an innovative dentist. What do I mean by that? I mean that he is never satisfied with the status quo methods. He strudies new techniques constantly. He finds ways to do the job better, in fewer visits and with less pain for the patient. In contrast to my former dentist (who must have had a contempt for his patients, for his methods involved tools of torture and excuses for not using anesthesia in areas where he lacked the ability.)

This was my second root canal by my current dentist. I had one by another dentist ten years ago. That one lived up to the horrible image of what a root canal can be.

The two that my current dentist performed were nearly painless. At the slightest signal of discomfort, he would shift tactics, determine whether it was the file he was using, or whether it was time to add more anesthesia to the root pulp. And the work would progress and I could hear the file grinding in the canal, but felt nothing. One the whole, the most discomfort was keeping my mouth wide open for an hour and trying not to choke on my own saliva. Hardly anything one could call pain.

So I am done with phase one. I go back for a post next week, and maybe a crown, when I can afford it.

Second random thought: It would be relatively easy to turn Anthem into a movie. Being a short story, and the nature of it not involving costly effects, all we'd need is a location that fits the visual imagery of the novel, and a group of dedicated actors. This movie could be shot with digital video. I know how to do this. I know how to edit, and how to author it into a DVD. It would be a fascinating project. Of course the logistics would be another story.


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