Monday, July 28, 2008

Visiting the Dentist

by looking4ancestors

This post was supposed to have been posted over a month ago. However, I was in need of photos for this post. To make a long story short: I now have the photos and the scanner, and am ready to go!

Miriam Robbins Midkiff's blog AnceStories2: Stories of Me for My Descendants inspires us to write about things about ourselves for our descendants. Every week she posts a different topic for us to blog about. Week #37 is all about the :

*Who was/were your childhood dentist(s)? Was he/she your family dentist?
The first dentist I can remember was Dr. McLean (I think that was his name). He had a little office on Gladstone Avenue and Tecumseh Rd. E. (north-west corner). I don't remember him ever looking at my teeth. I couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 years old at the time. However, I do remember once going with my mom when she had to have a cavity filled. My brother and I waited in the waiting room while Mom went in with the dentist. When she came out, she didn't look too well. I asked her what was wrong. She explained to us that she had her tooth fixed and the dentist didn't use anything to freeze her mouth - no novacaine. No wonder she didn't feel too well!
Our next dentist was Dr. Dennis Page. He is the dentist I remember from my childhood. His office was located in the plaza where Gordon's grocery store was on Forest Glade Drive. He was a pretty good guy.

*Did you like or dread going to the dentist? Why?
Although Dr. Page was a pretty good guy, I always dreaded going to the dentist. My brother and I usually had to go there by ourselves because my mom and dad were working. I hated that awful "dentist office - anaethestic smell" that hit you in the face as soon as you entered the dentist office, and just the general anxiousness of waiting until it was your turn. And of course, the absolute worse thing for me was the needles. I hate needles, shots, injections, blood tests, vaccines - when it comes to needles - you name it, I hate it!! So of course I would try to be brave (without my mom) and suck it up when I had to have any kind of freezing done.

*Did you ever have cavities as a kid, or were you one of those cavity-free kids?
Yep, I had cavities - this was the '70's after all. Everything was sugar coated. Do you remember "Count Chocula", "Frankenberry" and "Cap'n Crunch" breakfast cereals? We drank pop at dinner frequently. We were given money to go to the store to buy gum, candy and more pop! I have a total of eight fillings - both molars on both sides of my mouth, top and bottom.

*Did you ever need oral surgery or braces?
I had very crooked teeeth as a child. In grade six, the day before school photos were taken, I got braces. The full metal deal. I did not smile for my school photo that year. I was absolutely miserable that day. I was twelve years old. I was so self conscious adn embarrassed that I now had a mouth full of metal. I could barely close my lips over my teeth, my face was swollen and my mouth hurt - and you want me to smile?! Oh, did I mention the head gear I had to wear to bed every night?

Lake, Kathy. Photograph. March 1979. Digital Image. Privately held by Kathryn Lake Hogan UE, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Windsor, Ontario. 2008.

Of course, I eventually got used to wearing braces.

Lake, Kathy. Photograph. January 1980. Digital Image. Privately held by Kathryn Lake Hogan UE, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Windsor, Ontario. 2008.

The good news was that the braces came off the summer between grade school and high school.

The only oral surgery I had was when I was thirteen or fourteen. I had to have my wisdom teeth pulled. Because the teeth were still impacted (underneath the gums) I had to have oral surgery. My dad teased me at the time that I wouldn't be able to talk on the phone after the surgery. Well, I was pretty drugged up after the surgery with pain killers and I proved him wrong. As soon as I got home, I was on the phone. The next day was a bit rougher though- no phone that day.

*What was the worst dental exam or procedure you had done?
I think the worst thing I had done was when the orthodontist, Dr Wachna, was fitting the bands for the braces onto my teeth. As he was leaning over me with his sickening sweet coffee breath, he would tap the bands into place with a little hammer. I remember one of the bands being tapped a little too hard and it cut into my gums. I hated the orthodontist about a bazillion times worse than the dentist. He was a crabby, old man who would talk on the phone with his buddies about going golfing while he was examining your teeth. Did I mention the awful coffee breath?

*What is your favorite memory of the dentist?
I don't really have a favourite memory of the dentist. My favourite memory of the orthodontist was when I was finally free of my braces and I never had to see that man again!

Lake, Kathy. Photograph. 1982. Digital Image. Privately held by Kathryn Lake UE [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Windsor, Ontario. 2008.

*How have your adult experiences at the dentist compared with those of your childhood?
Much better.

*Do you still have the same dentist? Why or why not?
No, I don't have the same dentist. When I was a young adult, I was no longer covered under my parent's benefits. So, going to the dentist became a big expense I couldn't afford. I didn't go to the dentist for many years.
Our current family dentist is a great guy. He can give needles without pain!

*If you have children, what is/was the tooth fairy tradition for them?
We follow tradition. Our kids hide their tooth under their pillow and when they wake up in the morning, there is a loonie there for them from the tooth fairy. It was only a quarter when I was a kid.

*Have you had to have dentures or bridgework?

*Describe your oral health history and relate your opinion as to the causes behind your good or poor oral health.
My dentist says I have great teeth. I seemed to have the same dental genetics as my mom's side of the family. Hard, strong teeth. However, they aren't white and bright. They are more of a yellow colour. This also comes from my mom's side of the family. My dad's side of the family has more white coloured teeth, however, their teeth are more soft and prone to cavities and other problems.

*Are there any dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, dental technicians or assistants in your family tree?

*Are there any stories in your family history about going to the dentist and the kinds of treatments experienced in the old days?
No. Looks like I need to talk to Grandma.