A Cowboy’s Faith
By Frank J. Buchman
“The dentist is one person most people really don’t like to visit.”
Yet, everybody agrees if he prevents wearing false teeth, “the pain is worth the gain.”
No shortage of dental appointments throughout the lifetime with first memories for examination of “black” teeth. Grade school pictures verify the teeth really were black. Must have been rotten baby teeth because the next year those teeth were gone.
Mom followed dentist recommendations requiring regular checkups always too often. Every time, a cavity needed filled and remembering that jarring tooth grinder brings cringes six decades later.
Crooked yellow teeth embarrassed a teenager, so appointments were set up in a city miles away. Every month for a long time, Mom took her son to have his teeth straightened.
Uncertain how much it all must have cost, but for sure a big bunch. Worse thing other than painful procedure was the teeth weren’t straight and were still yellow when finished.
Dentist visits were infrequent until that wild stallion went over backwards and the trainer had two front teeth knocked out. It was Sunday, but the hometown dentist came into his office and put in “temporary” teeth.
Hard to believe these days, but the replacement work lasted 30 years until the city dentist insisted, they must be replaced.
That was a major out-of-pocket bill fortunately reduced somewhat by workplace insurance coverage. At least the “bridge” teeth were straighter and whiter than the cowboy’s teeth had ever been.
Obviously proud of his work, that tooth doctor stipulated regular checkups and cleanings were essential going forward. Grudgingly, his recommendations were followed to a point.
He demanded, “Brush three times every day with ‘flossing’ daily.”
Well once-a-day brushing was the best, and not every day at that. Figuring out “flossing” meant running a string between every tooth, that was only attempted one time and failed.
After insurance coverage ended with loss of employment, so did scheduled dental appointments. Yet lettuce and tough beefsteak kept getting caught in one tooth that was half broken off from another horse crash.
Grudgingly, an appointment was scheduled with the local dentist. “It can be repaired,” he said, after becoming confident the cowboy’s personal payment check wouldn’t bounce too high.
Ok, just so these original teeth still work for chewing.
Reminded of Job 4:11: “When he’s toothless he’s useless.”