As much as I love the past, there are several reasons (all medical-related) I feel fortunate not to live there. One is antibiotics. Two is pain relief. Three, four, five, and to infinity is dental care.
I don’t need hypnosis or sedatives to get through a dental cleaning, but I come close. I need the iPod, the yoga breathing, the “staring at the ceiling and intently counting all the dots,” the “just imagine all the people going through so much worse, including war.”
I’m often complimented on my naturally straight teeth (never had braces or other correction) but structurally they are awful! It’s genetic, I hear. I could brush, floss, and fluoridate constantly (and I do) but I usually need a filling or two, and have already had a root canal and crown. Ugh.
Then again, maybe hundreds of years from now people will give thanks that they no longer have to endure “barbaric” tools such as the dental drill or Hedstrom file. I leave you with Steve Martin’s old “Theodorick of York” skit from Saturday Night Live:
Dr. York, Medieval Barber/Surgeon: “Why just 50 years ago, we would have thought your daughter’s illness was brought on by demonic possession or witchcraft…”
(Much laughing from Dr. York and the patient’s mother at this ridiculous antiquated diagnosis )
“…But nowadays we know that Isabelle is suffering from an imbalance of bodily humours, perhaps caused by a toad or small dwarf living in her stomach.”
* Medievalists.net has a nice article on 12th-14th century dentistry here.
* I’m fortunate to have a dentist who not only is great at what he does but who also follows my blog — Hi, Dr. Chang!