Ordinarily, "favorite dentist" is an oxymoron, like "military intelligence" or "Congressional action."
Not with my dentist.
I've written about the amazing Dr. Blazzard before.
For starters, he is a nice, clean-cut family man; but when it comes time to yank out one of my failing wisdom teeth, he's more "pro-drug" than Cheech or Chong. His staff is extraordinarily generous with whatever the liquid substance is that turns my speech into one long vowel movement. And I am deeply grateful.
In all the years I've been going to him, the only time I can recall experiencing pain of any kind was once when the lady at the front desk announced that I had exhausted my insurance limit.
Like a lot of people my age, the first thing I think of when settling down into my dentist's pleather La-Z-Boy is Bill Cosby. Back in the 1980's, Cosby released a comedy album that included a classic bit about visiting his dentist, a routine that is as true today as it was when the first western barber unwrapped his very first Black and Decker.
"Dentists tell you not to pick your teeth with any sharp, metal objects," Cosby's bit began. "Then you sit in their chair, and the first thing they grab is an iron hook."
Not my incredible dental hygienist.
The first thing she grabs is a couple of Q-tips.
I suspect she's going to use it to plug her ears against the blood-curdling scream certain to follow as soon as I see the size of the needle she has hidden behind her back.
Instead, she puts some sort of numbing agent on them and strategically places them wherever she intends to soon inject.
That's right, she's going to numb the places she's about to numb.
My first question, asked as only a 51-year-old man who is terrified of needles can ask, is...why hasn't my family doctor heard about this?
If Obamacare added this one line, "no numbing with needles until you've numbed with Q-tips," I'd be on board quicker than a nurse could lie "this won't hurt a bit."
After 15 or 16 shots (following my devout religious belief that, when it comes to painkillers at the dentist, more is better), my dental hygienist then turns on some Beatles music, because she knows that people my age find it hard to act uncool while listening to John, Paul, George, and Ringo. That is, of course, so long as you're not strapped into a chair when the songs "Help!" or "Helter Skelter" come out of the speakers. Also, I can attest that "Magical Mystery Tour" and "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" are much more profound after the 17th or 18th injection.
After she starts scraping my teeth with what I can only assume is a rat-tail file (remember, I'm up to 19 or 20 shots by now, so I don't care if she's using a belt sander in there), she finally gets around to the iron hook. I'm told dental professionals call this a "pick." In my head, all I can see is an image of a grizzled miner breaking gold out of stubborn rock with a similarly-named tool. After 20 minutes, I'm hoping she'll give it up and opt for some dynamite on that stubborn tartar. My hygienist is very skilled, and it doesn't hurt a bit, but the sound is like chipping old grout out of a concrete sidewalk with a balky jackhammer. She's a sweet and dainty little thing, but with her hand strength, I'm pretty sure she could whip Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm-wrestling contest. Or at least a good thumb-war.
Once my extremely talented hygienist finishes her warm-up act (did I mention it didn't hurt a bit?), it's my dentist's turn. Where she was a gold miner, he's an accomplished oil driller.
But after a few more Q-tips and a few more injections, I wouldn't care if he actually discovered Brent sweet crude in there.
First he drills out a couple of cavities and refills them with what I can only guess is some form of Spackle. He does it faster than Denny Hamlin's pit crew can replace four tires and fill up with two cans of Sunoco racing fuel.
Then he extracts my stupid wisdom tooth without either a doorknob or a spool of fishing line (which is how it was always done in the Saturday morning cartoons of my youth). He also does it without any pain.
So in less time than it takes to renew my driver's license, my dental care is done for another year. And with less aggravation than is usually experienced at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Of course, if the DMV would simply start using those magic Q-tips and a few well-placed injections...