Tag Archives: dental humor

Throwback Thursday! Just One Thing…

This story warrants a re-post because last week life and my dentist reminded me about it, again.

(Sept. 26, 2015) Many of you may not remember this scene from the 1991 movie City Slickers:

Or maybe you do. Jack Palance’s, character, Curly, tells Billy Crystal’s character that the “secret of life is just one thing.”  To which Billy Crystal replies, ‘That’s great. but what’s the one thing?”  Curly answers, “That’s what you’ve got to figure out.” This week I figured out what my one thing is.

It was the end of the school day at Cicero Elementary School. Bus number 186 was called over the P.A. system, meaning I could leave the classroom, retrieve my coat from my cubby and head outside to find my bus in line. Eight year old Phil gathered my papers and books, pushing them sloppily into an already overstuffed desk. I hurried a little extra because I was thirsty from playing outside in the sunshine during end of day recess and I wanted to get a quick slurp of refreshing water from the fountain in the hall before I left.  I rushed to my cubby outside the room, grabbed my coat and put my orange and black Baltimore Orioles Little League baseball cap on my head. It was probably a little crooked, it always was. I just didn’t have the knack of centering the brim over my face unless I was looking in a mirror. I didn’t care though. I was still at an age where I hadn’t yet learned that I should be self-conscious about how I was put together. That was something boys didn’t think too much about until they noticed girls.

I didn’t know it, but the next moment was the one that changed my life. I turned from my cubby and fought my way across the hall, dodging and weaving through other students flowing through the hallway like a swift moving river of four foot tall humanity. After successfully navigating the obstacle course I reached my destination. The hallway water fountain.


Doesn’t that bubbling, gurgling water look refreshing? I thought so too, so much so that I leaned in for a drink a little too quickly. See that curved piece of metal above the bubbling water? I leaned over, perhaps slightly hurried and slightly distracted by the crush of students passing by and thoughts of my waiting bus, and as I did so one of my center front teeth hit that curved metal piece. Not hard, but hard enough that about one quarter of a tooth broke off cleanly and completely. One drink. One quarter of one tooth. One life changed forever.

Yes, I know it sounds insignificant, but we rarely realize the long term ripple effect of small moments when they happen. That one moment those many years ago helped me realize just how lucky I am.

On Thursday of this week, two days ago, decades after I broke that tooth, I visited the dentist because of that tooth. Complications related to that one simple moment have probably required me to have, literally, about 100 additional dental appointments over the years.  There have been countless procedures, needles, poking, prodding, and pain. Today I thought to myself that if I had one chance to turn back time and change one moment in my life, that moment when I broke my tooth might be what I’d choose.

When I started writing this I thought to myself, considering what others have endured, if my biggest problem in life has been a broken tooth that would plague me for the rest of my days, then I’ve been pretty damn lucky. Then I decided that I wouldn’t go back in time and stop stupid eight year old me from bumping my tooth, because from today going forward it will always remind me how lucky I’ve been so far. Weirdly, I think that the next time I’m in a dental chair because of this tooth, I’ll probably smile. Because of the dental work on the tooth it may never be a perfect smile, but it will be a grateful one.

So what’s your one moment? Your “one thing”? What would you change if you could? Or what life lesson did you learn from that one moment in time?

As always, if you enjoyed #ThePhilFactor, please share it by hitting the Facebook, Twitter or re-blog buttons below. Have a great weekend! ~Phil

Does Dental Make You Mental? Ways to Cope with Your Next Dental Visit

I had a major dental procedure yesterday, so I decided to share my experience and wisdom with others. Ha Ha, just kidding. We all know that no one reads #ThePhilFactor for wisdom. Even as I sit here with an ache in my jaw and soft food on my menu for a few days, we both know I’m going to make fun of going to the dentist.

I know many people who are terrified of going to the dentist or of having any sort of “procedure.” I’m not one of those people because of this. My hope is that at the end of reading this you’ll have a few funny thoughts in your head that will help you cope with your anxiety the next time you see the dentist.

Eyes up here! Most of you ladies have said this and most of you men have heard it, but at the dentist you’re in another situation when you don’t know where to direct your eyes. Do you look your dentist in the eyes as he probes you? What about right up the nose? Ugh, isn’t it the worst when he/she doesn’t wear a mask and you have an optimal view of their nasal foliage? Or you find yourself tensing up when you see the shiny metal implement headed for your orifice? I recommend closing your eyes completely, start to finish. Why not? They don’t need you to see anything. Put in a pair of earbuds and listen to music. In my dream world (it’s a very strange place) I’d like to see dentists put flatscreen TV’s on the ceiling so we can watch our favorite shows.

The dentist/hygienist relationship: Remember the Seinfeld episode when Jerry suspected his dentist and hygienist were fooling around in the room when he was sedated? My last few appointments my dentist and his hygienist seemed very chummy. It made me wonder. Another good pastime during procedures is trying to figure out in your head who in that office is probing each others orifices outside of the office. I know you do it at your day job. Why not at the dentist? Think to yourself, could I see these two together? What about the receptionist? Nah, she’s too pretty for him. Maybe, but he’s well off and she looks like she likes nice things.  If it’s a lady dentist, is she harassing the young, male assistant or intern?

Laughing gas is no laughing matter: Request the laughing gas or a complete knockout even if it costs extra! In most places it’s inappropriate to show up to the dentist drunk, so what other alternative do you have? My first son had a dentist that didn’t use laughing gas and the poor kid was terrified. We eventually switched to a dentist that used laughing gas and the kids loved the dentist!

Advice for dentists: Put comedians on the telly in your waiting room. You need to do a thorough mouthwash and brush a few times a day. We don’t need your coffee breath in our face. Stop asking questions during procedures. Make the dental chair a massage chair. TV’s in the ceiling of each room. Don’t say “Oops!”

I once had an oral surgeon say oops while he was shooting Novocaine into the roof of my mouth. Blood spurted out onto his glove. So, what’s your best or worst dental office story? Or do you have other advice or ideas for making a visit to the dentist easier? I love when you fill my comments up. Feel free to share #ThePhilFactor anywhere you like using the buttons below. Have a great Saturday! ~Phil