Editor, Daily Press:
Just read your [Wednesday] "editorial" section and was amused by the Washington Post opinion writer Dana Milbank.
When I moved to Tahlequah from the Washington, D.C., area back in 2006, I checked around looking for "veteran" businesses to hook up with for services. I found an active Oklahoma Army National Guard dentist in Sallisaw. So I started driving down there for my teeth problems. After several years, a friendship developed and we started joking about various subjects, including his "painless" service.
I asked him once if the "dental scientist" had ever done research about to determine which was more painful, jabbing that needle repeatedly into a patient's gums or just quickly do the procedure. He laughed as I got up from the chair until I told him that he was avoiding reducing the most painful part of the visit. He followed me out of the treatment room toward the checkout desk, asking me what that was. I told him paying the bill after the service. He quickly turned back down the hall to his office and return to the service desk. He had a wooden box with El Patron Gold tequila and poured me a couple of shots. He handed it to me and assured me that since my wife was driving me back, this would take away some of the painful paying pangs. The entire office staff laughed.
I shared this story with one of our Virginia neighbors who was program director of a Maryland Dental Hygienist College. She included it in the college program as a painless example of dental adaptation.
Having experienced a third world country's dental work, I can tell you the pain of a root canal procedure here is nothing. They used an electric drill to open up the center of the infected tooth and then used a finger-twisted rasp to clear our the center and root cavity. This was without the benefit of painkillers. Lucky I was a tough USMC/Special Forces noncommissioned officer who had become tolerant to most pain.
The next time some medical person asks you how bad does it hurt on a scale from one to 10, rest assured that your scale of pain doesn't go high enough for other people's super 10.