Wherever the Road Leads

Twistin’ With Lucy

Your teeth are fine but your gums have to come out

A man went to his dentist because he feels something wrong in his mouth. The dentist examines him and says, “that new upper plate I put in for you six months ago is eroding. What have you been eating?”

The man replies, “all I can think of is that about four months ago my wife made some asparagus and put some stuff on it that was delicious…Hollandaise sauce. I loved it so much I now put it on everything — meat, toast, fish, vegetables, everything.”

“Well,” says the dentist, “that’s probably the problem. Hollandaise sauce is made with lots of lemon juice, which is highly corrosive. It’s eaten away your upper plate. I’ll make you a new plate, and this time use chrome.”

“Why chrome?” asks the patient.

To which the dentist replies, “It’s simple. Everyone knows that there’s no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise!”


A chunk of my molar fell off last week while chewing on 12-grain bread. I am scared to death of going to the dentist but if I have learned one thing over the years, it’s that teeth don’t get any better when ignored. It didn’t hurt at the time but I knew if I didn’t have it looked at soon, another chunk would fall off on Friday night of a long weekend and I’d be in agony for days.

My teeth have always been bad, even my ‘baby’ teeth. I started seeing the dentist in the nineteen-fifties in Timmins, Ontario, probably having to walk through six-foot snow drifts to get there. I’m sure that he had the most up-to-date equipment possible, but in my mind he used a rock and a chisel to work on my cavities.

Today’s dentists have progressed immeasurably from the fifties. I don’t care. In my mind today’s most advanced dentist is standing beside me with a rock in one hand and a chisel in the other.

I have a dentist back home. She – a female woman –  came highly recommended by the GP that I first went to when I moved to the area a number of years ago. I went for my first appointment and in the course of conversation, I learned that she is from Alabama. Right, a dentist from Alabama. I’ll bet the Dental School had dirt floors and she got there daily on a buckboard. I wondered if chisels had been invented in Alabama when she went to Dental School.

She began working on me and I noticed that she is cross-eyed. I’m not kidding, cross-eyed. I needed a root canal and I’m being worked on by a cross-eyed, female woman dentist from Alabama. I was petrified… a root canal?? I had never had one and I was positive I would be leaving in a body bag, like a head-less chicken, still screaming in pain.

However, thank you, Jesus, for this woman!!

I told her my rock-and-chisel story. She doubled-up on the novocaine. I kept waiting and waiting for the pain. It didn’t come, except for my tired wrist-muscles from gripping the chair so tightly, unnecessarily. She took a break, so I thought. No, she was done. My life had new meaning.

delchampTo be serious, I didn’t doubt her ability or training for one moment. Firstly, as we all know and accept, Alabama is the greatest State in the Union. Secondly, Roll Tide. I know the Bay Minette / Gulf Shores region of Alabama from where she hails and we discussed the demise of the local Delchamps grocery store chain. It took me a while to notice that she is indeed cross-eyed, because this petite, thirty-something, wife and mother-of-two could stop traffic. She is drop-dead gorgeous.

But more to the point, she is compassionate. She understood and took care to treat me like the wuss that I am.

Benner and Townsend Dentistry, Winder, Ga.

Benner and Townsend Dentistry, Winder, Ga.

Because of this wonderful woman, when I had prostate troubles two years ago, I asked my GP to find and refer to me to a female Urologist, about ten years out of Med School, to me, the perfect combination of up-to-date training, experience and most importantly, compassion.

So when I needed a dentist here in Nashville, I went to the internet, looking for the closest woman. Dr. Lucy Sloane is about three miles away. She is from Asheville North Carolina and graduated Dentistry School in the mid-nineties. I told her my rock-and-chisel story. She went heavy on the novocaine but this root canal was nowhere near as effortless as Miss Alabama, though in fairness, it could be because this is a molar and the other was a canine – an eye-tooth.

Lucy had a posse of people working on me. She had my mouth wedged open for two hours. I winced only once, though more in surprise than pain. Immediately she shot me with more novocaine. However, I left, pain and anti-biotic prescriptions in hand, a little confused about what was done. The root canal was $900. A crown will be an additional $900. I’m not sure if her plan is to put a crown on it, or rebuild the molar. One of the posse told me she couldn’t go any further as the tooth had to dry.

Say what??

Lucy B. Sloan, DDS - La Vergne, Tn.

Lucy B. Sloan, DDS – La Vergne, Tn.

So I go back next week for stage two. Whether that’s the final stage is to be seen. I hope not as I don’t want any more grief with this tooth. Cap it and be done.

My mood was somewhat foul when I left. My mouth was very sore from being propped open for so long. They ask you, “How are you doing?” With your mouth jammed open, it’s a little difficult to give a full dissertation on everything you would like to say, so you just grunt and pray that it will be over soon. Mostly, though, I don’t know where I stand. What’s been did and what’s been hid?

My mood improved somewhat at Publix pharmacy. The anti-biotic – Amoxicillan – is free. Yes, free Amoxicillan at Publix. The pain pills were $5.95. No tax and gas is $2.96 per gallon.

I couldn’t understand everything that she said as she examined my teeth thoroughly yesterday but I cottoned on that there is a lot of work needs doing. I’ll be back home as soon after December 23rd as I can get there. Among the first phone calls I make after the holiday will be to a little cross-eyed gal from Alabama.

“Hello, Cindy, hook me up. You’re the only one I trust.”




“Twistin’ with Lucy”. Sound familiar but you can’t place it? Wilson Picket. 1966. “Land of 1,000 Dances”.

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  1. elayne  September 30, 2014

    Gordon, you know you have my sympathy and empathy for sure.. good luck with the dental work .

    • gordon  September 30, 2014

      Thank you, Elayne. If anyone would know about dental pain and issues, it certainly would be you. What you went through is ten times what I am going through, however, I am ten times the wuss that you are. 😉

      • elayne  September 30, 2014

        not really 10x lol maybe twice .


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