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Dentists and Other Painful Things...

I had an appointment today with my favorite dentist in the Universe, Dr. Ivan Ongaro.
He's been taking care of my teeth for over 30 years.
There are more than a few similarities between us.
I love Italy.
Dr. Ivan was born in San Giorgio al Tagliamento, Venice, Italy
I took my training for my pilot's license with the same instructor and at the same time that Ivan was taking his night flying instruction.
I'm a watercolour artist.
He's a sculptor.
He traded me some great dental work for one of my limited edition prints.

We have the best conversations about art, flying, painting, sculpture.
So, going to my dentist has a lot of very good possibilities for me.
Going to see Ivan is a double-edged sword, however. As much as I love our conversations, I HATE those damn needles that he insists on giving me for local anaesthetic.

A little segue...
Needles and I don't get along.
At all.
I have been known to turn green, then white, followed by a desire to faint. I sweat profusely, my tummy feels extremely nauseous and I often cry copious tears...you get the picture?

Here's the thing.
Ivan is a professor of dentistry at the U of A, teaching in the faculty as well as doing research on new technologies in dentistry, so it's not like he doesn't know what he's doing. Currently his lab projects include research in laser assisted caries detection, remineralization, ossification and needle-less dental analgesia. So, why is it such a struggle for me to relax in his very comfortable dental chair and let him do what is needed?

I've been dreading this appointment for over a month, since a slab of tooth sheared off the back of one of my lower front incisors while I was in Jasper. The thought of those needles jabbing into my tender little pink gummies makes me want to gaaaaaack! Today, when I was leaving my office to make the dreaded drive to Ivan's office, my Crystal smiled and patted me on the shoulder and reminded me, "You'll be fine. Really, you will!"

As I settled into the chair in Ivan's office, I scrunched a few kleenex into a wet ball in my sweaty little hands. I was not looking forward to that freezing at all. Following a few minutes of chit-chatting, he lowered my chair, placed his mask squarely over his nose and mouth and picked up his tools.

After a brief inspection of my damaged tooth, Ivan exclaimed, "Well, this will be an easy fix, Brenda. AND, we can do it without any anaesthetic at all!"

Can you believe it?
I could hardly believe it myself.
No freezing, no needles, no pain and no pukey tummy!

It was a 30 minute process of him sandblasting my tooth, cleaning the dust off the rubber dam in my mouth, packing the magic elixer into my broken tooth, curing it with a little black light and shaping it to fit my normal bite.
Finally, after no time at all, he was finished.
Finished, with no pain.

Once he had completed his work and his assistant had cleaned the dust from my face, Ivan and I talked about a number of interesting things. He's reading a great book called Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. It's a fascinating look at why the world's history evolves differently in different parts of this planet. I'm going to read it. Here's a bit of information on Guns, Germs and Steel and an interview with the author, if you are interested. You can read about it here: http://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/about/interview.html

I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea and he'd never heard of it, but will look for it.
I'm now reading The Book of Negroes and his wife is currently reading it.

He just found a very intriguing website, DNA Tribes.
Here's what happens...order a DNA swab sample kit from them, then send them your DNA sample in the form of a mouth swab from the inside of your cheek. Using "genetic material inherited from both maternal and paternal ancestors to measure your genetic connections to individual ethnic groups and major world regions," this company then sends you a PDF file showing where your ancestors came from.

Ivan completed a DNA swab test, mailed it in and just received his results. Although he was born in Italy of Italian parents, his DNA test showed that he is primarily Zimbabwean, Egyptian and Turkish with a smattering of Greek, Cypriot, Mongolian and a few other tribes thrown into the mix. Italian was at the bottom of the heap! I think I'll take a look at this interesting website. If you are interested, check it out at www.dnatribes.com

What a blessing this day turned out to be!
No freezing for me, an interesting new book to read and a great conversation with an extremely good guy, my favorite dentist, Dr. Ivan.

"Happiness is your dentist telling you it won't hurt and then having him catch his hand in the drill." ~Johnny Carson


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