I was relieved when the receptionist from the dentist’s office called early Monday morning to cancel my appointment. I didn’t really want to spend the day with one side of my face numb and drooling.
On Tuesday morning my husband came into the kitchen with frown lines wrinkling his forehead and the morning newspaper dangling from one hand. He told me our dentist died!
Steve Giannetto had taken care of our teeth since we moved to town in 1988. We had arrived with my near eighty-year-old father who had terminal cancer. We were busy getting settled into our house and new jobs when Dad woke one morning with a broken tooth – the upper half of a molar dropped onto his pillow.
We checked the phone book for a conveniently located dentist. Dad no longer drove his Chevrolet that stayed parked on the street where he could see it from his bedroom window. One of us would have to take him and bring him home. Dr. Giannetto’s dental practice was located two blocks from my husband’s new office. Convenience was our primary concern that day. I called, explained Dad’s medical condition, and reported that he was in no pain but quite agitated about the broken tooth. The receptionist worked Dad into the schedule that morning.
My husband accompanied Dad to the office. He came home impressed with the caring staff and the dentist’s thoroughness in identifying Dad’s medications and other medical considerations before he started work. We became loyal “customers.”
A few years after we moved to a new house, our dentist moved his office to a new building on this side of town, walking distance from our home. Convenience by then was merely a bonus.
Finding a new dentist is a transition I had not expected or thought about. I face the idea with trepidation. I was comfortable with Dr. Giannetto, confident that whatever work he did in the confining space of my mouth would be painless and durable. Now, I will begin asking friends and acquaintances, “Do you have a dentist you trust? Would you recommend him/her?” I face the prospect of established practices with no openings and new graduate dentists trying to fill their daily calendars. I remember that brand new dentist my husband visited once. The eager young man recommended replacing all the old fillings because they would be falling apart soon.
As I move into my senior years, I realize this is the first of many such transitions to come as doctors, insurance agents, beauticians, plumbers, electricians—those people whose services we rely on—age out of their working years or out of this life. It is normal. I’m trying to view this as an opportunity to discover new people, new technologies, new ways of working. Change won’t prevent me from fondly remembering one fine dentist.
Causes Cynthia Becker Supports
Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region