The Oral Tradition

Joe: ” I have to go to the dentist today.  Probably have cavities.  I’m really not looking forward to it.”

Moe: “You know, I never hear people say ‘I have to get my teeth drilled today.  I’m so excited, I just can’t wait.'”


Moe’s quip in the above dialogue may seem obvious, but I actually knew a dentist that patients loved to go see.  I’ll call him Harvey. (His real name was Harvey. His last name was something Jewish like Moses or Gefiltefish.)

The reason people loved to go to see Harvey so much was that any time they went to see him, no matter what they went for– be it something that might actually cause pain, to a regular cleaning, to a discussion of the weather–Harvey offered to give them nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, also known as nitrous, also known as happy gas, also known as relative analgesia.  Of course, mostly dentists call it relative analgesia.  It comes in handy when they’re goofing out on it at their dental seminars if they have a professional sounding name for it.

Here’s how one patient described a tour with nitrous (from

“I started feeling warm all over. The elevator-type music they had on was starting to all sound the same and I could have sworn that they were looping the same song over and over and over. I remember somewhat the dentist coming in and telling me that this is going to be a “Three Martini Cleaning” and asked me if I preferred Strawberry Daiquiri or Pina Colada.

And another:  Thinking like that I knew the gas was definitely working!! I WANTED TO STAY AT THE DENTIST!!!! Can you believe this.”

You can probably guess that I went to see Harvey a few times myself.  I finally decided to find another dentist when, while I was  under the influence of the gas, Harvey started telling jokes about me and slapping his tools down on my chest, I was conscious enough to be unhappy about being treated like a workbench..

I don’t know how much actual dental work Harvey did, but he eventually closed his practice and moved to a place in the mountains  where rumor has it he developed a thriving marijuana operation.

For more like this, see other blog posts and video link.  To  purchase My Brain Has A MInd Of Its Own, click here–  book.



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