Romancing the Tooth Fairy
The cost of dental care has created an international medical emergency. Paul VanDevelder reveals how he found his own way around exorbitant dental costs
It’s no secret in 2023 that the availability and cost of dental care is a medical emergency on four continents. Many simply cannot afford regular visits to a dentist, yet the health of our mouths directly impacts all of our vital biological systems, particularly hearts, nerves and brains. Before the advent of dentistry in the twentieth century, poor dental health was the leading cause of death in humans.
The solution to this medical crisis is often just down the street, but more and more of us can’t afford to step through the door. My own epiphany in this regard began with a romantic dinner at a little bistro in Provence, France. Cell phones OFF. White linens, violins and candle light. Public trembling is encouraged in France, so we obliged. La vie c'est très jolie! And then it happened. Midway through a Salade Nicoise I chomped down on an olive pit.
'Now you've done it!' screamed an upper molar. Is this the cost of bliss, I wondered, as I gingerly removed the offending husk from my mouth? No, ce n'est pas possible! If so, the entire French population would be walking around with a throbbing toothache.
Kierkegaard observed that "anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” As my jaw pulsed and my brain reeled with anxiety through the night, Kierkegaard and I had words. I wasn't experiencing any liberté. We found an ice pack and first thing the following morning dialed up a dentist recommended by a friend of a friend. A benevolent tooth fairy took pity and graciously squeezed me into her schedule.