Topic: Food

A Toothy Tale From Nantucket

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I started my week off in the dentist’s chair — not the best way to begin. I really like my dentist; she’s very nice and always compliments me on my teeth and my good flossing. I brush and floss only because I fear cavities. I wouldn’t care if my breath were bad or if I had only one tooth in my head, just as long as there are no drills, or worse, pain. I just want to like Dr. Ponce and hear her say, “Good work, keep it up — your teeth look great.” But no such luck.

Not one, not two, but three cavities. It’s been nearly 20 years since I’ve had a cavity filled, but still, I was crushed. One was an old filling that had cracked, the second was new damage, and the third was a cracked tooth that she’d been watching. It wasn’t so bad. I demanded (calmly) extra Novocain, but you’d think someone would come up with a silent drill — that’s half the anxiety right there.

By the way, the cracked tooth came from eating a fried oyster five years ago at a restaurant on Nantucket (an otherwise great dining destination). Inside the fried oyster was a piece of the shell, big enough to shear the tooth in half (a wisdom tooth, by the way — one of four that came in without incident, a fact I’m proud of) and crack what remained.

I’d like to “out” the restaurant that said oyster came from, not because of the shell, but because of the way my situation was handled. Accidents happen in cooking and restaurants do their best; they want our business, and they don’t want to injure anyone. What got my goat was that when I informed the manager on duty, she looked me in the eye and said, “Wow, that’s a bummer.”

She offered no assistance, no apology — they were even inhospitable enough to charge me for the oysters. I’m not litigious, but when they didn’t care to pay my medical expenses, they heard from my lawyer. I was told that I visited the one dentist on the island, which led me to wonder how many dentists visit the island during the summer. (Turns out there are more than a dozen dentists practicing on Nantucket, so a perfectly good example of irony was not to be.)

By the way, I was on island for the Nantucket Wine Festival, which is a terrific world-class food event offering great seminars and tastings for all levels of wine admirers. The festival takes place every May, so if you’re looking for a jump on the island season, hop on a ferry and get yourself to a bottle.

  • Susan

    Well, first Novocaine went out of existance for dental patients 20 or maybe 30 years ago. Lidocaine, usually combined with epinephrine, is the local anesthetic in current use by most dentists.

    Some headphones with your choice of music may help take attention away from the sound of the drill….or I prefer some nitrous oxide…when safely administered at a moderate to moderate/high level, I find the sound of the drill is replaced by a soft wooshing sound…like what you hear when you put your ear up to a conch shell and I am no longer aware of the sound from the drill.

    I am not a dentist or even a dental assistant. But I do ask questions, read info on the net…and do everything I can to avoid pain.

    We live in Ft. Lauderdale and we’ve brought our 54 ft twin-diesel m/y into Nantucket several times in the last three years.

    Generally, Nantucket is one of the thee most expensive places to eat out and dock a boat. Hard to find even lunch for less than $60.00/person. But we have been into the ‘Den of Thieves’ for lunch a few times and they do serve a decent sandwich. We try to eat most of our meals on the boat when we’re on Nantucket.


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