High Variance

In Praise of Dentists

My whole life I’ve hated going to the dentist. The sound of the drill. The smell of decay being ground away. Spitting out shards of teeth and blood. And let’s not forget the often intense physical pain. I know dentists do important work, and I know the world would be a lot worse without them, but I’ll never enjoy the experience of someone digging around in my mouth, and I’ll always dread my next visit.

My goal in this article is not to praise dentists in general, but instead, to express my sincere appreciation for three specific dentists who went above and beyond the call of duty to make my dad’s life better. My father has had problems with his dentures since the day he got them. That’s the downside of picking a prosthodontist because her office is one block away from your apartment. My dad needed someone new to fix his teeth or make new ones, but neither of us knew anything about dentists in northern New Jersey.

Dr. Gerald Alexander is my dentist in New Haven, and he’s the best dentist I’ve ever had. He takes pride in every aspect of his work, his office is spotless, and his staff are top notch. I know he treats them well because he’s had no turnover in the six years I’ve been seeing him. And of course, his actual dentistry is excellent.

Dr. A is well-connected, and I thought he might know someone good in New Jersey that could help my dad. Even though he didn’t, he did make a whole bunch of phone calls on my dad’s behalf, not stopping until he found someone close by that he trusted: Dr. Chetan Patil in Englewood.

Dr Patil is a periodontist and he was happy to see my dad right away. During our appointment his staff were patient and understanding. When Dr Patil finished checking out my dad’s gums, he could have just done the work himself, but he knew someone else who was a lot better with dentures than he was. Dr. Patil’s staff made a quick phone call for us, and Dr Javier Urquiola said he could fit us in as his last appointment that day. We rushed right over.

Dr Urquiola didn’t just throw out the existing dentures and start over. He spent an hour working to repair and adjust the old dentures and got a perfect fit for the top denture. The bottom partial was much improved but it wasn’t possible to make it stable. Dr. Urquiola stayed late that day to make an impression for a new one. Since then he’s worked with my dad (not the easiest patient) to make sure the new denture fits as well as it possibly can.

Thank you Drs. Alexander, Patil, and Urquiola. You are truly making the world a better place.