Why I Love the Dentist


I got an e-mail from my friend Grizelle Sanchez last week.  She said she was at the dentist’s office and that right in the middle of getting her teeth cleaned, her stomach growled loudly.  She pushed the dentist’s hand out of her mouth and yelled, “It’s Bo Time,” and jumped out of the chair and acted like she was going to run out of the dentist’s office.  She said the dentist and his assistant cracked up at her antics.   

I guess the reason that she sent the e-mail was to let me know that the “It’s Bo Time” campaign that we came up with for Bojangles’ really was having an impact in real life.  I thought about that for a second and was proud that BooneOakley had created something cool.  Then I started thinking about going to the dentist.

Going to the dentist is not really a pleasant experience for most people.  It’s always been associated with pain.  But for me I’ve always kind of liked it.  At least since I was 15.  Not the pain so much, but the pleasure. Or should I say, treasure that awaited me when I visited Dr. Sneed’s office in Oxford, North Carolina.

Dr Sneed’s office was pretty non-descript.  It had the standard plaid fabric waiting couches with wood end tables.  On each of the tables was an assortment of out-of-date magazines.  Usually when I got there, I’d just plop down on the couch and bide my time by thumbing thru Southern Living, People or Redbook until the receptionist called my name to go back into the torture chamber. 


I really hated going there.  Until one time I showed up and I really had to go the bathroom.   Their bathroom was locked so I stood outside the door waiting and pacing for about 10 minutes.  Finally, I went to the receptionist and told her that I really had to go and that the bathroom was locked and that I’d been waiting for a really long time.  She looked at me and could tell that I was moments away from crapping on the floor.  She said that at the end of the hall was Dr. Sneed’s private bathroom. 

I had been going to Dr Sneed’s for years and had never noticed another bathroom but I made a beeline for it.  I ran in, sat down on the toilet, looked around and couldn’t believe my eyes.  On a shelf in front of the toilet were more Playboys and Penthouse magazines than I had seen in my entire life.  There must have been 50 of them.  On the tank behind the crapper there was another stack.  I “read” a couple of them and a half hour or so later, went back out to the waiting room.  

After that, I did everything I could to go to the dentist.  I got a toothache every few days.  When I had braces, I used my dad’s wire clipper to clip the wire on my braces. 

“Mom, my wire broke and I need to go get it fixed.  Can you take me to Dr. Sneed’s?”  I’d always arrive at least a half an hour early for my appointment so I’d have plenty of reading time. 

Most dentists recommend that you see them twice a year.  I was going twice a week. 

I even volunteered to drive my sister Lisa to the dentist after school.   It was a special day because this was the day that Lisa was going to get her braces off.   I drove my ’65 VW Beetle and it broke down on the way.  By the time that my mom drove to pick us up, Dr. Sneed’s office was closed for the weekend.  

Lisa was distraught that she would have to wait until Monday to get her traintracks taken off.  I was devastated because I’d have to wait two more days to see Miss March.


Things have changed a bit since I was an adolescent.  Last week, I took my teenage son Lucas to the dentist here in Charlotte, and I was amazed at the lengths that they had gone to make it a low stress, fun environment.  As soon as we walked in, we were greeted with two 50-inch plasma flat screen TV’s.  One was showing Sponge Bob and the other was tuned to The Discovery Channel.  We checked in and walked over and plopped down on the cushy couch in front of the Myth Busters guys.  But these two shows weren’t our only choices to pass the time.   They had X-box and Playstation2 hookups and we could choose between Mario Cart, Pinata Party, Madden 2010 and Pokemon.  

This certainly wasn’t Dr. Sneed’s office, although I noticed that they did have the exact same magazines on the end tables:  Redbook, People and Southern Living. 

“Hmmm…,” I thought to myself.

Just then Laura, the bubbly dental hygienist, strolled over and said, “Lucas are you ready?”  Lucas said yes and followed her back to the examining room.  

As soon as they disappeared out of sight, I walked over to the receptionist and asked, “Excuse me, where’s the restroom?”