Monday, April 16, 2012


I am searching for a new dentist. I've been going to the same dentist since 1998, and he is gentle and kind, but after recent unhappy dental developments, I've decided I need a newer, better model. Preferably a miracle worker.

I have bad teeth. My bad teeth aren't entirely my fault--my mother has bad teeth, too--but the fact is I've spent much of my adult life paying for all the sugar I ate as a kid and my poor dental habits as a teenager and young adult. I've been serious about my teeth since my early thirties, but that's a little late in the game to take up the fight against tooth decay.

Now, if you know me, you know that I'm not really your laying-on-of-hands type of girl, but when I saw in the church bulletin yesterday that there was a healing service immediately following the eleven o'clock service, I  thought of my teeth and decided to go. When it was my turn to be annointed with oil and prayed over, I said, "I know this is silly, but I have bad teeth, and I'm feeling a lot of anxiety about my bad teeth, and I need help."

And then I cried like a baby. The minister who anointed me with oil is Jack's youth minister and the congregation's interim pastor, so I know him a bit, but after yesterday we're on much more intimate terms. He and a lay minister, a woman I don't know, laid their hands on me and prayed over me, and I blubbered away, and when it was done my nose was running profusely, and I had to wipe it with my sleeve because my handkerchief was in my purse.

If you've never been prayed over, I recommend it, even if the very thought makes you feel all squirrely and exposed. I really felt something go through me--a tremendous rush of warmth and comfort that's hard to describe. I felt it on and off for the rest of the day, and I felt it this morning when I woke up.

Do I expect the decay under the crowns to disappear? No, though I'm radically hoping it won't be too bad (this is the position I've decided to take with my teeth--one of radical hope). But I don't think my anxiety and my blubbering are really about tooth decay. I think they're about shame and feeling different and odd, feelings I've had since I was a chubby, sensitive little girl who soothed myself with Twinkies and Hershey's kisses. I would like to be healed from the damage that shame has done over the years, and I'm radically hopeful that one day I will be.

I wasn't the only one at that service, by the way, and that was the other powerful thing, to be in a room full of strangers, all wanting to be healed, all willing to be vulnerable and open to hope. I might never see these people again, but for a few minutes I knew them and felt connected to them. I hope that one day we all will be well.


magsmcc said...

All will be well. You will be healed of these. You are being healed of these things. You are beautiful. (We're in dental crisis also- our very wonderful dentist with fabulous rapport wiht children turns out to be rubbish at actually tending their teeth!)

Angela said...

We have just completed a course all about 'how to do Healing Prayer' at our church. I havent felt it right to blog about it yet - but may do so after reading this. We ended with a service on April 4th.
Bob asked me to pray with people and anoint them [I'd never done the Oil Bit before]. I was TERRIFIED! However it was an amazing experienced, and I felt very humbled by the response of those I prayed with.
May your experience be a blessing to you- and more than that, may the whole dental experience be much easier in the days ahead.
I will not make bad puns about your eternal crown. Ps 81:10 is a good verse though.
Blessings xx

Tracy said...

That's a pretty powerful experience, Frances. My prayer is that you will know healing in your teeth as well as your emotional/mental state over this. Why can't God heal something that had already begun to decay? Why do we think He won't? I challenge myself with those questions as much as you!

A good dentist is such a blessing. This I discovered after flirting with the public dental system once. Bad, bad...traumatic experience. My dentist is an angel.

Pom Pom said...

I love your heart and your vulnerable ways. I believe in that healing.

Gumbo Lily said...

I believe in healing and I'm glad you stayed to ask God for healing of your teeth.

One thing that I am going to start doing more than ever is to make more bone stock (broth) for us to eat/drink more regularly. So many, many good nutrients and minerals for our bones, teeth, and joints can be had by making stock. Check this out:


wayside wanderer said...

Your vulnerability and transparency touches my heart, Frances. My teeth are not the greatest...I have 6 crowns, one has been done twice because of the need for a root canal, of which I have had two. It was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be and I used to work for a dentist which is sometimes helpful and sometimes most assuredly NOT. I'll pray you find a good dentist you are comfortable with and I believe God can do anything so will pray His perfect will for your teeth and His perfect peace for your heart. Hugs, L

debbie bailey said...

I agree with Wayside Wanderer

Williams Schermer said...

Yeah, it's great that you have friends who can lay their hands on your teeth and wish that it will be healed. I hope you already found the right dentist who can treat your long-time pain in no time.

GretchenJoanna said...

Frances, you are brave.
I missed this post 'way back. Probably I was in the dentist's chair that day. My superb dentist that I've had work on my horrible teeth for 35 years retired and now I have very smart and capable, but young things who have caused me all kinds of anxiety. Yes, our teeth are one of those things about us that signal our weakness and failure, and who knows *how* bad we are in there, in the inner recesses of us, almost in our souls...
I agree with Mags. You are being healed, at a deeper level than below your crowns.