I've always made it a point take care of my teeth. Well, my dentist might disagree on some issues, but for the most part, I do my best to practice dental hygiene.

I've always had dental issues. My first trip to the dentist was when I was five or six years old (I forget exactly.) On that first visit, my dentist discovered I had twenty cavities. Needles, Novocaine and dental drills were about to become a common part of my life. While I don't get cavities as bad as I did as a kid, those three dental tools remain a part of my life.

Over the years, I've had my share of cavities filled, cavities replaced, root canals and tooth extractions. If I escape a routine dental cleaning session with no issues, it's a good day.

Yes, I brush my teeth regularly, and while it took a while for me to heed the advice of my dental hygienist, I do floss everyday. I visit my dentist for a regular checkup every six months. My dentist's office is located in Elmira. People ask me why I drive an hour to go to a dentist when there are plenty to choose from in the Binghamton area.

The answer is simply that I've been going to this Elmira dental office for a long time, and I feel comfortable with his practice and his staff. He has been my dentist since the early 80's. Even my dental hygienist has been there as long as I have been going there. They know my complete dental history and I like how they treat their patients.

My first visit for 2020 needed to be rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic, and was rescheduled for the first week in June, which worked out well, since dentist offices were just allowed to reopen.

For the time being though, some procedures have to be followed before setting down in the dental chair, including calling the office when I arrive on time. The waiting room is closed, so the dental hygienist meets you at the door, asks you several questions, takes your temperature, blood pressure and give you hand sanitizer to clean your hands.

That's the easy part for them. Between every visit, they have to completely sanitize their exam room. My dentist has always been in the forefront of the safety of his patients, and now has added ultraviolet UV lights and hospital grade disinfectants among other steps for the safety of his patients and staff.

That's why I drive an hour twice a year to go to the dentist. Well, also I like to drive, so the trip and back is nice. By the way, my checkup this week didn't go perfectly. They found a cavity. No surprise there. I'll be back in three weeks to say hello to my old friends, the needle, Novocaine and the drill.

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