Root Canal Confessional

I sat reclined in the dentist’s chair.  He was busy putting the finishing touches on a replacement filling.  I was mulling over how thankful I was for modern dentistry because without it I would most certainly have a mouth full of wooden teeth.  The dentist tapped on a few teeth and did a few other checks before delivering the news.

the dentist

the dentist (Photo credit: ChuckHolton)

“You need a root canal on that tooth.  Go and get this done and then come back for a crown.” he said handing me a prescription for a root canal.

I walked out of the office in disbelief.  The dreaded root canal.  I didn’t know what a root canal actually was, but I knew it wasn’t good.  I assumed they cost as much a small house and the tools used were forged during medieval times.  I was not looking forward to this.

When I got home I did what any other red blooded American male does, I put the referral on the counter and spent the next six weeks ignoring it.  In the back of my head I hoped that if I just ignored the problem it would away.  I wasn’t in any pain, so why fix what isn’t broken.  Maybe the dentist was wrong and I didn’t have a tooth full of decay and bacteria hanging out in my mouth.

Hope as I might, the root canal wasn’t going away. Even though I really wanted it to.  At the gentle urging of my wonderful wife, one afternoon I made the appointment.  The root canal was on the calendar and the countdown began.

The day I had dreaded finally came and I headed off to get the root canal.  Arriving at the dentist’s office I found it to be less dungeon like than I had imagined, in fact it was well lit and quite pleasant.  After a few minutes, I was lead back to the chair where the Dr was to do the procedure.  There were no medieval forged instruments, but rather new and modern ones.  I was given shots of Novocain and 40 minutes later I walked out with the problem fixed.  I will spare you the gory details, but it turns out that despite me not wanting to believe I needed a root canal, I needed one.

I got back to my car, took a sip of water (which thanks to the Novocain ended up all over my lap) and thought back to the procedure.  I had spent all this time building it up to be this big deal.  I was afraid of it and thought I didn’t need to have it done.  I didn’t want to believe I was full of decay.

We are all full of decay on the inside.  We carry around our sins everyday with us and not wanting to believe they are there doesn’t make it so.  Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God allows us the opportunity to cleanse ourselves of our sins.  He removes the decay and allows us to heal.  Reconciliation, like a root canal, sounds intimidating and scary.  We put it off, avoid the confessional hoping our sins just go away.  They don’t go away they sit on our soul and fester.  We need the confessional to remove the stain of sin from our soul and allow us to heal.  The confessional needs to be viewed not as something scary and medieval but rather something beautiful.  Something that allows us to heal and one day receive a crown.

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6 thoughts on “Root Canal Confessional

  1. Great post and a good lesson.

    I can understand people being apprehensive of going to the dentist. There’s plenty to fear, and at times it can be dangerous when using anesthetic.

    I was nearly killed by a dentist once. I was driving down a narrow country lane and he came at me at speed on the wrong side of the road. Now I avoid dentists whenever I can.

    God bless.

  2. Daniel,
    Your skill at telling the story is a solid talent. I laughed out loud when I read the wooden teeth. It still makes me smile. You tap into the anxiety people feel and emote those anxieties through your personal stories. I thought I was the only one who feared wooden teeth, but thank you for showing me that there are others out there. Well done.

    God bless,

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