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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: First World Problem (04/17/14)

TITLE: This Tooth Shall Pass
By Cheryl Harrison


Fair warning… this story is not for squeamish, odontophobic readers. Please understand that the details of this horrific story stem from the recesses of my mind—that mysterious dark space where I've buried all my childhood dental appointment memories.

As a child, I suffered severe tooth trauma, which somehow elevated me to the status of “excellent case study” at the local dental college. Unfortunately, this special ranking led to years of dental and orthodontic torment that caused me additional distress. I recall multiple surgeries, one of which resulted in a serious infection. When my mother brought me to the follow-up appointment, a concerned dental student called in his professor, who in turn called in more students to watch. Tears streamed from my eyes as the well-meaning professor poked the tender infected tissue in my mouth. Of all the dentists in the examining room that day, it's the professor's name that I remember. The name tag pinned to his lab coat read, Dr. Pleasant. Oh, the cruel irony of it all.

Needless to say, I am part of the petrified percentage of people who refuse to go to the dentist unless it is absolutely necessary. This leads to my current state of affairs, which started several months ago after I indulged in a piece of hard candy—crack. I think you get the picture. It was not long before the sensitivity to hot and cold liquids began. Soon the inability to chew food on the left side of my mouth finally forced me to schedule the dreaded appointment.

The dentist quickly informed me that a root canal and a crown were the best plan of action. A few days ago, I successfully survived the third of four visits to his office. The nitrous oxide (happy gas) mask helped a lot, but did I fail to mention that I am claustrophobic as well? Add one phobia to another, and you have an aichmophobic that nearly passes out when a stainless steel syringe arrives on the scene. Be still my heart. I can’t believe I actually paid money for this torture!

Trust me; I tried to be fearless. I used relaxation techniques such as reciting scripture passages or singing hymns in my head, but my fearful mind began to dart to and fro. I worried that the Novocain would not work, or that I was going to choke on tooth residue, or that my untameable tongue might tangle with the drill. Ultimately, the sound of the drill pushed me over the precipice, and I convinced myself that the dentist and his assistant were only wearing masks so that I couldn't identify them to the police. Later, after the carnage ended, I mentioned to the dentist that I felt like I was a character in an Edgar Allen Poe story. I'm not sure he caught my drift, but I bet those of you who suffer with dental anxiety understand the comparison.

Why am I telling you this story? Well, it turns out that dental procedures are so expensive that I can’t afford a therapist. Just kidding… I am telling you this story because it seems that most of us suffer from one fear or another. In my case, I suffer from a genuine fear of dentists, closed in spaces, and stainless steel syringes. Still, I must acknowledge that I am blessed to have a dentist who is patient with my concerns. I am also blessed that God knows my fears, and that he constantly reminds me…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

With this in mind, I should not fret about my fourth and final appointment, right? And, there is absolutely no need to worry about stainless steel syringes or dental drills, because there will be sufficient laughing gas and numbing gel. Oh my, Jesus loves me this I know...

Fear not! This tooth shall pass--2 Hesitations 1:1.

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This article has been read 340 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 04/25/14

This was so clever, so different, and so beyond funny! Is a "certain individual back from his trip?" I think so!

Wonderfully amusing, and a pleasure to read such a light-hearted approach to this weeks topic.

Great fun!

God Bless~
Joe Moreland04/26/14
Ouch...I truly felt your pain. During the first 11 years of my life I never saw a dentist because my single mom could not afford it. At 11 I went to live with an Aunt who took me for the first time and I had a lot of cavities to be sure. In those days the dentist gave a choice of painkiller or no painkiller for filling cavities - guess what was chosen for me? Yeah, I stay away from the dentists at all costs these days.

Anyway, enough about me, your story was great. You captured everything perfectly and I really appreciated the perspective.

Great job!
Glynis Becker04/26/14
Great voice! I could feel the anxiety and the way you tied it together with a spiritual application is wonderful.
Ellen Carr 04/27/14
A most enjoyable and amusing read - except for all the dental details! I don't like dentists much either (sorry dentists!). You've done well with this, and the punch line was great!
Sheldon Bass 04/28/14
Wonderfully light, funny and enjoyable. You even "sharpened" my mind by teaching me of a new phobia: "aichmophobia". TY

When I saw your subject material I almost stopped reading. I have a strong fear of dentists and a swiftly approaching appointment. I've been to some bad dentists who seemed to be merely drilling for riches at my expense and pain. Thank you for the chuckles!
Laura Hawbaker04/29/14
Very well written. I liked the line about the untameable tongue tangling with the drill. I can so relate! Good job--keep writing!
Mar  04/29/14
Very enjoyable fun read!
C D Swanson 05/01/14
Congrats! I thought for sure that this was one of Noel's. I was fooled! Excellent job with this entire piece. I loved it, so did my friends!

God bless~
Joe Moreland05/01/14
Ha! I had this pegged for Noel too! The crown has been stolen! Once again, you did a great job with this story and absolutely deserve the EC placement. Congratulations!
Tracy Nunes 05/02/14
Talk about hitting a nerve! This left me squirming and thankful that I wasn't in the "hot seat." Very well done! Congratulations!