went to the dentist for my semi-annual teeth cleaning and X-rays. I was pretty confident that “all would be well” because I had been in March and at that visit nothing was awry. I arrived and I sat down and they took the X-rays and afterward I was being my usual chatty self.
I told the dental assistant that I was confident my teeth were fine and after having gone through a root canal, a tooth removal and a crown lengthening in 2020 during the height of COVID and having to drive to the valley over 12 times as the process continued, I swore that I would not go through that again. Never mind the cost of all of that work, even after what my insurance covered, or the mere fact the root canal was needed because of the mercury filling in my tooth from eighth grade had deteriorated and was causing nerve pain in my mouth. I just didn’t ever want to have to deal with that.
She listened and looked at the X-rays and said that the doctor would be in shortly. And when he came in and studied the X-rays he said, “You have two cavities, one on the right side, and one under your crown and you may need a root canal and crown lengthening.” He continued that he wouldn’t know for sure until he removed the crown to see if the cavity could be filled and then just be fitted for a new crown, and not need a root canal or crown lengthening, but again he stressed he wouldn’t know until the next visit. Ironically, he was leaving on vacation and I couldn’t come back until he was back, which was in two weeks.
So I drove home in a bit of disbelief. I had started using the cavity prevention rinse six months ago and I now I had two cavities. You couldn’t make this up.
Later on that day, I was in my backyard. I sit and say my evening prayers on the swing and this time I added something for me. I prayed that I would only need one cavity filled, one crown removed, that cavity filled and the crown replaced. I asked the man above to please hear my prayer and to know I wasn’t going to view and replay other scenarios in my head, this was simple. I would “Let go and let God.”
A couple of days later a friend of mine shared with me that her youngest child had been diagnosed with autism, and that she was tired of being at the market and other people looking at her when her daughter was acting out. I told her I was here for her and to not worry about what other people thought. I ordered her a guardian angel pin as a gentle reminder that someone was watching over her. When I gave it to her, she was so happy and she shared with me that one day a guardian angel card was simply left on her car. She viewed it as a sign from her grandmother who had passed away and she thanked me profusely.
And I continued to pray each evening, one cavity filled, one crown removed, that cavity filled and the crown replaced – basically the short version was a CF, CR, CF, CR. Two weeks later when I went back to the dentist, the assistant was prepping me for the Novocain and she had a scrub suit on, a mask and her hair was tucked into a surgical cap. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw something sticking out of her scrub suit. It looked so familiar to me. It was a scapular and I remembered that I had one from the mid-1970s that was given to me by my neighbor who if you recall in a previous article had taught me how to pray. The mere sight of it brought so much comfort to me and I knew that “all was going to be well.” When I got home I opened my jewelry box and inside was the scapular that I had saved. It was a little worn, but that didn’t matter. In the end my prayers had been answered. I only needed one cavity filled, one crown removed, that cavity filled and the crown replaced.
I knew that in the grand scheme of things we sometimes forget to pray for ourselves, but I remembered something I had read several years ago about a skier who was trapped after an avalanche and she said, “I had never really prayed for myself, but I knew that I didn’t have much time unless I got out of the snow.” So she prayed for help and help arrived and she was rescued.
We can all be the vehicles of prayer for others, but sometimes when we are in a rough patch, praying for oneself can work miracles.
Jennifer Danny is a Santa Clarita resident.