Friday, 12 August 2022

T To Your Health

Protecting the Crown or Scraping By?


by David L. Wood

So last week I had an appointment with my dental hygienist. I make myself laugh because I never floss and brush more than I do from the time I get the reminder call until the time of my appointment. If I flossed and brushed with that intensity all the time, nothing could even attempt to mess up my teeth. I might not have any teeth left as I would most likely wear them all away, the truth is I don’t normally brush forty-seven times a day and floss every hour on the hour. I do all that at least once a month though whether I need it or not . . . along with my shower . . . except on a leap year and as long as it doesn’t end on a day of the week that starts with a “T” or an “S or has a vowel in it.


I don’t know why I go overboard just prior to the appoint­ment, I mean I really don’t think my dental hygienist will gasp when I first open my mouth. I guess I am just trying to put my best foot forward, so to speak or maybe I should say . . . my best tooth forward. Anyway, I’m not sure if I’m afraid of a negative re­sponse or just deep down inside want her to say when I open my mouth, “OH.. .MY.. .GOSH, I have never seen such perfection! What a sparking, clean, well-kept mouth you have, David Wood,” as she is calling all the other hygienist over to take a look while charging them a quarter each to gawk. And of course each of them would say, “You must be very meticulous about your oral hy­giene.” To which I’m sure I would blush and look down shyly, trying to shuffle my feet and say it was really nothing that any other red-blooded American wouldn’t do.


My proud hygienist, as well as each of the other hygienists in the office, would surely have me pose for a picture with them be­fore I left. As I walked through the waiting room on my way out, people would slowly begin to clap and stand to their feet as I passed by, and confetti would fall from the ceiling while helium balloons quickly filled the room. Angelic tooth-friendly music would play and for a few brief moments, the world would be the most beautiful place, as everyone would be so “enameled” with me and my pearly, plaque-proof, choppers.


But if the truth be told . . . up to this appointment such cele­bration has not happened yet and it did not happen last week, either. In all fairness, I do think I heard angelic tooth-friendly music playing, but then I realized it was only inside my head when no one else was dancing and twirling around with me. There were also some cute little monkeys running around in my head, but they are unrelated to this story.


What did happen after a quick X-ray was my dental hygienist put on those funky glasses that look like they have mini telescopes on the lenses, a mask so I couldn’t see her lips move or look up her nose, and then she got down to business.


Now I don’t know if my DH does this for entertainment or if this is something they all do. But when she has that little angle mirror and her scraping tool the deepest in my mouth and my tongue is securely pinned, she will ask me a question. I truly think they all do this to help kill the time as they scrape away the plaque. I think that under their mask they have a big smile and are trying to keep from laughing. Mine will say something like, “How’s the family?” to which I reply,, “ugh ble og doog gling bline.” Even though I have not understood the words that have just come from my mouth, somehow she usually does a pretty good job of translation. The first time she pulls her tools out of my mouth, I always try to counteract her game by asking her a question that will keep her talking for a while and not give her the upper hand even though she still does have the upper hand.


As she scrapes my teeth to shiny, clean, perfection for the next forty-five minutes, I stare at the pictures they post on the ceiling and try to find pictures hidden in the dots on the ceiling tile, while listening to her answer whatever question I have asked her to keep her from asking me questions. I am very good at the ceil­ing . . . dot . . . picture thing, just so you know.


Anyway, throughout this time, I still have a background fear that my DH will come across a long lost hunk of meat that dates back to last Thanksgiving. In my imagination, when she finds this trapped back between my molar and wisdom tooth, it is actually a Cornish Game Hen and it comes back to life right there in the office and flies out of the building through the waiting room. Feathers are still floating in the air as my DH gives me the same look my mom used to give me when I knew she knew I had done something wrong. Luckily for me and the others in the office, that is only in my head . . . so far.


During the appointment in question, there was nothing new to report and things looked pretty good, according to my DH. Then she called the dentist so he could come in for the final check and take a quick look around. When the dentist came in, he took a quick look in my mouth and then paused and said, “Do you consider yourself a flosser?”


My “wanting to please” personality wanted to make up a won­derful story about just how magnificent a flosser I truly was, a story that dentists would want told at every dental conference and at bedtime to their children. Instead, I told the truth and said, “Not so much . . . maybe a few times a week.”


“I have fourteen crowns in my mouth,” he said. “And some­times people ask me how long a crown is supposed to last. Well, although most people’s crowns don’t last as long as mine, I’ve had some of them for forty years.”


Wow, I thought. That’s as long as Moses and the children of Israel walked in the desert!After that thought, it was all I could do to put visions of Charlton Heston out of my mind, and also my wish to know how many crowns he had when he was Moses in The Ten Commandments.But my reverie was short-circuited by the real­ization that there wasn’t any connection between the longevity of one’s crowns and Moses, though it had sounded very holy to me for a moment or two. I just settled for the fact that this dentist could have walked in the desert with Moses without having to replace his crowns . . . as long as he didn’t run out of dental floss, that is. Just sayin.’


Then he went on to tell me that if you floss every day and kept the plaque off the margin area, which I believe is the area of the tooth just under the crown that is right at and below your gum line, your crown can last indefinitely. Indefinitely definitely sounded like a good deal to me. I loved the idea of my crowns not having to be bought again, and I especially loved the idea of not having to go through the time, discomfort, drilling, and shots that would come with replacement. But such a result would re­quire some effort on my part, it wouldn’t just happen. This made me think of another crown that deserves protection.


We have been given the crown of salvation. We are children of God and because of that are now actually royalty in God’s scheme of things. We are children of the King and brothers and sisters of the Son of the King. How sweet is that? We have been saved by grace and there is nothing that we can do to earn our own salvation. There is absolutely nothing that we can do that will add to what has been done for us on the cross. It is simply “finished,” like Jesus said. Only what Jesus did for us makes this salvation possible for us and anyone who will accept the gift.


Our crown of salvation cannot be taken away from us even though we can tarnish the image of the One that gave it to us. When we say that we are a Christian, people begin watching to see what a Christian is and if there is a difference in how we live. They want to know if this Jesus thing might really be real.


As Christians, we are the body of Christ and we must realize that “we” may be the only Jesus someone may ever encounter. That is a huge thought and very sobering to me. If we stay close to Christ and how we live matches the words that come from our mouths, we cast Jesus in a positive light and we (and He) are per­ceived as authentic. But when we stray . . . when we do things that we know we shouldn’t do or say things that we know we shouldn’t say . . . when we do our own thing, then what we do reflects poorly on the One we say we love and live for, and we are seen as a phony or at best a hypocrite.


How we choose to live our lives with the grace that is ex­tended to us in Jesus truly matters. How we choose to live is like protecting or not protecting our “margin” and affects what people think of the crown. With our salvation intact in Jesus, we can still do tremendous damage to the crown that saved us.


If we allow our integrity and character to be compromised, our witness for Christ can become tarnished and what people see is not very different than what they see in others who don’t claim the name. At that point, we have failed to keep our margin clean and most likely not many will be drawn to Jesus through us . . . mostly because they have not seen Jesus. They have seen us, and we can save no one.


On the flip side, if we love people with the love we have been given . . . if we extend to them the grace that has been given to us . . . if we seek to serve God rather than to serve ourselves . . . if we remain humble, knowing that it is only Jesus who can separate us from our sin . . . then we can be people through whom Jesus shines very brightly in a dark, hurting, lost world.


The choice is really ours. It’s up to me and it is up to you . . . to choose. How shall we, then, live?


Oh Daddy, I have reflected so poorly on the crown so many times in my life. Often, I have been a bad example of what Your love and grace really is. Way too many times in my life and for way too long of periods of time, I have taken Your love and grace for granted. I have failed in moments to really acknowledge the tremendous price that was paid so I can stand before You this very moment clean in Your sight. There have been times in my life when I have been completely indistinguishable from someone that does not know You at all. When I think of all these things, I am ashamed and wonder how You could love me. And yet I know You do and I know You forgive me for the times I have missed the mark. Please Father, teach me to stay on the path that leads only to You and use me whenever and wherever You see fit.




This column is excerpted from the book Pieces of My Heart: Finding God in Our Everyday Lives, by David L. Wood (Golden, CO: Healthy Life Press, 2013). Used by permission. All rights reserved. To order, click this link: PURCHASE PIECES OF MY HEART.

About the Author: "David L. Wood is a singer of soul-healing words, because, like many writers, poets, and other types of artists, he has walked through the fire – a literal house fire that took the life of his first-born son, not yet a year old. Since then, the Lord has healed his heart, and helped David transform his weeping into music for other troubled souls." – Dr. David B. Biebel, Fellow Pilgrim




From the Author: “The front cover is symbolic of my children, for whom this book was written. They are all loved and cherished in my heart and therefore, each one is represented by a piece of my heart. The missing piece of the heart and the butterfly flying overhead are symbolic of my son, Daniel, who died shortly before his first birthday. Losing Daniel was the hardest thing I have faced in this life and he took a piece of my heart with him to heaven when he left. The butterfly is flying toward the sun, which is a representation of God and our eternal life to come. On the back cover, there is a lighthouse. This lighthouse is Jesus, who leads us and guides us through this wild ride we call ‘life.’”


Columnist: Dr. David B. Biebel

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Dr. Biebel has authored or co-authored twenty books, including one bestseller: If God Is So Good, Why Do I Hurt So Bad? and the Gold Medallion winner, New Light on Depression. His recent releases include Making God Visible and Away in a Manger: The Christmas Story from a Nativity Scene Lamb's Point of View.

His goal is to help people attain and retain optimal physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational health (personal wholeness) so they can love the Lord with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbors as themselves. He founded Healthy Life Press ( to help new authors with something to contribute in this arena to get their works into print.

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        To Purchase these or any other of Dr. Biebel's titles click HERE


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