Application of Christian Science to Dentistry
About three years ago, I began an investigation of Christian Science, and immediately put into practice the little I could understand, both in my business and in my home. The transformation in my life has been very great, in fact, the comparison, before and now, is about as night to day. Physically—and this is the only man I ever knew up to that time—I was healed of what the world calls "being a good fellow." This included the excessive use of alcohol and tobacco in all their forms. When Christian Science wiped these habits away it completely obliterated all desire for them, so that they are no temptation whatever now. My eyes had given me a great deal of inconvenience, and I had worn glasses for astigmatism for over four years, when I awoke to the fact that glasses did not make me see. So, with the assistance of Christian Science, I discarded them, and found my eyes much more satisfactory without the glasses than with them. The claim of rheumatism I also set aside as an unnecessary appendix for me to carry longer.
My wife, in turn, discarded probably as many claims as I. Our little baby's healing—then two years of age—in one night of an aggravated case of whooping cough, which the doctor summoned told us it would take at least five weeks to cure, was one of the signs that tended to lead us to the Truth. And so I might go on and enumerate case after case of healing in my own family that thousands of others are experiencing every day and stand ready to testify to. What I desire to deal with more particularly at this time is the application of the teachings of Christian Science to dentistry. This has been one of my problems, and I have undoubtedly made a great deal of it. Like all other students of this unlimited Science, I have not been as patient as I might have been. I have wanted to solve the problems that might present themselves some time, and was not satisfied to apply as much as I knew today, and work diligently for a greater understanding tomorrow. It was so easy to see the seeming big black clouds ahead, that many times I have been unable to see the reflected light from underneath them. My ideas of the profession of dentistry, when I began the study of Christian Science, were pretty well ground in, and were formed after taking the usual collegiate course, which is practically the same as that given to the medical students. The M. D. candidate takes up the study of therapeutics—the general system, normal and abnormal—in a more exhaustive manner than the dental student, who delves more deeply into mechanics, its laws and application. The one studying the principles and practice of medicine, the other of dentistry. So you see the courses are very much the same. This, together with the experience gained from an active practice of dentistry laid down on these lines for about ten years, had, as I before remarked, been pretty well ground in; and when I began to consider remodeling my practice to conform to my very indefinite idea of what would harmonize with Christian Science, it was a pretty big problem. Very much like the M. D. attempting to continue the practice of medicine on the principles of Christian Science. One of the easy ways of evading this seemingly very hard problem was to go into some other business. This seemed, at first thought, the wise thing to do. There were so many things, to my sense, that could not be made to harmonize with Christian Science. The whole profession seemed the opposite of what it should be. To effect the change, the problem seemed endless, and as long as I looked at the whole problem, everything was black. Then I would think of the years I had spent in preparing myself for the business—the years in working to the point of success, both as regards experience and practice—and the fact that many of my patients thought that I was of great service to them—was it the right thing to drop it? Then came the thought that no material business was scientific and that the time would come when they would be unnecessary; and unless I was able to offer people something better than dentistry as practised to-day, would I be doing myself or any one any good by dropping it? I realized that running away from a problem does not solve it, and I began then to see that by my quitting the practice of dentistry, I would not stop the present seeming need of dental work. This line of argument began to bring me to a little light. I then could see that this same thought would apply to every form of material business, and how unreasonable it would be for us all to drop our material work until we had demonstrated a better work. There is no question in the mind of any one who knows anything whatever of the teachings of Christian Science, that the dentist who is applying as much as he knows of its rules to his work will bring out far better results than one who does not. His work will be accomplished easier, and the results will be more perfect and satisfactory, both for patient and operator. This can also be said of any and every line of business. I recall how, early in this experience, when talking to a Christian Scientist who afterwards became my teacher, I told him that in dentistry we had to use a great many medicines to cure diseases of the teeth and assist us in our mechanical work in the mouth, and, of course, I could not get along without them; and if Christian Science was going to interfere with their use, I could not adopt it. What factors in bringing about the results desired, I then, and the majority of dentists to-day, attributed to these medicines, and how useless, from the standpoint of common sense, otherwise Christian Science, they have been proven to be! How much I owe to this teacher, I can never express or repay; for often when I would go to him with questions pertaining to seeming impossibilities, to my sense, he would, without making a law for me, or without pointing a definite way, tenderly, carefully, lead me back to a place I could understand and demonstrate from, and there he would hold me, and a little later I would be able to go to him and say, "Why, it seems so strange, but that case I talked to you about at such and such a time, it never happened." Had he said to me "You must not do this or that, because it is not scientific," I should not have understood, and probably I should to-day not have this understanding to assist me in my daily life. Like all beginners, I insisted on looking way ahead, and felt that if Christian Science was what was claimed for it, there would be no necessity for mechanical work in the mouth, to fill cavities with gold, or replace lost members with an artificial appliance.