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A modern dragon goes to the dentist

Heidi the dentist helps a modern dragon with routine dental care.  The dragon tries his best not to breathe fire.
Image credit: very special thanks to @saralhargrave

You guys, I found a dentist!  This is a big deal because I am a dragon.

Do you have any idea how hard it is for a dragon to find a dentist?

I know I’ve alluded to this before but it’s, um, not easy.  

You can probably imagine some of the challenges of seeking human-provided medical care when one is a dragon. 

Hi! Have we met? Read more about me, a modern dragon. 

So I will tell you a bit about that.  But first a prologue to why finding a dentist was so exciting!!

Limited dragon access to human-provided healthcare

Dragons, or at least the kind I know best, Western dragons, have not always had the cuddliest relationship with humans.  

This despite the fact that dragons are, actually, extremely cuddly. 

If you’re not snuggling with your dragon friend, what are you even doing?

But I digress. 

Human-dragon relations have not always been . . . stellar.  And as a result of that, for most of history if a dragon needed healthcare services, it was awfully hard to find a human willing to provide them.

It’s not so much that dragons have historically had limited access to human-provided healthcare as that dragons have historically had limited access to human-provided anything.  

Which is a shame when you consider that humans bake excellent cookies.

This modern dragon finds a dentist!

Being a modern dragon, I am trying to take advantage of the full range of services that modernity has to offer.

Even if being a dragon makes it a little more challenging. 

For one thing, all kinds of dental care are hard to get when one is a dragon.  Take, for instance, the challenges of trying to practice at-home dental hygiene.

I blame my deferred dental care in part on the difficulty finding a dragon-sized toothbrush.  All the ones they sell at CVS are for humans.  They’re too small and flimsy to be useful.  The toothbrushes, I mean, not the humans.

And then there’s the difficulty scheduling bi-annual cleaning at the dentist’s office.

It might not surprise you to learn that very few dentists and hygienists are willing to see dragons.  The rate of (accidental!!) occupational injury increases significantly, and most dentists’ fire insurance won’t allow it.

But even if I didn’t struggle with chronic difficulty finding a large enough toothbrush, I still needed regular cleanings and checkups and conversations about how I’m not flossing correctly. 

And so after calling dentist after dentist with no luck, I decided to get creative.  

I called Ironworkers Local 1776 and asked for a welder.  

“Hold on,” mumbled the person who answered the phone.  I could hear a radio blaring Jackson Browne and the rush of traffic from an open window. 

The phone made a scratchy sound as someone picked up the phone again. “I’m getting Bob for you.  Hold on a minute.”

His name was Bob.  Of course the welder’s name was Bob.  It was either going to be Steve or Bob, and while my money was on Steve, I certainly wasn’t surprised by Bob.

“Hello.”  Bob declared.  He did not seem particularly interested in being on the phone. 

a man making a droopy facial expression
This is how I imagined Bob. (Photo by Felipe Barboza on

So I cut to the chase.  I didn’t mention that I was a dragon.  I just said I needed some precision work done in what could sometimes be a high-heat environment.  I asked if he could make a referral. 

“I could come do an estimate next week,” Bob allowed.

“Great!” I replied.  “Do you happen to know any dentists who could come along,” I asked, hopeful, and trying not to sound too creepy or strange.

“That’s the creepiest and strangest request I’ve ever gotten,” Bob relied.  “And I’m used to strange.  I used to weld contraptions for the circus.”  


“But, yeah, I know someone.”

My searing, reptilian eyes grew big with optimism.  Well, they started out big.  They grew bigger with optimism.  And luckily, we were on the phone, so Bob did not see that and also he did not see me blink my third eyelids with glee. 

“Awesome!” I said.  “And if that’s the strangest request you’ve ever gotten,” I said, “I bet I could even do one better.  I’ll explain when you get here.  And I pay in precious metals.”

This time it was Bob’s eyes who grew big.  (I assumed.  This was on the phone, after all.  And maybe I’m wrong; Bob does not seem very emotive.)

“OK,’ said Bob.  Bob also is not very talkative.

“I’ll tell you more when you’re here.”   

“OK. I’ll call you next week.”

So of course Monday and Tuesday went by without Bob calling.  And I began to worry that Bob was going to let me down, just like the Romans did.  But Wednesday morning he called back. 

“Hello?”  I answered, like a dork.

“This is Bob.  I’m on my way.  Where do I park?”  

Gah!  What’s with contractors being so uncommunicative but then suddenly just showing up!?  It’s lucky I was gliding close to home when he called.

Anyway, I told Bob how to get to my condo lair from the trailhead parking lot, and he didn’t ask any questions about that.  He just called back 20 minutes later. 

“OK. We’re here.”  He said.  “I brought my sister.  She’s a dentist.”

“This is going to be excellent,” I said.

Dragon dentists have some awesome techniques and personal protective equipment

So, yes, things were a little tense when Bob and his sister Heidi realized they had come out to make a service call at a dragon lair.  But to their credit, they were surprisingly chill about it.

I explained what I wanted.  Bob looked at Heidi.  Heidi looked at Bob.  They both looked at my massive snout.  Then Heidi nodded almost imperceptibly. 

Bob handed Heidi his welding helmet, apron, and gloves. 

“I learned a little welding in my day,” Heidi said.  “It’s part of what inspired me to go to dental school instead.  And yet here we are.”

And yet here we were. 

While she was adjusting the straps on the apron and helmet, Bob and I talked about a dragon-friendly dentist’s chair we could install in my workshop where the lighting is good.

Meanwhile, I sat down in a recliner and Heidi got to work.  

“I’ve got pretty good reflex control,” I assured her, “but I’m glad you’ve got the protective equipment just in case I sneeze.”

I really did not want to burn her.

Luckily, I didn’t so much as smoke or spark, and Heidi gave me a great fang polish.

Heidi and Bob came back a few months later after Bob installed the new chair.  Heidi upgraded her dental kit.  She now uses a dental-grade crowbar to clean those annoying spaces between my teeth that are just so hard to reach.

Sweet, sweet relief!

Heidi the dentist helps a modern dragon with routine dental care.  The dragon tries his best not to breathe fire.
Image credit: very special thanks to @saralhargrave

Read about how frogs soothe (not tame!) dragons.

These days I feel much better about all my gnashing.  Modern dragons brush their teeth, but they still need regular dental cleanings to keep their fangs in tip-top shape.

Thought experiment: If you could be a welder or a dragon dentist, why would you pick dragon dentist?


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