Like everyone, I loathe going to the dentist. It’s a universal thing, I suppose. They do great good for the world and clean teeth are of course essential. But, well, you know what I mean. No one wants to be in that chair surrounded by people who are scraping around in your mouth and sticking in electric things and looking for flaws that could require other terrible things to take place like the unspeakable root canal.
This is why I practically have to be shamed into go, and the people at my dentist office have figured this out, so they pester me with every manner of method to make an appointment and stick to it. So I get calls and pings to my phone and reminders. They do everything but send a car to pick me up. If I am determined to miss an appointment, I have to shut off all forms of communication. I’ve only pulled this off one time.
In any case, a dentist in my town seems to have picked up on this problem. And so the entire office has reinvented itself as a spa. A spa! Yes, you can get a tan. You can get a massage. You can get botox. It is all part of general life enhancement. I’ve not availed myself to any of these services but just knowing that they are going on does take some of the edge off.
I was telling Lew Rockwell about this and he quickly pointed out that dentists are far more free market than regular doctors. Apart from the restrictions on who gets to call himself a dentist, they mostly have to get by through providing services that actual people pay for. So prices are posted, for example. You get to choose what level of service you want. There is no long wait to get in. It is a kind of proxy for what things would be like in a market.
And so of course dentists are free to reinvent themselves too, whereas regular doctors face far more restrictions. It amuses me to realize that this reinvention is much closer to the 19th century idea of what a dentist did. As we learn from Rossini, the dentist also cut your hair, gave you a shave, did other medical services, and even set up romances.