With the exception of the fellow who treated me during the brief period of time I lived in West Palm Beach, FL, I’ve known only two dentists my entire life: Dr. Andrew Federico and Dr. Nathan M. Rumore. The former had been my dentist since I was a child; sometime in the latter part of the 1980s I lost a filling and called his office only to discover that he had retired and turned his entire practice over to Dr. Rumore. Oy. As the lovely and ever gracious Nicole will explain to anyone willing to listen, I have issues when it comes to change in life circumstances, and losing the only dentist I had ever known – a man who knew the topography of every molar and the precise configuration of every incisor and bicuspid in my mouth – was traumatic.
Fortunately, reason prevailed and in 1987 I visited Dr. Rumore at his office on South Main Street in Hackensack. Far from swanky and ultramodern, it was located on the first floor of a nondescript two family house. He was young – just a dozen years or so out of dental school – and I wondered what possessed Dr. Federico, who was one of the most capable dentists in all of Bergen County, to abruptly hand over his practice to one so young.
That single visit answered my question and allayed my concerns: Dr. Rumore’s chair-side manner was and is affable, friendly and engaging. He doesn’t talk TO his patients…he talks WITH them, discussing all sorts of things other than teeth. His easy-going personality disguises a diagnostic technique that is relentlessly logical and precise, coupled with operational and surgical skills that could only have for their basis an innate talent: this man was born to be a dentist and, in my not-so-humble opinion, he fulfilled his destiny. The amalgam filling he replaced stayed put for nearly twenty years and came out only when he removed it to fill the cavity with a composite resin. Nearly a quarter century later, he is still my dentist and though I now reside in Somerset County, I happily make the 36-mile/45-minute trek to see him.
A few weeks ago I made the mistake of chewing hard on a Werther’s Original Caramel. The combination of temperature and moisture in my mouth turned the vile confection into a form of super glue that literally sucked one of Dr. Rumore’s composite fillings – weakened by recent decay – out of a lower right molar, leaving a Winslow-sized crater. In a complete panic, I called his office and a was assured that the cement foundation of the composite filling would offer sufficient protection until he could see me a week later.
On that day, he did the usual full examination (it has been three years since my last visit) and discovered that an amalgam filling in an upper right rear molar had cracked and decay set in. What made the discovery so remarkable was the fact that the filling was one of Dr. Federico’s – put there when I was 15 years old.
As Nicole can tell you, when it comes to pain my threshold is ZERO – reason enough to pray that I am never captured by the enemy, as the mere suggestion of pain would be enough to prompt me to sing like an operatic canary. It therefore pleases me to say that Dr. Rumore is an expert with the lidocaine needle: two pin-pinpricks and five minutes later, you will be able to take a right cross from Iron Mike Tyson and stand there smiling. The drilling was entirely pain free.
Dr. Rumore placed temporary fillings in each of the cavities and actually took the time to phone me a week afterward to see how they were holding up. Does YOUR dentist do this?
Yesterday, he filled the upper right molar with a composite resin. At one point, he had to place a spacer between my upper and lower jaws to keep my mouth open because I kept nodding off. That’s how relaxing the experience is. The other cavity will be filled at the end of the month.
I urge those of you who live within a reasonable distance of Hackensack to call this most excellent dentist at 201-343-7872 and make an appointment to see him.
Now for some dental trivia: how many of you were aware that Doc Holliday – the infamous gambler and gunslinger who joined forces with Wyatt Earp in the shootout at the OK Corral – was, by professional training, a dentist?