Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Why I don't go to dentists. Or how I learned to save the world and love the bomb

Few will recognize the Dr. Stangelove reference. So be it. Few have the same odd sense of humor I have. Few are reading this because they want to know why....

I gave up drinking sugary sodas back in the late seventies. By that time, I had had 4 cavities and one eventually rotted and caused the tooth to die precipitating a root canal and crown. I chose a gold crown, cuz it was cooler looking. Then, I went every two years after marriage, but I stopped as there were no problems and I adopted the dental regime of my paternal grandfather. The man was a horrific human, bigoted, opinionated (he gave new definition to that term) and just an all around obnoxious person. But he did have nice teeth in his nineties. He brushed with peroxide and baking soda. I started that as well and found no need for dentists. 

But, one time, some thirty-one years after the affixing of a gold crown onto my tooth, the crown came off. I went to the dentist and requested that they apply their special glue and for me the world would be a better place. Nothing ever works out the way one wants it to.

I get into the chair, the technician, a very attractive blond with a winning smile and incredibly over whitened teeth. She takes a probe and begins to insert it between the tooth and gum on the front row of my bottom teeth. I grab her arm and tell her to stop. I don't want that. She tells me the purpose is to determine how much room there is between tooth and gum and what might become of my teeth should there be excessive gaps. I asked her not to do that, and to proceed with the X-rays as I had thought that was the reason why she had come in. That's what the receptionist told me would occur first. She sighed, then took the pictures. I waited, and eventually the dentist came in. 

Slipping the X-rays into the viewer, he starts off by telling me there are gaps in the area between the gums and teeth and this will necessitate a cleaning and planing of the area below the gum line. Four visits to complete all the work, financing available. I ask him where the gaps are. He then takes a closer look at the pictures and points to the two front teeth where the technician had poked the probe in. I pointed this out, I said there only seem to be two teeth where this has occurred, and the gap was caused by the probing and luckily there are no other gaps as I stopped her at two. 

My dentist was silent, but only for a moment. Well now let's look at what's going on here then, he began. We need to grind down those sharp edges and build up some areas so we can get a good impression for a nice porcelain crown there. And we need to work on that little caries there and we can always grind out those other three old cavities and get new porcelain crowns to replace them. And I think we need to remove your wisdom teeth, once that's done you'll have a lot more room in there and we won't have any more problems like this in the  future.

I was actually a little dumbfounded. I had no idea that my mouth was in such poor shape as I have never had any problems in the past thirty-one years. So I stopped the dentist and said, all I want is to have the gold crown glued back on. That's it. OH NO!!!!!  You can't get that done, the base of the tooth has actually rotted a bit and the areas where the crown was attached are gone. There needs to be a tremendous amount of work done to prep your mouth in order to get this to work and not cause any troubles in the future. 

Why do I need the wisdom teeth pulled? To give you more room. The teeth help me chew food, they are not giving me trouble, never had. Why would I put myself through anything to achieve a result that is without any realistic benefit. More room is pretty abstract. Again, silence. But only for a moment. I need to get the other cavities taken care of, crowns are much better than fillings, the root planing is a necessary procedure, the small caries (which is a depression in the upper left front molar and has been there for decades) needs to be drilled out and a crown made. And the wisdom teeth is a normal procedure with lifelong benefits.  And he jumped up and as he left he told me the technician will help with scheduling all the needed work. 

I got up and left. They mailed me a bill for over six hundred dollars. I never paid it. That was fourteen years ago. To this day I have a gap between the molars on the lower right side where a gold crown used to be, but of which I now carry said crown around in my wallet. A souvenir of sorts. I don't drink soda. That right there causes more dental problems than anything else in modern life. I gave up most sugary things long long ago. And of recent years, I gave up all sugars and all processed foods. And that has helped the bone degeneration caused by the intervention of modern medical practitioners that used drugs to treat symptoms and never actually ever attempted to learn the real reason why I was sick. They didn't really care, it wasn't their life they were practicing on. 

So, I drink a pot of coffee a day. I smoke cigars. And my teeth are pretty white. Not like the fancy TV models, but white. I don't have dental problems, I don't have tartar buildup. I don't eat the foods that cause them. And I never use fluoride toothpaste, it says right on the label, don't swallow. If you do, call the poison control center. The tooth gap only bothers me when I eat nuts. And for the most part, my life is a lot better off with out having had to go back and spend a fortune on work that did not need to be done. Oh Dr. Strangelove, what have you taught us over the decades?


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