A Teeth-Grinding Generalization

, , , , , | Healthy | August 27, 2018

(I haven’t been to the dentist for several years, but an old family friend — who cleaned my teeth when I was a child — has recently moved to the area, so I go to her for a cleaning. The following takes place with her hands and tools inside my mouth, so I can’t spit.)

Hygienist: “You really need to brush your rear teeth better. I know you can, because they’re clean right now. But your lazy brushing has caused all sorts of problems back here. And you really need to lay off the soda. Really, sugar in general. And high-acid foods and drinks. Soda is pretty much the worst, though. And greasy food isn’t much better! You clearly eat too much fast food, and it’s not good for you. Your back teeth are just falling apart because of all that junk food!”

(Her tirade continues for more than ten minutes. She lectures me like I’m still a child despite that I’m in my mid-20s, before she finally removes her hands so I can pause to rinse and spit. She immediately reaches to start again, but I hold up a hand.)

Me: “We need to get something straight. I don’t eat high-acid foods, or greasy foods. I can’t afford to eat out, even cheap fast food. And I have soda maybe once a month. And while I don’t claim to be perfect, and do occasionally forget to brush before bed when I’m exhausted, I am meticulous about cleaning all my teeth, especially the molars. The reason why they’re so bad off is that I have severe acid reflux. I have had it my whole life. I even had an ulcer a few years back. That’s why I can’t eat any of that crap, and why I can’t help my teeth being somewhat decalcified. Until my doctor and I get the reflux under control, there’s nothing I can do to improve my teeth.”

(I sat back, opened wide, and let her resume cleaning. She was silent for a few minutes, before softly starting to catch me up on the doings of her own kids, who I hadn’t seen in years and was glad to hear about. The rest of the appointment went smoothly after that, and the dentist was informed of my reflux before walking into the room, so he didn’t repeat her mistake. I ended up needing all five of my wisdom teeth removed — apparently I had an extra one — due to extreme decalcification. They were honestly getting spongy by that point. But the visit ended well, and I still go back to the same folks, sans lectures now.)

Has More Than Just Teething Problems

, , , , | Healthy | August 14, 2018

(My dad is a dentist, and his office is a suite attached to the house. As a child, I am home sick from school, and Dad is with a patient. The door to the office chimes, followed by a long bang. By the time his hygienist comes out to check, the waiting room is empty. Meanwhile, I wake up to a man standing at the foot of my bed. I yell in a panic, and he looks strangely at me, and then puts a hand to his cheek.)

Patient: “I know my appointment isn’t until tomorrow, but this is killing me. Can you fit me in today?”

(Sick and scared, I kept yelling until my dad came running in, still wearing his mask. The patient had walked into the waiting room and, finding it empty, had broken down the door between the office and the house. Then, he had wandered through the house until he found the ten-year-old asleep in bed, and tried to reschedule his appointment. My father was furious and refused to work on him. The guy was surprised.)

Will Fight You On This Tooth And Nail

, , , | Healthy | August 5, 2018

(I study dentistry at a dental clinic in France. The dental clinic is split into what we call services: surgery, prosthetics, urgent care, etc. That means that a patient who wants the teeth we remove to be replaced by a prosthesis needs to coordinate his appointments with both services. It’s more complicated than just going to a regular dentist, but in France clinics make you pay exactly what healthcare reimburses, making it free for everyone, apart from “better” acts, like implants. The basic stuff is 100% covered, though, and that’s why poor people come here. Every service is clearly labeled. I have this interaction while working in the surgery service, with a patient who has six teeth left, and NO prosthesis.)

Me: “So, according to your file, we have to remove those three teeth.”

Patient: “But you will replace them, right?”

Me: “It says in your file that you have an appointment in prosthesis; they will take care of it.”

Patient: “But I want you to do it now! It’s in two months!”

(It is rather urgent that his teeth be removed, as they have already become infected in the past.)

Me: “Ah, well, then, we can remove the teeth now, and you can go to your planned appointment. In fact, it’s not that bad; we require about two to three months of healing before we can make a fully-functional prosthesis.”

Patient: “What will I do without my teeth, though? I’d rather stay like this and come back in two months!”

(The teeth we’re talking about are premolars. His front teeth, the incisors, are long gone, as are his back teeth, his molars. The premolars serve no purpose if they’re not surrounded or faced by other teeth.)

Me: “Are you sure? They could get infected again and cause you a lot of pain. They’re of no use to you, you can’t eat with them, and we don’t see them when you smile.”

Patient: “I want to keep them! What would I do without them?”

(I don’t know, the exact same thing you’ve been doing for the past ten years with your six remaining rotten teeth? He ended up leaving and refused any care. Bet he’ll b**** and moan when, in two months, they tell him they can’t do a nice prosthesis for two other months…)

Filling In Her Memory

, , , , | Healthy | July 12, 2018

(When I was a teenager I had two fillings put into separate back molars. The dentist didn’t wait until I was properly numb to do it, and both of them ended up coming out within the next few days while I was just watching TV. My family wasn’t exactly the best and didn’t believe me when I told them they came out, so I didn’t go back. Fast-forward to about a year ago. I’m out on a date, and I bite down with one of the teeth and the whole thing shatters into five pieces. I make an emergency appointment with the only dentist in town that can take me on such short notice — the dentist from before — and suffer for a day or two until I go in. When the dentist comes in and asks me why I’m there, I tell her about the tooth being shattered. She visibly rolls her eyes at my expense and takes a look, only to freeze in shock.)

Dentist: “Oh! It’s actually shattered. You know, that happens when you don’t get your cavities filled.”

Me: “I’d had it filled before, but it wasn’t done right and came out the next day. I was under eighteen, and my family wouldn’t bring me back.”

Dentist: “And you didn’t eat anything you weren’t supposed to?”

Me: “No, it wasn’t my first filling, and I followed the instructions.”

Dentist: “Well, whoever did the filling obviously didn’t know what they were doing.”

Me: “Well, you’re not too far off the mark, since you’re the one who did it.”

(She suddenly remembered me and actually looked embarrassed. She never apologized, but she was extra careful with explaining my options and giving me a crown — making sure I was properly numb this time — and when I went to pay, she’d knocked down the price a bit. This isn’t the only horrible story I have about her, but this was the last time I let her work on me. I’m glad we finally got a new practice in town and I can go somewhere else.)

Wisdom Teeth Require The Wise To Remove Them

, , , , , | Healthy | June 28, 2018

I go to the dentist to get my wisdom teeth out. I have had two shots already and the laughing gas on, no big problem. 

He starts trying to pull one tooth out that grew in crooked and I tell him that it is hurting. He gives me another shot, which should deaden it right then. He tells me not to be such a baby. Then, instead of being gentle and rocking it back and forth to loosen it before pulling it, he grabs a pair of pliers and snatches the tooth straight out of the gum!

He starts doing that with my other one on the same side. I bite the fire out of him. He has the nerve to tell my mom that I “need to be more prepared for a dental visit.” Not when one almost snatches your gums out of your mouth!  

I go straight from that dentist to one that treated me when I was a child. He is super nice, and he helps straighten out what the other one did to me. He takes one look in my mouth and says, “When was the last time you went to a dentist?” I reply, “I just came from one.”

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