Monday, August 29, 2022

Today I am thankful for modern dentistry

I spent my early morning sitting in the dentist's chair.

My dentist is an early riser. So am I.

He values his time. So do I.

So when I had two teeth in my upper, right jaw that needed crowns but insurance that only covered part of the bill, I suggested that he repair them both as an efficient use of his time.

His billing person sharpened her pencil. Doing them both at once involves certain efficiencies such that it requires less of his time than doing them separately.

The new estimate was adjusted downward, although still more than what my health insurance covers for the year.

Today was the prep-work. I was in the chair from 6:55 AM until 9:30 AM.

My opinion is that I want to get ahead of my disintegrating teeth because I don't want to get in another lock-down and have one of my molars disintegrate.

Odd facts

External fixation screws for fractures were developed by an Army dentist.

One of the dental officers who was killed during WWII was Capt. Benjamin Lewis Salomon. He received a Medal of Honor for his heroic action on the island of Saipan on July 7, 1944. Salomon killed 98 Japanese soldiers and received several bayonet wounds and 76 bullet wounds. (Bad to the bone!)

One requirement (left over from the Civil War) was that inductees have at least two sets of matching, front teeth and at least twelve teeth (total). The front teeth requirement was from the days when the soldier had to rip open a paper cartridge with a pre-measured amount of black powder with his teeth. Later, it was handy for movie stars pulling the pin on grenades.

It was common, even into the 1950s for adults in their twenties and thirties to have all of their teeth yanked and dentures installed. Novocaine? We don't use no steenkin novocaine!

Dental infections were a major, proximal cause of death.


  1. Dental infections can still kill - I lost a high school buddy in 1987 to a dental infection - he was 25 years old. We'd grown apart - I've always wondered what else there was to the story.

  2. some amish get all their teeth yanked and dentures a young age too.

  3. Some medications have as a potential side effect, Dental Cary. In other words the potential to rot your teeth. Happened to me several years ago. So I got my bad teeth yanked out and got dentures, which I can no longer wear because they make me choke and gag. If the cost wasn't so high, I'd try implants, but most insurance doesn't cover implant surgery, although they will pay for the dentures.

    1. Probably telling you what you already know, but ...

      If they're making you gag, they're either overly extended in the palate and can be "trimmed back" (from the uvula), or they're loose and causing gagging when they move, using a OTC "relining" compound (or some use thermal polymorph type plastics) may help. Using a fixative helps too of course.

      Either way most denture fitting stipulates a length of coverage to allow for the receding of swelling and bone post removal (something that can take over a year). So? Check to see your dentist isn't failing to abide by the contract if they aren't checking/relining or providing replacements as necessary.

    2. Oh, and if you have 'full' dentures (ie. no teeth) why attend a dentist at all. Find a dental technician, they're cheaper (by far) and since they're the ones who are fabricating the dentures anyway, they can do a much better job with direct contact, instead of second-hand "interpreted" through your dentist.

  4. And still are in not only parts of the USA, but worldwide!

  5. Years ago I worked with an old carpenter that was in the Army. He was on a troop transport on his way to Korea when the war "ended".
    Stationed in Alaska, the base dentist suggested pulling all of his teef and replaced them with dentures. regretted it his whole life.

  6. Learned not all that long ago that gum disease has become directly related to other forms of disease (inflammatory and otherwise) in the body. I was fortunate and had parents that drilled dental care into me.

  7. I had a back molar fracture a few months ago. Thankfully my dentist could work me in the next morning. Luckily the fracture turned to the outside of the tooth soon enough that a crown was an option. This office has a 3D laser scanner and milling machine that can map and create the new crown fast enough to get it in place before the initial numbing wears off. It is close. I was starting to feel it at the end. The one stop visit is really nice.

    In all cases dental related I am very grateful for the technology we have today. I have had enough fillings and repairs that my life would have been considerably more painful had I lived in the past.

  8. Now is the best time to get dental work taken care of. Most people don't think of their teeth....until they cause them pain.
    But there is no guarantee that dental care will be available in the future. And life with bad teeth is a misery.

  9. I got a crown done this year. I was too lazy to go abroad for a single crown, but I regretted it when it ended up costing nearly 1000 Euros. Our insurance covers a lot of things, but not fixed replacements.I had most of the upper ones crowned about ten years ago in the Czech Republic, and I think they cost 3000 Euros for 11 teeth, something like that.


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