You know, there are just some things you shouldn’t see up close. In fact, if you never had to ever see ‘em, you could die happy. Last week, I had the dubious pleasure of gazin’ upon one of these things: color photographs of my back teeth.
Technology is part of this, of course. I mean, just ‘cause it is possible to see your back teeth up close, doesn’t mean you should. Like the photos of my colon the gastroenterologist sent me home with last year. What was I supposed to do with those? Make Christmas cards out of ‘em?
Anyhoo, I bit the bullet and went to the dentist last week. I confess, it had been a year, so I was due.
The place has changed a lot since Dr. Ryder retired. Dr. Ryder and me went way back. He was kind of “old school,” more like a car mechanic who’s trying to save you money.
“I could put a crown on it, Ida, but I think there’s enough tooth for us to get by with a filling. It’ll be a big one, but it’s on a molar, so no one will notice.”
Come to think of it, sometimes Dr. Ryder’s technique was more like a car mechanic, too. He’d have his hands in your mouth, trying to strong arm something into place and I’d hear Patty his assistant in the background saying, “Easy, Dr. Ryder. There’s a person attached to that mouth.”
Well, you should see the place now. This young fella, Dr. Dorfman took it over, and he redid the whole practice, with new paint and carpets, jazzy artwork on the walls, and, of course, the latest equipment. Plus, there’s dental school to pay for, so he’s very big on selling you his “treatment plan.” I think that’s how they’re training ‘em these days. Let me tell you, Dr. D’s an artist, the way he matches tooth color and size. And he’s real gentle. Why I remember when I shook his hand at the meet and greet, his skin was soft as a baby’s.
Becky my hygienist is still there. What a sweetheart! She did the x-rays and that gum pokin’ thing, which I hate, and on to the scraping and polishing. Then she said, “I’m going to take pictures of your teeth so you can see what I’m looking at.”
“OK,” I says, a little nervous.
Becky had this little camera on the end of a flexi-cord, and she fooled around in my mouth with it, snapping shots and recordin’ them on her computer. (Gone are the little paper charts with illustrations of teeth. Now it’s all there on the monitor, right in front of you.) Then, she showed me the pictures. Boy, oh boy, was I ever shocked! Unlike an x-ray where it’s hard to make out what you’re seeing, with the photos you’re actually looking at your teeth, up close and personal.
“See how this molar is mostly filling, and there’s a bit broken off there?” Becky says. Then, “You can see here where you have two teeth with different kinds of fillings almost butting up against each other. And it looks like there’s a hairline crack, right here. This is an area of concern, Ida.”
Area of concern, I’m thinking. You bet I’m concerned! How did those big yellow horse teeth get in my mouth? My front teeth are normal size and pretty good looking. (I use them whitenin’ strips.) But apparently in the back I have big, yellow horse teeth, with fillings that are hanging on for dear life.
Those photos are a great sales tool, though. I couldn’t sign up for my “treatment plan” fast enough. $10,000! But, we’re going to chip away at it bit by bit. We start phase one in January. I’m thinkin’ a couple teeth a year for five years, and I’ll have a movie star mouth by 2021. It won’t be attached to a movie star body, of course but what can you do?
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
Coming up in November:
November 14, 21: I Married an Alien, 7:30, Camp Calumet, Women’s Weekends, West Ossipee, NH