Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Modern Health Care: Dentistry

I know I've been lucky with my teeth, very few problems, certainly mainly less than I deserved considering the care I've given them.

I hate dentists.  When and where I grew up, one went to the dentist only when there was a big problem.  I think I went once in my teens.  Then came the Army and I had 2-3 small cavities filled. There was one trip to a dentist in my 40's, ruined by a young know-it-all hygenist who lectured me on tooth care. Sometimes I'm humble, but not that humble.

Finally in my 60's I finally had a crisis--bad wisdom tooth which had to come out.  After that I started seeing a dentist every 6 months.  He was my ideal dentist: had no hygenist, did his own cleaning, silent, we exchanged no more than a couple sentences each visit.   He retired, right when my other wisdom tooth started acting up.  After a couple years I finally arranged to see a new dentist.  On the morning of my appointment, half the wisdom tooth fell out.

I was impressed by my dentist's setup--the x-rays were displayed on a tablet computer, as was each procedure with its (high) cost. Though I didn't like the switch from taking a sip of water to rinse one's mouth to having a suction tube setup.  Anyhow, I got a referral to a specialist for the wisdom tooth, which I used this morning.  My dentist's office was able to email the xrays to the specialist's office, so they were able to extract what was left of the tooth without a prior appointment; total elapsed time maybe 40 minutes from the time I walked in the door.  That's impressive.  Perhaps less impressive is the multiplication of jobs in the field of dentistry, but that's looking a gift horse in the mouth.

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