So, I don’t typically blog about things as boring as dentist visits. In fact, if I started to I would hope that someone out there would correct me and call me a boring sort of person. Wow, bursting with creativity right now, aren’t I?
Back to the point, jeeves. So, I left work early today to make an appointment in Maple Grove for a capping. My previous dentist was an old man who at the end of his career started making questionable judgment calls. I’d like to think that after he massacred my #3 molar he went home, took a long look at his life, and decided to retire. This was the same old man who told me that I should pull a tooth in lieu of a root canal because it was cheaper. His other assessment was that I was 24, apparently had done enough living, and didn’t need to worry about dental complacency. I really didn’t have much of a baseline for good dentist practices as I’ve had a slew of bad ones in the past. My original family dentist had a bit of a cocaine problem and was busted with a large amount of coke in his car. It left him penniless. The only thing he had left to his name was a pair of horrible cut-off jeans which he proudly displayed at the divey bars around Austin proper.
This was the same dentist who would dig around in your mouth like a renegade. I do have to admit I admired his can-do style…He also had a pretty bright smile despite the likely eroding mouth skin after years of cocaine abuse. He always cracked witty jokes and none of us really knew that the reason why we were such good kids, with no cavities, is because we weren’t being properly examined. I have to admit, though, that the constant pressure of having good dental hygiene really paid off every time I came running out of his office with a big smile and a toothbrush screaming, “No cavities, mom!” Little did I know he was probably trying to rush me out of the chair for coke-and-whore time…What a fun guy.
So, you can imagine that my quest to find a dentist in the metro after my recent move in August was a little scary for me. I wanted to find a dentist office that above all had the proper technology. When I received an ad from Brook West that mentioned some free options, I was naturally curious. On my first visit I was able to watch television while they rooted around my mouth. They didn’t have an x-ray machine but rather an imager that showed me a picture of my teeth in realtime. Very cool stuff, it was dentist-love at first site.
I had made some appointments to come back to correct years worth of horrifying dentistry practices and that was today. I trudged through the snow and made it to the door right on time, which didn’t matter anyway because they were a bit behind. I was eventually seated in a very comfortable dentist chair. It may have been a lay-z-boy it was that good. The assistant sat me down in the chair and I felt comfortable immediately. When the doctor appeared I was a bit taken back…She was young and cute, which is way different then prior experiences. Imagine the creepiest guy you know, add a mullet, a mustache, and jean shorts. That is what I used to have hovering over me my entire life. I can say it was refreshing and we all got to talking.
The dentist was rather verbose and it was appreciated. I always laugh inside when I have a suction device, water hose, clamps, metal, cotton, and lasers all mounted in my mouth while someone is making idle conversation. I would imagine that its probably not the same experience without all the mouth gear… We started talking about nerdy things, which I reckon is what she thought I was. She mentioned Harry Potter but said Harry Pooter (Poo – oo – ter) instead. I appreciated the joke as I’m not a big Harry Potter fan. Then, the golden gem hits me in the way of the most innocent reply I’ve ever heard. The assistant overhearing the dentist turned to me and asked “hey, do you like harry pooter?”
I paused for a moment and replied, “um, no I guess.” In my own slightly-perverted mind I had figured that neither of them had any idea what they were talking about. That is until the dentist stopped, turned around from what she was doing and replied, “Did you just ask my patient if he likes harry pooter?”
The assistant replied in a somewhat confused manor, “Yeah, why?” Then a discussion ensued about what pooter meant. With a face full of metal at the moment I could barely contain my laughter as these two grown adults were trying to figure out what a pooter was. The dentist, I think knew what it was but she wasn’t admitting it while the assistant was guessing. “Like, is it where you poot from?” asked the assistant…”Um, noooo.” quipped the Dentist. Back and forth they went for a while. It was an awkward moment for me…I wanted fairly badly to crack a joke but even if I was smart enough to tie it all together I realized I couldn’t use my mouth at the moment anyway, so the message wouldn’t be received.
The appointment progressed nicely. They have a Sirona machine (CERC-3) which is a fairly fast 3d CAD application that runs on Windows XP. It is a all inclusive machine with only a 110v lead to it which tells me it has a wireless connection. The dentist takes a 3d image of your mouth using a dongle that I assume is wireless. Once the picture is taken they start eating away at the decayed tooth until they have the impressionable area ready. They again take a picture so they can compare the starting and current tooth shape. Then, they start modeling a filling. Once they outline the tooth area the system generates a crown close to what is required. Then, the assistant did some dilligent work in creating the full 3d model to scale and shaping everything. They were able to define how my tooth looked, what size the filling was, and appropriate the margins between teeth. Freaking amazing!
I have to say, I was in complete awe. They pressed print and wirelessly the machine in the other room started milling my new tooth. I took the opportunity to email a couple of people the Harry Pooter story and they were back in a flash. We all continued to joke about the now infamous Harry Pooter comment and the topics got kinda worse. I was running everything said through my dirty filter just to make sure that there wasn’t something else I could exploit. Sorry to say that there wasn’t…Although at one point she did mention that she needed some suction over here, which wouldn’t have been funny if I pointed out, probably more creepy than anything.
Soon it was all over and I was out the door, 615 dollars later…Thanks to Delta Dental 40% of the sting was taken off, but man! All these improvements to same day tooth-crowning and we can’t lower the price of a procedure? I tell ya, the health system is screwy!
Anyway, should you be looking for a dentist who isn’t: Handsy, cocaine addicted, and likes to uncomfortably place his hand on your knee, you should visit Brook West in Maple Grove.