Saturday, May 29, 2010

Techie teeth

Happy, fashion-conscious Texas teeth
I snapped the photo above in Quanah, TX, two years ago on the second day of a retirement celebration trip out West. Looking at it now, I can’t believe I asked husband Walter to stop so I could take a picture. Maybe it was the wordplay on the “Tastes Great! Less Filling!” beer commercials, even though the acceptance these days of “less” when “fewer” is called for still makes me want to reach for a red pen and start editing.

I am much more enthusiastic about editing that about dentist visits. After much procrastination I finally made an appointment with the personable young man who has stepped in after the retirement of my dentist of almost three decades. The visit was an encounter with new-to-me high-tech dental paraphernalia.

Once I was actually in THE CHAIR, the first thing I noticed was a nice-sized TV screen on the wall in front of me, perfect for watching a relaxing comedy or travel show. Instead, the featured program was digital images of my teeth and gums, displayed up close, huge and in living color. Not for me the little teeth that are attired in bowties and are brushing happily. Yuck!

My new dentist said the happy news was that my teeth were well-cared for and in relatively good condition. What was alarming was all the bad stuff from the hygienist and dentist about “deep-cleaning” to combat gum disease. It seems that a month of education about proper “home care,” which incidentally is most effective with a supersonic tooth-cleaning appliance, is also in the works. Please bear with me, those of you who have good memories for technical stuff. I will likely not be using dentally approved nomenclature.

My choices are to have a lengthy, expensive procedure occurring over several days and intense home-care training, or—and I am paraphrasing here—to become a toothless hag. Upon reflection it became clear to me that the mean, bitter, fashion-disaster witches of fairy-tale fame were suffering due to the lack of modern technology and education about proper dental home care.

I began to see how a moderately attractive older woman could evolve from a reasonable person to a grumpy, mean creature who stepped onto the slippery slope of the black arts in an effort to keep her teeth. I speak from experience. Contemplating the potential results of my inadequate brushing techniques has already added wrinkles, and I think I feel the beginning of a witch’s wart on the end of my nose.

Right now I’m waiting for a call from the dentist’s office about insurance and the schedule for the procedure. I still have questions: Would my new technologically empowered dentist remove the wart, too? Would my insurance pay for dentally induced wart removal?


  1. Oh the pitfalls of growing older! My dentist has been my dentist for over 38 years. I dread the day that he retires...I hope your home treatments work out for you. Do let us know what happens...Kathy

  2. Arggg, that's next on my agenda too. I have put it off for so long. Now I am paying the price. Perhaps the new techie things will make it more bearable.