Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Capped, crowned and smiling once again

The lovely Miss Wendy has her lovely smile back. It only took two dental appointments and a few hours with our favorite neighborhood dentist, Dr. S.

That’s what happens when you crunch on a crouton that’s crisp and tasty – and, unfortunately, hard as a rock. For a variety of reasons, Wendy asked that I go with her for all the drilling and heavy lifting on Monday. It was an eye-opening experience. Well, actually, Wendy’s eyes were closed for most of the appointment.

But with the blessing of Dr. S and his irreplaceable and charming assistant, I had an up close and very personal demonstration on how to fix a cracked tooth and replace it with a dental crown. Standing above it all, the experience is all together different than when you’re sitting in the big chair! I don’t know about Wendy, but I had a grand time.

Did you know that all the initial drilling is simply to whack away the enamel surrounding the tooth’s dentin and core? It’s not unlike sanding away a peeling layer of paint on a wall – if the wall happens to be tiny, filled with nerve endings and has a huge tongue that keeps getting in the way!

What you’re left with after the dust clears is a smallish post that serves as an anchor for the crown. The majority of the work – the aforementioned demolition; sanding, blasting and creating molds – has much more to do with artistry than science. It’s the sort of work I think a carpenter would be better at than, say, a theoretical physicist.

Of course dental work takes a good deal of focus. Dr. S certainly seemed to be paying attention to Wendy as he worked and we discussed what’s new and happening at the local cinema; his plans to take his entire office to Vegas in the fall; the ups and downs of the Braves, Falcons and the U.S. economy; and the incredibly fishy smell of a piece of salmon his wife recently bought at that oh-so popular specialty market that is bulling its way into our little corner of the world.

But I, ah, digress. Everyone was smiling once again – especially the lovely Miss Wendy – when Dr. S finished up his work. In fact, the only person frowning at the end of the day was the guy holding the bill. Oh, right, that would be me! But, hey, a million dollar smile and a healthy set of pearly whites are worth a few bucks, right?

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