I haven’t got any profound thoughts for today, I don’t think. However, going to see the dental hygienist this morning for my six-monthly *scrape and exsanguination provided me with a morsel of material to blog about.
I have been going to the same dentist in the centre of Adelaide for more than 25 years! I was introduced to him by a neighbour, who was a fellow tutor and post grad at Adelaide University with me. [He finished his PhD and became a professor at another university; I didn’t finish and faded into oblivion]. Anyway, Philip had been a weird sort of guy who never seemed to take care of his teeth- they looked pretty shocking in his early twenties, but somehow he found this great dentist whom he wasn’t afraid to visit.
When I next needed a dentist, I went along and found this delightful guy who wasn’t many years older than me and he dispelled my dislike of dentists by being very warm, kind and pain-free! Since I had fairly awful teeth in a very small jaw, I had never been given much hope of retaining many teeth as I became older. However, Michael Adams took my congenitally thin enamel and undersized mouth with too many teeth and made it quite respectable! He put veneers over the surfaces that had little enamel and evened out the surfaces to match each other, as I hadn’t had any orthodontic work due to the fragility of my tooth surfaces. No matter that I have never experienced a toothache in my life- I just don’t, he managed to get me into a routine looking after my little pegs so that I have had no new fillings for nearly twenty years! I do need some crowns done, but can’t afford that sort of dental work now.
It’s a big contrast to what happened with my dad’s teeth, way back at the start of the twentieth century. He had terrible teeth and dentistry was pretty brutal. When he got to twenty and most of his teeth were too rotten for the dentist to fix, they decided to take most of them out and replace them with…wait for it…SAPPHIRE IMPLANTS!! Those things they talk about now (and which some of my friends now possess) had started in the 1920s or so, but BEFORE the age of antibiotics to prevent the new implants being rotted out. He had several of these implants done with porcelain teeth stuck to the implanted pegs, of course. He related how they all gradually started to hurt and his gums became infected, so they had to pull them all out again- at great expense too. Dad ended up having top and bottom plates of false teeth for the rest of his life and died at 95 with only 3 natural teeth left.
I’ve continued to recommend my current dentist to people and he has heaps of clients stemming from friends of friends of friends. No one has ever found him objectionable or negative, so he’s a good guy. Unfortunately he is nearing retirement age, has a small fortune in retirement savings and his health is starting to deteriorate a little; you know the sort of thing the over-60s have, like high blood pressure and a bit of blockage in the heart blood vessels etc. This morning he didn’t come into work to check my teeth himself, leaving it to the hygienist (who is obviously just as familiar with things!). I was a bit worried he might have some nasty disease, like cancer, that was gnawing into him as he was absent last time Spotrick attended as well. However, it’s just part of him winding down his practice. What am I going to do for a dentist when he’s gone? I hate the idea of finding a new, gentle, friendly dentist again- why can’t Michael keep working as long as he can stand??? Oh well- life goes on.
*Also known as “Ajaxing”, because of the dreadful gritty stuff they sometimes use to polish my teeth!
For people interested in sapphire dental implants, here is a scientific reference on their safety and durability these days:
Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 1990 Aug;70(2):141-6.
Clinical evaluation of a single crystal sapphire tooth implant in human beings.
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Washington University School of Dental Medicine, St. Louis, Mo.
Single crystal sapphire implants are commercially prepared ceramics of aluminum oxide. These endosseous implants have been placed in patients at Washington University since 1978. The course of patients has been followed closely with periodic clinical and radiographic evaluations. Sapphire is well tolerated by hard and soft tissue and provides excellent abutments for fixed partial dentures.
PMID: 2290638 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]