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April 30, 2007

Posted by Teresa at 11:21 PM *

Could everyone please see to it that Patrick makes an appointment tomorrow to go see a dentist?

Thank you.

Comments on Reminder:
#1 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 11:25 PM:

You know, the last time Teresa pulled this, it was Usenet outside.

And roughly 47 habitues of rec.arts.sf.fandom immediately confessed to procrastinating about making an appointment to see a dentist.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 11:26 PM:

It was good for them.

#3 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 11:28 PM:

<sheepishly raises hand>

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 11:36 PM:


I only do this when Patrick says, "Make sure I make an appointment tomorrow. Don't let me put it off."

#5 ::: wldrose ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 11:39 PM:

you just want net nag or shall we suggest one also?

#6 ::: Bart ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2007, 11:39 PM:

Allow me to offer you my latest tooth-rotting discovery, Scottish butter tablet, courtesy of fellow VPer Chris Azure. It's like butterscotch fudge, but crumblier, butterier, and more Scottish.

Whatever is wrong with your mouth, it'll make you feel better about making it worse.

If I find a recipe that works, I'll try to bring you some at Readercon. You'll have been to the dentist by then, right?

#7 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:14 AM:

Patrick, as an added inducement, if you don't make a dentist appointment tomorrow, your mouth might not recover in time to eat the truly outstanding frozen custard at Sheridan's in Kansas City over ConQuesT weekend.

#8 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:15 AM:

Teeth matter. Also, the things attached to them.

Make that appointment, Patrick.

#9 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:21 AM:

Frozen custard isn't much of an inducement. Arthur Bryant's, on the other hand...

My basic problem with dentistry is that I almost never need it, since as a rule my teeth break drills. So when something does go wrong, I'm a completely ineffectual dingbat about it. Yes, I realize your sympathy for me on this subject is thiiiiiiiis big.

#10 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:25 AM:

Would blogging about it help? I'm otherwise bereft of an idea for a post tonight.

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:32 AM:

Why not, Dawno? There's no rule that says that Jim's the only one who gets to exhort us to take care of our health.

#12 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:33 AM:

Also, if that spreads, it'll be really funny.

#13 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:37 AM:

It would be a miracle if it spread. I have about 12 regular readers. :-)

#14 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:48 AM:


About half an hour before I read this post, my husband announced that he was going to the dentist's tomorrow. And I said, "Good, while you're there ask them when my checkup's due, I've a sneaking feeling it's around now and I haven't seen a postcard yet."

Make that appointment, Patrick.

#15 ::: Brad DeLong ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:55 AM:

I went to the dentist last week! And had a small cavity filled this week! And while he was filling the cavity, the dentist described watching a movie of another dentist performing a root canal... on an elephant's tusk.

#16 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:06 AM:

Well, the good thing about never drinking cola beverages and not getting to eat sugar is that the teeth don't get holes in them.

Five years without a dentist. No cavities.

#17 ::: madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:10 AM:

Patrick--I say this as one who is approaching Old Friend status, and as someone who has had ten root canals over the years. See the dentist. My brother had teeth that broke drills, until he didn't. See the dentist.

#18 ::: marty ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:12 AM:

I've got an appointment with the dental hygienist tomorrow, does that count?

I've already done the two-fillings-and-a-crown-in-one-sitting, that was last month.

#19 ::: marty ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:13 AM:

I've got an appointment with the dental hygienist tomorrow, does that count?

I've already done the two-fillings-and-a-crown-in-one-sitting, that was last month.

#20 ::: marty ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:15 AM:

what the? first it tells me I posted too often (so I checked, and wasn't there)... and now I see double. Oops.

#21 ::: Yatima ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:31 AM:

Hey, I'm in the Brad de Long club! One minor filling in a back molar this week. My teeth are more composite than enamel at this point...

#22 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:33 AM:

Oh jaysus, I can see this thread very quickly going places that will give me worse nightmares than I have anyway...

#23 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:35 AM:

Seriously, Patrick, go to the dentist. Unless you want to be like me. I go to the dentist religiously now, but that's because 30 years ago I didn't, and 25 years ago I got to have 3 1/2 hours of oral surgery in one go to make up for the neglect. Believe me, this is one situation where a small amount of present pain to prevent a lot of deferred pain is a win.

#24 ::: marty ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:36 AM:

Ah, 1AM posting for the win. (Aussie time 3pm, btw). Following Dawno's lead, Patrick now has a reminder on my blog as well... Let there be a wave of 0-readership blogs, all with reminders for Patrick.

#25 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:37 AM:

Oh, and Teresa? When my older son had to have minor oral surgery we plotted with the nurse to put a temporary tattoo on him and told him afterward we'd put on a real one. I bet you can do better than that.

#26 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:45 AM:

You could use the trick that Prospero the wizard uses in The Face In The Frost by Bellairs, i.e. keep a preserved human skull around as a continual reminder that it's always time to see the dentist.

#27 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:53 AM:

Hell. I went to the dentist last month for the six-month cleaning, so I'm off the hook for the appointment. However, you've succeeded in reminding me that I haven't paid the co-pay part yet.

#28 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:56 AM:

Regular appointments are a good idea. I moved to Seattle 2 1/2 years ago and didn't bother to find a new dentist until early this year. $,$$$, 2 crowns and 2 fillings later...

Although all of this dentist talk has me thinking of Steve Martin belting out Be a Dentist! in Little Shop of Horrors.

#29 ::: FranW ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 02:37 AM:

No, no, Patrick! Don't do it! I got conned into the same thing a few weeks ago. "Oh, it'll just be a check-up." Ha. Ha. It is to laugh. Now, I'm in the middle of having seven cavities filled, two root canals, three crowns, and a bridge. Nearly $6000. Patrick, STAY AWAY FROM THE DENTIST!

#30 ::: mk ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 03:16 AM:

I passed on getting my last two wisdom teeth pulled for several years. I finally got them taken care of (by a dentist who, oddly enough, is afraid of having her wisdom teeth pulled), and things are so much more comfortable in my mouth now. For some reason, though, telling people I was going to have my wisdom teeth pulled seemed to be the cue for them to tell me the most horrific wisdom tooth dental experience story ever. I wish they would have waited until afterwards. My experience went smoothly and I didn't even need painkillers afterwards.

You are at least flossing daily?

#31 ::: Linda Daly ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 05:37 AM:

How ironic. I've had a toothache for the last three days and have been forced to call the dentist after four years.

Go! Better yet, go on Thursday! If I have to go through this, I insist on company.

#32 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 06:02 AM:

In another ten years, the Net will simply know when PNH needs a checkup, and an sf fan dentist will arrive unannounced in the office, saying "I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here, but my PDA says I have an appointment with a Mr Hayden? Do you guys have any signed copies I could have, by the way?"

Machines of loving grace. The way forward, people.

#33 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 08:00 AM:

Last time you did this, you said "YOU! Yes, I mean YOU! Go to the dentist!" and about a zillion people meekly did.

I take it you've had your own teeth looked at since the trouble you had when you were here?

#34 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 08:15 AM:

According to my dentist, who has children in college, dentists really need the money, and so you should go on and make the appointment, because somewehre in New York there's a dentist who has to pay tuition. Or something else expensive.
If you find your compassion for needy dentists is limited, look for one still paying student loans.

Also, dentists need to see people who haven't heard their monologues yet. The office staff get pretty bored, and want new people to come in so they don't have to pay attention and act interested when they've heard the same thing 20 times already this week.

#35 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 08:42 AM:

> roughly 47 habitues of rec.arts.sf.fandom immediately confessed to procrastinating

I had a recent periodontist appointment for root planing, and have appointments with both a dentist and a hygenist coming up. I have excellent teeth.
Sadly the rotten state of my gums for years and the consequent irreversible bone loss in my jaw means there's a good chance several of the teeth will fall out soon, but at least they will be falling out in one piece with no cavities :-/

#36 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 08:43 AM:

Is Montreal bad for your teeth?

#37 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 08:54 AM:

Patrick, have you ever heard of 1976's movie Marathon Man?

#38 ::: Kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 08:56 AM:

Okay, where's Jim MacDonald and his terrifying stories of what happens when you don't floss?

C'mon, Jim, you've got to have something on tap about flaming exploding teeth or cautionary tales about what extreme cold/heat/flood/tornadoes can do to periodontal care?

More seriously, there's only two things that can go wrong with your teeth, but they only ever told me about one until I was 30.

The first one everyone knows about: sugar and acids are hard on the enamel, so you get cavities. Cavities can be patched.

The second one is that flossing matters because it prevents your teeth from falling out. 'Turns out that gums don't like to stick to plaque, so they head south. This isn't a reversible process. Oh, and that's what the annoying 6 month cleanings* are about - scraping off the plaque.

I can deal with some surface drilling, but I so don't want dentures.

*I got the impression that if people really did floss and brush after every meal that this wouldn't be necessary, but who does that.

#39 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 09:42 AM:

You don't need to do the every-meal thing; every 12 hours is apparently good.

I'm actually up to date and regular on my dental appts.

#40 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 09:46 AM:

I'm having the second permanent crown this year put in tomorrow. The dental insurance and the flex spending won't cover everything, but they are very good things indeed.

#41 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 09:48 AM:

I got much better news than I expected yesterday at the dentist, so maybe you will too!

Also, the sooner you go, the less your dentist will "tsk" at you for letting it get bad--I don't know about you, but that tends me make me feel almost as bad mentally as it does physically. I think I have an overdeveloped guilt sense . . .

#42 ::: roach ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:14 AM:

I had a temporary crown put in on Saturday. I still have another crown and fillings that have to go in. This is after about 4 years of putting off dentist visits. After I figured out how much money I'm going to have to spend out of pocket because I didn't make my (insurance covered) cleanings, well I've learned my lesson.

The only solace has been seeing that my wisdom teeth are finally coming in (at age 31) and they're coming in horizontally. I'm going to ask the dentist at the next visit if I can have a copy of those x-rays.

#43 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Speaking as someone who avoids the dentist at nearly all costs until something hurts too much to ignore, I suggest that if the subject has come up, it is time.

#44 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:25 AM:

I'm one of those force-of-habit nerds who goes for a cleaning every six months, without fail.

At my dentist, you make the next appointment at the end of the current one, so you don't get to procrastinate and otherwise fumpher around. They also send a postcard a week before and call you to remind you the day before.

Patrick, maybe your dentist will do that for you, too!

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:28 AM:

I once had a crown that lay on top of not much of a tooth, which eventually wound up with enough tiny fault lines that the crown kept falling off. (I even swallowed it one day during a Discovery Channel special about futuristic weapons, right during the brief appearance of SF writer Janet Morris. Pure coincidence.) I eventually had the whole thing pulled out then, when enough bone had grown back in there, had an implant's screw put in there. Very interesting to feel like a piece of lumber.

#46 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:38 AM:

I have an appointment in early June. That was the earliest opening available when I made the appointment a couple of months ago.

They keep saying they'll do something about the dental waiting times in this town, but it never seems to happen.

#47 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:38 AM:

After four rounds of incredibly unpleasant periodontal surgery back in 1997-1998 (if Jim doesn't chime in, I can have a go at the gory-tale-teller role), I got religion on the dentist. I go every THREE months. I next go on June 13th; the first reminder card is about two feet from my right ear on my office bulletin board. The second reminder card will come in the mail a week or so beforehand. If I don't call to confirm my appointment, my dentist's office calls and emails me.

It's not that I love the dentist so much (though they love me - I've probably financed my periodontist's child's first year of college), but procedures involving terms like "resodding" and "deep planing" make my periodontist just cackle with glee and me remember exactly how little impact prescription painkillers have on that kind of post-surgical pain. More than a dozen novocaine shots and I was still squeaking that I Feel That, Stop, Stop, I Feel That!!! You do not want to have this experience.

Also, you can get little travel-sized toothpaste tubes (that meet the stupid TSA requirements) in bulk from your dentist.

So make the appointment already!

#48 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:40 AM:

My dentist is a miracle worker who keeps managing to find little bits of enamel remaining in my mouth, which he then puts fillings in. If a tooth gets enough non-enamel parts, I win a root canal and crown for a nominal honorarium.

#49 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Patrick, do you use the same dentist Tom and I do? Because he's on vacation next week, I discovered when I saw him yesterday. I have to wait 2 weeks to get my new crown. (Yes, I have a temporary in.)

#50 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:48 AM:

I see my friendly hygienist every four months. Next meeting: July. It's the same people who did my orthodontia, so they know my teeth very well.

#51 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:53 AM:

There was a Far Side cartoon of little Billy waking up in the morning, and finding a dime in place of his tooth, with a note from the Tooth Fairy that went something like "I'm giving you a dime, but, next time, I'm coming with the pliers. Hahahah!!!"

#52 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 11:01 AM:

I've got an appointment at 1:30 for a crown. I've had an iffy tooth for about a year and it abscessed a few weeks ago, apparently setting my face on fire. It started on a Friday evening and was bad enough that I was happy when the nerve died over the weekend.

I heartily endorse making your appointment before you reach that stage.

#53 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 11:06 AM:

So have you called them yet? This is also a good time to quote my sainted mother, who likes to tell her children and grandchildren (over and over and over), "You only have to floss the ones you want to keep."

#54 ::: Jude ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 11:06 AM:

Delurking to offer Brad (@ #6) an authentic Scottish tablet recipe. Very evil, in a good way.

1lb sugar (500 g)
2oz butter (50g)
1 tablespoon golden syrup
5 fl oz milk (150 ml)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Butter a 6 inch square baking tin. Put all the ingredients with the exception of the vanilla essence into a pan (use a bigger one than you think you’ll need, because it bubbles up a lot) and heat slowly, stirring until it’s all melted. (At this stage it looks pale yellow and disgusting. Don't panic.)

Once it’s all liquid turn up the heat and boil it, stirring it all the time until it starts to thicken. Test to see if it is ready by letting a few drops fall into a tall glass of water. At first it will form flattish blobs on the bottom, but once it is ready it will harden almost as soon as it enters the water and will reach the bottom as little round balls with tails (technical term “soft ball stage”).

(Another test is to take it off the heat for a minute and let the bubbles settle. It should be a nice deep brown, slightly darker than toffee but not as dark as treacle toffee. If it’s not dark enough you can always put it back on the boil for a bit longer.)

Once it is ready, take it off the heat, let the bubbles settle then add the vanilla essence and beat it with an egg whisk until it starts to cool. Pour it into the tin and when it has hardened a bit, mark into 1-inch squares with a knife. When it is cold, tip it out and break it up.

You can add rum & raisins, or chopped walnuts, or chopped cherries – if so, do it at the point where you stir in the vanilla essence. But they’re not really necessary.

Relurking now, before the British Dental Association catches up with me.

#55 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 11:16 AM:

Speaking of the British Dental Association... Remember the Monty Python skit about "Lemming of the B.D.A." ?

#56 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 11:20 AM:

I had a friend who was flossing while driving and she got in an accident and flipped her car over and she died because the floss got tangled up around her face and the rear-view mirror and she couldn't get out of the car because the floss (I think it was the minty stuff, which is hard to break when its wrapped all the way around your head and getting in your eyes and stuff) kept her trapped in there and then she was attacked by voles that came right in through the windows which were all smashed from the accident and they just nibbled her down to nothing like that.

So people who tell us we should floss are just telling us a big darned lie and I won't floss if I don't want to because being eaten alive by voles is even worse than bad teeth and rodents are everywhere just waiting to get us.

#57 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 11:24 AM:

I hope that the appointment has been made. I hate going to the dentist myself, but now go for regular cleanings.

#58 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 11:43 AM:

Hm, and what about those little pre-measured flosses that are attached to plastic picks? Run with one of those things and you could put an eye out!

#59 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 11:50 AM:

Could everyone please see to it that Patrick makes an appointment tomorrow to go see a dentist?

Trust, but verify. Has said appointment been confirmed to have been made yet?

#60 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 11:53 AM:

Suzanne (56): Ow! I just had abdominal surgery--laughing hurts.

I missed the reminder postcard from the dentist because I moved recently; the reminder call came while I was in the hospital. Oops. So now I have an appointment for next week.

#61 ::: Frank ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:38 PM:

I soak mine in a dish every night. Had the real ones pulled a dozen years ago and I haven't had a cold since. I even started playing the trumpet again. And no more dentist bills.

#62 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:44 PM:

I guess it's appropriate to repost the Bene Hygienist Litany Against Fear from rec.arts.sf.fandom:

"The dentist is the mouthkiller. The dentist is the little death that brings total plaque obliteration. I will face my dentist. I will permit him to pass over me and through my mouth. And when he has gone past I will rinse the inner mouth to confirm his path. Where the dentist has gone there will be no cavities. Only toothpaste will remain."

#63 ::: sdn ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:48 PM:

hi, patrick. i have twelve root canals and exist entirely on butter tablet, diet mountain dew, and cigarettes.

please go to the dentist.

yr friend, sdn

#64 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 12:51 PM:

mk @30: I passed on getting my last two wisdom teeth pulled for several years.

One of my few claims to Genetically Superior Mutant is 'no wisdom teeth' (never even had the buds). It may also be evidence of Mongolian descent, as apparently this is common in that population.

#65 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:00 PM:

Susan @ 47 - you too? I had a terrible time with the dentist I saw in my teens, because it takes longer for the freezing to kick in for me than he was willing to allow. Eventually he shuffled me into a side office and sent hygienists in every 10 minutes to poke my mouth and check.
He pulled three of my brother's teeth without freezing because 'they were just baby teeth'. But I was better at fighting people off than my brother was.

#66 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:04 PM:

Barbara @ #65:
Me too, I guess. I'd never had any work done other than orthodontics before I started the rounds of periodontal stuff, so I had no experience with novocaine or any other dental goriness. I felt completely betrayed when my dental appointments suddenly turned from relaxing to horrific.

#67 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 01:35 PM:

Rob #64:

My personal claim to Genetically Superior Mutant is practically no plaque. Nobody can ever find it, and the one cavity I ever had was discovered in a wisdom tooth that was already marked for extinction along with the other three. (Seriously overcrowded jaws, and the extraction took somewhat longer than anyone had bargained for, so the anaesthetic ran out. It is *not* a Good Thing to woozily come to in the chair while your dentist is using decidedly unprofessional language to encourage a recalcitrant tooth to extract.)

#68 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 02:06 PM:

PNH - It's about 2 in the afternoon in your time zone. Have you made your dentist appointment?

Get thee to a dentist. GO!

#69 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 02:17 PM:

#65 Barbara -- For a moment, I read "poke my mouth with a stick"!

#70 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 02:30 PM:

joann @67: So can we get patent rights on our own genome? I don't think it looks promising (although apparently your doctor can).

A dentist working on a reluctant molar (short of having her knee planted on my chest), after some time said, "There, I felt it give!" If my mouth wasn't full of cotton, I would have joked, "That was my jaw hinge!" Fortunately, the novacaine hadn't worn off...

#71 ::: "Charles Dodgson" ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 03:54 PM:

I'm another one who went through a few years of ignoring dental work until, well... that ceased to be possible. As it happened, I had a rather large but asymptomatic cavity. Well, asymptomatic until it got large enough that the surface of the tooth physically collapsed.

(The dentist I found, on very short noticed, find enough enamel in the ruins to that he got a filling in. It actually held for a couple of years, but the tooth is now crowned. Same guy, when I ask about further work, says things like "if you insist, we will take your money". Which makes me feel slightly better about getting work done when he does think it's necessary...)

#72 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 04:03 PM:

Rob Rusick @ 70... "There, I felt it give!"

That reminds me of ten years ago when one tooth way in the back of my lower jaw started developing a cavity. It was a rather awkward spot. Since I didn't really need that tooth anyway, we decided to go for an extraction, with me breathing in laughing gas. The tooth had to be broken into pieces with a chisel and even then it was hard to pull out, with a sound not unlike that of a leek being uprooted.

#73 ::: "Charles Dodgson" ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 04:06 PM:

Hmmm... looking at my previous comment, I see a sudden, stark argument for why authors cannot be trusted to do their own copy edits...

#74 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 04:34 PM:

Serge @ 72: Eeeeeew.

One of my friends had a role in a Halloween haunted house for which he thought it would be awesome to have a top hat filled with human molars. As a joke, he phoned up a local dentist and asked whether he could have some teeth.

He was shocked when the receptionist said cheerfully "Oh sure, how many would you like?"

They come in little blue sterilized packets. It's terrific. He didn't quite fill the top hat, but he got quite a few teeth.

Moral: unless you want your teeth to end up as props in a haunted house, in a top hat with mealworms and fake blood, go to the dentist.

#75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 04:45 PM:

Caroline @ 74... Eeeeeew.

Want me to tell you about my gum surgery?

#76 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 05:11 PM:

Caroline @ 74

The ones my dentist removed during orthodontia are in little brown envelopes somewhere in my stuff. (Simple extractions with novocaine - lucky me.)

#77 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 05:57 PM:

One of my regrets is that I didn't keep the cast of my teeth pre-orthodontia. One of the front ones slightly overlapped the other. Another regret is that the braces were of the full-metal variety, not the nifty invisible kind they can use now. 18 months of "metal-munching moon-mouse" taunts probably left a mark somewhere.

#78 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 07:11 PM:

Sorry to be off topic in the midst of such a deep discussion, but I wanted to direct people's attention to the following wikipedia page:

There is a general problem with Wikipedia entries on career editors: inasmuch as their careers are documented, these tend not to be web-ready sources. See my general note on the issue:

Will: the proposal you put on the table is the gutting of an entire profession's Wikipedia entries. Why would you want to do that? I did not bring them here. But when I added tags designating which ones were book editors, Jossi followed me around complaining that the articles were inadequately sourced. I have added some sourcing to a few of the entries, but it is a large and difficult project to dig up the references to support the material on editors brought over to Wikipedia 2 years ago. (Not by me.) --Pleasantville 14:41, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

#79 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 08:42 PM:

I've seen two dentists since Teresa last sent Patrick to the dentist, but neither of them would do anything about the tooth that is now half-gone. They say it has to be done with general anesthesia and I can't have general anesthesia unless I'm definitely going to die without it. The tooth doesn't hurt, but it has kind of tipped in my mouth and my lower teeth are less crowded.

Nobody will take my wisdom teeth out, either, for the same reason, and that would really ket my teeth each have their own spot.

#80 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 08:50 PM:

Ok! I'll make the appointment tomorrow!!

#81 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 08:57 PM:

I already have an appointment, for the 10th. Oh, and my seatbelt saved my life in 1991. My amaryllis is a very different variety, but I'll post a picture when it flowers in a couple of weeks.

Anything else?

#82 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 09:20 PM:

Amusingly enough, in my email today was a note reminding me of my next dental appointment: tomorrow. (It's not so bad; the on-campus dental service has Wi-Fi.)

#83 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 09:29 PM:

Linkmeister @ 77

That's one pleasure (probably dubious) I didn't get: the cast of the teeth 'before'. Metal bands, with wall-to-wall elastic (the power chains and the little teeny rubber bands). Three years worth.

#84 ::: Elyse Grasso ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 09:38 PM:

I've put a reminder for Patrick on my blog :-)

Coincidentally, I went in for a cleaning and checkup this afternoon.

The TMJ that's been giving me hell for weeks unlocked this morning. On the one hand, it meant the dentist couldn't see the problem. On the other, it meant that I was able to accommodate the hygienist (and even the stupid bitewings, which are too big for my mouth) without a strong inclination toward homicide.

I have genetically bad teeth with weak biting surfaces, probably complicated by the water where I spent my childhood. My biting surfaces have not been enamel for years, but by keeping up with things I have avoided the kinds of infections that lead to root-canals.

Pseudo Jim mode: I read somewhere that tooth abscesses were a huge cause of death before the 20th century. And I think at least one of the skeletons featured in "Walking with Cavemen" died of one (It's been a couple of weeks since I last watched the series.).

#85 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:26 PM:

Elyse @ #84: are you being seen by a specialist for TMJ? My "much better news" was going to a specialist who told me that, contrary to what my dentist & the orthodontist she referred me to thought, fixing my TMJ did _not_ require having my jaw cut into two pieces, pulled forward, and then held in the new position with pins.

He's a diplomate of the American Board of Orofacial Pain, which lists its diplomates on its website.

And his treatment may be covered through health insurance, rather than through dental.

Anyway, I highly recommend going to a specialist for TMJ if at all possible.

#86 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:36 PM:

I should note that in fact I already had an appointment for later in May, but it's now moved up to Thursday. One of my tooth has been giving weird twinges when I bite down in a certain way... and I'd decided to stop ignoring it but hadn't yet made the appointment when I saw Teresa's post.

#87 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2007, 10:40 PM:

Since Patrick hasn't posted here about his actually making any appointments, I'm going to go all Jim Macdonald on him.

First, the link to one of many sites connecting poor dental health to numerous disorders including heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and systemic inflammation.

Second, the link to the article on the last guy I know who didn't have regular dental checkups. You may recognize the article, as it ran on Making Light just over a month ago.

Make the appointment. I don't want to have to make an appointment for you. Of either kind.

#88 ::: BRT ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 12:04 AM:

I can't talk. I have horrible oral healthcare habits. My wife has to nag me endlessly to see the dentist. I'm currently saving to pay for crowns; crowns I would not need if I was better about flossing and seeing my dentist on a regular basis.


#89 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 12:05 AM:

So Patrick, have you done it yet?

Talk to me. Queen of Dental Fear. She Who Must Be Drug to the Dentist Kicking And Screaming With Significant Medication For Anything Other Than Cleaning.

Nitrous Oxide is Your Friend. Trust me. Carbocaine without epinpherene is also your friend.

And, if all else fails, I have an excellent, fear and pain-understanding dentist in Damascus, Oregon. He's got me singing the Dental Luv Blues.

(Plus, when he examined my perfectly placed temporary crown that's been there for 25 years, he decided that Life Was Good, and if I Didn't Hurt and Didn't Want To Replace It, I Didn't Have To Do It. One *has* to respect a dentist like this.)

#90 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 12:38 AM:

Weirdly, today at my new job (veterinary technician, oddly, out of the blue) there was a poor old doggy that had to have some teeth out. AND when I got home there was a message on the machine about how I had a hygienist's appointment coming up.

And the whole time there's little brain-me, curled up in a corner of my head, rocking back and forth, counting my teeth over and over again to make sure they're still all there, going "Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew." Tooth stuff makes me, like, batshit terrified.

#91 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 01:32 AM:

Husband came back from his dental checkup with an appointment for next month to have a crown put on the chipped tooth he's been trying to ignore. To add insult to injury, the rest of the filling in that tooth fell out while he was eating dinner, so he's phoning them tomorrow for an emergency appointment to get a temporary slapped in.

Did you make that appointment, Patrick?

#92 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 02:29 AM:

PJ @ #83,
If memory serves (it was 40 years ago) my orthodontist had a small display case of "Before" casts which I suppose he used to show anxious parents just what he had corrected in prior patients.

I'm now having memories of riding my bike a couple of miles from school to Dr. Whosit's office in the dead of winter to have the bands tightened. There was a Burger Chef on my route back towards school, and I'd stop and buy a bag of french fries (hot, steaming french fries!) to deaden the pain.

So, is the appointment set?

#93 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 09:12 AM:

Patrick - when is the appointment? We can all help you remember to keep it.

Teresa - my dentist said she was going to send you a thank you note on behalf of the American Dental Association.

#94 ::: Zeynep ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 11:29 AM:

I had a bridge set with temporary cement since last November. My dentist had said "call for an appointment when it begins to move."

It did not begin to move until last week (some "temporary" cement, that) so I called and had an appointment for today, originally. But on Monday I got a phone call from the dentist's office, asking if I would mind to move the appointment forward to Tuesday morning.

I did not. Good thing, too, because the bridge came out while I was brushing Monday night. I guess when the cement gave, the cement gave.

Now I've got bridge with brand-new permanent cement in my mouth. And Patrick? How about that appointment?

#95 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 03:18 PM:

PJ Evans at 83 - I had those! The orthodontist ran out of the little metal patches that cemented to the teeth and had to do mine with the metal bands. The most entertaining part of the process was that my eyeteeth were in the roof of my mouth. So they had to be 'revealed', and little plastic tabs cemented onto them, with elastics that pulled them slowly down the roof of my mouth until they reached the spot where my baby eyeteeth had been until they were pulled.
This was in grade 12. The drunk&stoned guy who attempted to french-kiss me during the grad party changed his mind right quick.

#96 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 03:33 PM:

Barbara Gordon @ 95... The drunk&stoned guy who attempted to french-kiss me during the grad party changed his mind right quick.

One of these days, I'll find the courage to ask my friend Elisabeth what french-kissing is called in France.

#97 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 04:12 PM:

What the hey, Serge, what's it called in Montréal?

#98 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 11:11 PM:

Barbara Gordon:

The orthodontist ran out of the little metal patches that cemented to the teeth and had to do mine with the metal bands.

I spent nine years in those after they pulled five teeth. Thank you for reminding me of the time I got a soccer ball right in the mouth while wearing them. It's not the pain as the sharp bits get driven into your inner lip that's disturbing--the slam of the ball into your face hides that--it's the itching as you pull your lip away from your teeth and off/out of the curled posts on the bands and the wires that have just torn into the lip that sticks with you.

Did we lose ethan? We may have just lost ethan. Sorry, ethan! With luck we'll get a hamster post soon--I don't think there are many hamster dental stories out there.

#99 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 12:04 AM:

JOYCE, I want your dentist. Here in Kansas Cty. I'm a super coward and I'm afraid my negligence is beginning to happen. And we're so broke and my dental insurance doesn't pay all of many things. BUT extractons don't cost much and cleanings are free so I have to bite the bullet and call some dentists around here.

The Tooth That IS Falling Apart is one that, when it got root-canalled by the dental school years ago: We thought it had been numbed up and they started. They then said they didn't you could say that word with that much crap in your mouth (the f-word, really loud, I thought I was going to die). I got a lot of attention and so much injected dental anesthesia that I had to call a girlfriend that lived nearby to come get me, let me sleep it off at her house and then take me back to my car...

It's my own damn fault, the removal of my lower wisdom teeth was so unpleasant that I waited until the upper ones were tipping my back molars backwards, probably damaging the roots. (When I had the lower ones removed the upper ones were not visible on x-ray. And my mom didn't know that I knew some of the words I was spouting out, mostly variatons of the f-word...In my semi-conscous state I kept waiting for her to just slap my face and say "stop swearing! but i didn't stop swearing despite that...)

Patrick, I hope you have been more sensible...

#100 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 12:16 PM:

Dentist, Schmentist,

Just find a nice African riverbank to lie down on, open your mouth REALLY wide, and let those nice little birds to do their work. Bonus points if you manage to catch and kill some poor, dumb ungulate the middle of the tooth cleaning (Of course, that pisses off the birds since they have to start over, but not too badly since fresh meat scraps between your fangs more than makes up for the inconvenience). Serious points off if you eat the feathered dental hygienists, or if the other crocodiles make fun of your braces or your basking technique.

#101 ::: Bart ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Jude @ 54: Thanks! I'll try that recipe this weekend. I'm assuming that I can substitute corn syrup in equal measure for the golden syrup, which I haven't been able to find here in the southeastern U. S.

sdn @ 63: A balanced diet is important. Have you considered including a serving of ice cream every few days?

Barbara @ 95: "I Was a Teenage Bionic Vampire!"

#102 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 12:56 PM:

Barbara @ 95 and Bruce @ 98

Oh, I got the little metal bits on the front teeth. It wasn't bad, except for the one time when there was a little bit of wire sticking out where the arch wire was fastened on and I actually needed the wax. Surprisingly (for those who've never been through this) the stuff comes off fairly easily. (Then the hygienist spends the next ten or fifteen years telling you about the bits of adhesive that are still there.)

#103 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 06:47 PM:

I score two points reading this.

Point the first: I, too, have no wisdom teeth - the lower ones, that in. I have two top wisdom teeth that have come in at the proper angle, which the dentist has suggested extracting to avoid them hyperextending what with no lower teeth to tell them when to stop, but this was optional and hasn't been done. Since then the dentist has actually consented to fill cavities in those teeth without even asking me "wouldn't you rather I just pulled 'em out?" so that's ok.

I think having only two wisdom teeth makes me a *slightly* genetically superior mutant and entitles me to be one of Rob's henchmen should he someday assemble a mutant army.

Point the second: I've had the gum surgery that involves taking skin from the top of the mouth and grafting it onto the the gum line so as to prevent loss of lower front teeth later. Is that at all similar to the one that Serge is threatening to tell us about? (I hope I'm not stealing his thunder?) Then they took a laser to the frenulum so that it wouldn't pull the new gums down like it had apparently done the old ones, because who wants to go through that all over again? Not me.

Also, I'm up to date on appointments. Yay me. But then I *like* my dentist. Any dentist who will not only consent to fill cavities in benign wisdom teeth but also make it the most comfortable damn dental experience I've ever had, gets no reluctance from me around appointment time.

#104 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 01:37 AM:

Bart, #101, you can buy golden syrup imported to the US. The taste and substance of the syrup is important.

#105 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Bart #101: Where in the southeastern US are you? There are several places in Atlanta where you can buy Lyle's Golden Syrup (for example, Taste of Britain in Norcross --

#106 ::: Bart ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2007, 12:29 PM:

Marilee @104:
"The taste and substance of the syrup is important."
That's something I needed to know. I wasn't sure, from other things I'd read.

Fragano @105:
Central Arkansas. Atlanta's not quite handy. Another reason I should have made plans for DragonCon. :)

I managed to find a local place that sells Lyle's Golden Syrup. They were even kind enough to sell me a second jar, after I bought the first one and knocked it off my kitchen counter at home.

Thank you both for the links! There are a number of things I'd like to try on those pages.

#107 ::: Gabrielle ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 01:59 PM:

Why? Does he have bad teeth?

It really seems that way.

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