Hello again everyone! Can't wait to see how Cheryl finishes off that post about dentures, should be very interesting. Today I thought instead of writing about the usual dental stuff like veneers, fillings or gum disease I'd do something a little different. In my thirty years as a dentist in Oak Park I've had the pleasure of getting to know several thousand people who have come to me for dental care. Some come in only once or twice, many have been patients for many years. Today I'd like to introduce you to one of my long time patients.
Susan Messer has been coming to me for dental care for over twenty years. In that time we've gone from being the parents of young children to being the parents of college graduates, and had many different and interesting conversations in the office. Six months ago Susan shared the news with me that she had completed her first novel. It sounded interesting so I became the proud owner of a signed copy. It was an excellent read; I enjoyed it very much.
The book is titled Grand River And Joy. It's a historical novel set in Detroit in the 1960's and revolves around Harry Levine, the owner of a wholesale shoe warehouse in a racially changing area of Detroit. The complex nature of Harry's relationships with his black tenants, his family and his religion make up the story. As someone who has trouble writing these three or four paragraph blog posts, I am in awe of Susan for being able to write an entire book like this.
Susan was just in the office last week, she told me the book had been selected by the University of Michigan as the 2010 summer book for the incoming freshman class. She is going to Ann Arbor this fall to talk to the students about her book and to lead discussions about it. Congratulations to Susan for this honor. If you would like more information about Susan or the book check out her website at www.susanmesser.net.
Getting to know my patients is one the things I love about being a dentist. I'm interested in more than just your teeth; I want to know you as a person and know what's going on in your life. I think this approach helps me to better care for your dental needs. Have a great weekend!
So I'm sitting here thinking again, which could be a bad thing as we all found out on the last blog. I was contemplating when the first set of dentures was used. I thought possibly our first president, George Washington was the first, but after thorough research I was way of course as usual. Not only was I a few thousand years off, but I also was wrong about George! (I'll explain later.) Before our ridiculously exciting tour of denturific history I need to explain to you why you don't want dentures, if you still have a choice.
When you loose a tooth, or have one pulled because you are too cheap to have it fixed properly, the rest of your teeth are subject to compromise. Basically, you teeth are designed to fit together like pieces of a puzzle. If you lose one on the bottom, the corresponding one on the top will start to move down to find something to snuggle up to. This, my friends, is how snaggle teeth are formed. The next problem that occurs starts when the tooth next to the missing one starts getting lonely too. It wants to move over toward the missing gap to find its friend. When either of these things happen, your gum tissue begins to gather up bacteria (see Please Floss blog for a synopsis on bacteria that POOP in your mouth), begins receding and the tooth is loose. Then the tooth comes out and the process begins again with the next tooth. It's a domino effect that ends with you looking like Granny Clampett.
That's when you get yourself a set of dentures. Sounds great right? Well...not so much. Having dentures is a painful and miserable experience. Your gums get sore, possibly infected, if your dentures don't fit right (a good fit is very difficult to accomplish) they start to move around, creating sores and even more pain. As if that isn't bad enough, your teeth, or lack there of, are still causing an even bigger problem. If your jaw has no teeth connected to it, it starts to disintegrate. That's right, you heard me, DISINTEGRATE. Your teeth give your jawbone a job to do, and that is hold onto your teeth. When there are no teeth connected to it, you are going to see your jawbone slowly disappear. This leads ill-fitting dentures and eventually your denture will fail and you're drinking your steaks from now on.
I think I have to split this into two blogs...you guys are so lucky! Next time I will tell you how lucky you are to live in this day and age when "good dentures" are available and even luckier yet, you are getting this information now when you hopefully still have your natural teeth. Look forward to seeing pictures of and hearing glorious descriptions of DENTURES IN HISTORY! In the mean time, here is a picture of how you might look someday if you do not take care of your teeth properly...you're welcome.
Office Manager/Natural Tooth Enthusiast
A question I have been asked many times in my years as an Oak Park dentist is:" What's the difference between a cap and crowns?" The simple answer is nothing, like the words twelve and dozen, both refer to the same thing. More often than not, people use cap when referring to a front tooth, and crown for a back tooth. Dentally speaking, crown is the correct term to use.
What is a crown? A crown is a dental restoration that covers your entire tooth. Crowns can be all metal, all porcelain or porcelain over a metal framework. A crown is the strongest restoration that can be placed on a tooth and has the potential to last a lifetime.
There are many reasons that your tooth may need a crown but the two most common causes I see in my office are broken teeth and very large, worn out fillings. Both of these problems usually wind up with so much of the tooth missing that it can't hold a conventional filling any more. Rather than being placed into the tooth like a filling, a crown is placed over the entire tooth, which holds everything together. If you choose a porcelain crown, it looks just like your tooth did before it broke or had a filling. Taking care of a crown is easy; you just brush it and floss it like any other tooth.
I know this was kind of dry and technical, I'm sure Cheryl will come up with something more exciting later this week. Thanks for stopping by.
I love the show Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. For those of you who haven't seen it, the premise is that Mike Rowe, the host, goes out and does dirty, disgusting jobs that no one should ever want but that need to be done. He's cleaned everything form Porta-Potties to animal hides. He's chased chickens in Miami, rebuilt locomotive engines in Idaho and milked camels somewhere in the Southwest. He does all these jobs with a very dry sense of humor, but comes away with a sense of appreciation for the people who make their living this way. At the end of every show Mike asks the audience to suggest more dirty jobs for him; and says that without help from the viewers the show would soon run out of ideas.
We posted the first entry to our blog on April 16, thirty posts ago. Cheryl and I have written on a variety of topics, mostly related to dentistry but occasionally straying off topic to things that amuse us. Our goal is to provide you with useful information about dentistry in an informal way that might even make you laugh.
So far our posts don't seem to have sparked much interest, we're still hoping for some comments from our readers. Unlike Dirty Jobs we are not running out of ideas; but wonder if there are topics that you, the readers, are interested in. Help us out here, send us an e-mail or give us a call. We'll tackle any subject remotely related to dentistry that you would like to know more about. We enjoy writing the blog; we write it for you. Give us your thoughts. Thanks.
I was just sitting here thinking about why animals don't have very many dental problems. I'm talking about animals in the wild such as crocodiles, whales, chimps and so on. They don't have a dentist or a really annoying office manager to call them and remind them that their hygiene visit is overdue. Could you imagine, "Excuse me Mr. Crocodile, (knocking on his leathery head) your breath smells something died inside your mouth. You really need to come in and get that checked out." Then the headline OAK PARK OFFICE MANAGER EATEN BY A PISSED OFF CROC IN ONE BITE! But seriously I wanted to know so I did a little bit of research and discovered all the different ways that wild animals keep their teeth clean and healthy. (A real good way to spend my time, I know.)
My buddy the crocodile is the lazy and lucky king of the swamp. According to some scientist chick on the Internet they lay there with their mouth open and let birds pick their teeth like tiny little tasty dental picks. If they get hungry they just shut their mouth and lunch is served. Not only that but they also get 40 sets of teeth in their lifetime. So if they by chance break one during a little feast they just grow a new one in its place. No crowns, no emergency trip to the dentist. How great would it be to have your lunch fly directly into your mouth and clean your teeth, then suddenly, you're full. Must be nice.
Rabbits have it a little bit harder. If they don't chew a lot of hard things their incisors grow out of control. It's kind of funny to think about...some old rabbit lugging around these big honking teeth because they preferred to each marshmallows instead of twigs and tough grass. It would be friggin hilarious if that happened to people. You would know who didn't eat right just by checking out their humongous front teeth!
Then there are the poor elephants. As if they didn't have it hard enough. They have to carry around their huge selves and they only get six sets of teeth. When their teeth are gone they starve to death! What a crappy turn of events for these poor suckers. No dentures, just straight to the grave. Imagine if that happened to us. Sorry Grandma,... or Billy Bob, you're done!
Most animals clean and care for their teeth by what they eat such as the hide and bones of their prey or they have appendages or outcroppings built into their mouths and tongues for that specific purpose. That would be pretty cool if we had those except it might become a little hazardous while making out. And nobody wants that.
Anyway, most animals do not outlive their teeth and that is another reason they don't seem to need a dental intervention. (Oh and their food isn't covered with sugar and chemicals. SEE SUGAR RANT BLOG). We humans are so lucky to have the opportunity to make our teeth last longer than ourselves. We have the ability to choose what we eat, how and when we clean our teeth and to get care for them when we accidentally bite down on an unsuspecting bird or something.
So enjoy your human teeth, take care of them go and see your dentist because you can!
Office Manager/Useless Information Provider