Could I start a new toothless fashion fad?

Is going toothless an option? Seriously, I would be a wealthy woman if all the money spent on my teeth over the years were in my pocket. Yesterday, I watched another 1300 shekels fly away and only one tooth got fixed. On June 5th I get two more done and I’ve still got the specialist for the rogue root canal to see and who knows what that is going to cost.

I did get to see my umpteenth dentist do more than a double take and have a mini freak out over the tooth that was about to be fixed. As he was doing the pre-exam I could hear him murmuring to his assistant things like ‘muzar meod meod’ (extremely strange) and a number of other things that would have been extremely alarming if I hadn’t heard them so many times before, and then ordering all sorts of special tests. Wait! Just hang on, are you talking about my eye tooth? Yes, there is a real problem. It isn’t shaped correctly, the root is incredibly short, it…yeah, yeah, I know. It isn’t an eye tooth.

When I was a kid, an incompetent dentist decided to pull both my eye teeth to fix an over-crowding problem when the teeth that couldn’t fit started popping out in the gums above the adult teeth that were already in or the baby teeth that were refusing to fall out on their own and make way for the adult arrivals. He guided two pre-molars into their place and then did some ‘artistic’ filing to make them look sort of like eye teeth from the front and filed the back half of the molars down to mere nubs. It first befuddles and astounds and then produces apoplectic responses from every dentist who has subsequently taken a good gander at them –that has been a lot of dentists. I’ve had a couple of dentists who refused to believe that these two teeth were not simply naturally deformed abnormalities because they could not fathom that a dentist would do this — I promptly said thanks and bye to them without letting them touch my teeth further.

It seems el incompetanto violated the number one rule in dentistry that you never, ever take out an eye tooth unless there is no choice (e.g. the tooth itself is toast) and you sure as hell don’t take out both. The eye-tooth is a critical tooth since it plays the most important role in your bite. Because they have the longest root amongst all teeth, they can support very strong forces from your muscles of mastication. The shape of the eye-teeth will guide your jaws and the rest of your teeth in proper position when biting and are critical to a variety of other gum and bone health factors. Yeah, well.

My current dentist is a good dentist and he didn’t just take my word for it. He took additional x-rays and spent considerable time examining that tooth and its’ twin before saying yo, she is right, they are both pre-molars. It still took a lot less time and expense before he came to this conclusion. This is where having a good grounding in psychology comes into play.

People tend to see what they expect to see and try to fit any deviations into their expected view. A dentist sees a tooth in the position where an eye tooth should be, it looks a little bit like an eye tooth, and he knows that it is extremely unlikely that the eye tooth would have been removed and replaced by a pretender and so tries to understand what he is seeing in terms of what he knows about eye-teeth without considering other options. You then introduce the idea that maybe he is actually looking at a pre-molar and suddenly everything starts falling into place.

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3 responses to “Could I start a new toothless fashion fad?”

  1. Larry007 says :

    I neglected my teeth for a looong period….about 10 years.
    Finally I went back to the dentist last winter and since then I have regular appointments. I’ll need to have 6 or 7 implants, 3 root canals and a lot of other treatments. In case everything goes well, it will cost ~75000 shekels(22000$). If more problems will be discovered, it will cost more… Should I treated myself when the problems were small, I would never got myself in such a situation. My advice is to go to dental treatment before it gets worse.

    • tddpirate says :

      I am not sure you’d save money by treating dental problems earlier.

      Treatments need to be renewed after several years. Eventually all your teeth end up in the trashcan and you need false teeth.

      The only advantage of early treatment is that your dental expenses spread over longer time and you’ll not need as many emergency treatments.

    • Lynne says :

      Larry007, I did the same thing. Unfortunately, my teeth looked perfectly fine, not problems evident, but there were underlying problems requiring root canals and lots of tiny cavities that were hidden from view. In my case, I started with the most pressing and worked down the list of things to fix until these were all fixed. I sympathize with you.

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