Bringing pain into the 19th century

It’s a standard comedy trope that dentistry techniques were developed by Torquemada. The only technical advances made since then have been sterilization and making the metal hooks sharper. You’ll be happy to know that’s no longer true.

For generations, those of us who like our teeth have been waiting for something. Some sort of mouth guard that microwaves our enamel and rinses with vodka in about 20 milliseconds, maybe. Dave Barry once suggested a dental laser that would heat our teeth to several thousand degrees. Those both have drawbacks, but either would be better than The Hook.

You can now bleed from any direction! Suck it, acupuncturists!

You can now bleed from any direction! Suck it, acupuncturists!

Unfortunately, the hook is still with us. It’s a recruiting implement for dental colleges everywhere, and is fully backed by the soulless visigoths at Big Floss. What’s gone is the polisher — you know, the tiny 5000rpm floor buffer they use to remove any fragments of gums the hook missed.

Farewell, friend. You taught me how sensitive my tongue is.

Farewell, friend. You taught me how sensitive my tongue is.

“They got rid of the rotary sander?” you ask. “Have dentists become more humane?”

HAHAHAHA! You’re adorable. You should smile more.

Dentists have found something better than the polisher. I don’t want to give away what it is yet, but it rhymes with “rand faster.”

"I couldn't rand any faster if I were reciting Atlas Shrugged while slapping a Mexican!"

“I couldn’t rand any faster if I were reciting Atlas Shrugged while slapping a Mexican!”

Okay, I’ll tell you. Some dental device manufacturer drove by someone doing this:

All he needs is a little sink next to him

All he needs is a little sink next to him

They aren’t literally sandblasting our teeth, of course.   They’re using baking soda and salt with a hint of mint. It feels like sand, but tastes much worse. The hygienist said “you’re going to love how your teeth feel,” which is true. They feel fine. Extremely fine. I have them in a salt shaker.

The little porcelain spittoon is gone, too. Now they have a little suction thing called The Hickeynator. It’s a shame, because leaning up to spit was the only time I ever did any crunches.

Progress! We may have despaired of dentistry ever moving out of the Dark Ages, but we have been proven wrong! Sand blasting was invented in 1870, so we have left behind the old Inquisition-era type of pain. This new pain is totally Victorian.

Be sure to floss! They have ways of making you pay!

4 Comments on “Bringing pain into the 19th century

  1. SAY AHHHH!

    My dentist quit using the sodium bicarbonate blast o’ death when people started complaining about having a fine grit all over them, which she CLAIMED was baking soda. After reading your article, I realize it was my teeth.

    We are now into some sort of high powered water jet, not unlike the ones George Wallace used to keep Negro children from entering Alabama colleges in the 1960s.

  2. Yeah, I didn’t mention that. When you’re done with the dental sandblasting, you are somewhat less pristine than when you walked in. It’s a little like trying to get a sip of water from a fire hose.

  3. I spent the morning at my dentist getting a crown replaced. I was curious, morbidly so, about the process by which they would remove the crown. My temporary crowns have popped off before but the permanent ones have lived up to their name and I had spent far too many hours in the last few days contemplating how they were going to take that sucker off. It is a testament to my lack of imagination that I still didn’t come up with what they actually did.

    What did they do? (you might ask)… they drilled a slot in the side of the crown and then stuck a small screwdriver like implement in and, with admonition that I would hear a popping and grinding sound that was perfectly normal, they levered it deftly off the nub of what is left of my back, left, bottom molar.

    I’ll take some sandblasting any day of that crap thank you very much.

  4. Ew.

    I have a bridge in my mouth that I am probably getting replaced soon. The high-tech solution for that? Using their ubiquitous hooks as crowbars. Once they bring that into the Victorian age, I imagine there will be a complex pulley system and a priest nearby seling indulgences.

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