Saturday, December 30, 2006

Palatal Lesion!

Here's what I posted already to Yahoo Answers....
Hi! This is driving me nuts! OK, I usually get sick on vacation - immune sys. shuts down and I spend half of the time buried in a tissue box. This past week, no exception - started w/ sore throat xmas eve which has persisted 6 days. in b/t, have had rhinitis, sinus pain 'n congestion, cough. I've tx'd w/ lozenges, Vit C, fluids, boatloads of ibuprofen and a few tyl and/or tyl sinus here 'n there.

OK, so far, par for the course. Virus, cold, whatever (btw, i did have flu shot one mo ago...). YESTERDAY, I noted a slight swelling upper hard palate, ant. to vibrating line and 5mm medial to #s 2 &3. today, more swelling, lesion is maybe 3x5mm w/ a smaller 2x2 adjacent. tiss is slightly erythematous, dome-like, non-ulcerated, v tender to palp. no exudate.
my differential so far: salivary? lymphatic? drainage from sinus inf?? it is quite sore and thobs a lot. Any thoughts? (flew Ohio to Bos Fri AM and spent week driving 'roung OH/MI....?) Any thoughts?

Additional Details
8 hours ago
OK, i know it's not traumatic, as there's no ulceration. Secondly, I do have a very slight hx of H. labialis - the prodrome tingle and then lesion, tho' that's only occurred 2-3x in my life (mostly in school, i might add...). But again, there's one dome-ish lesion that MIGHT look herpetic, tho' the large one is nothing like....
They are still there going on 36 hrs but they are less painful than yesterday eve. also, i slept for like 14 hrs last night, so that was maybe helpful.
0 seconds ago
Yes, I considered the parulis/fistula possibility w/ the palatal root....but this is WAY up on the vault - almost adjacent to the midline and not on palatal of the alveolar process.... plus tooth is totally assymptomatic - no hot/cold or percussion sensitivity and no resp to attempting to move indiv. cusps. I have not had a chance to get to the office for a PA however....and I do probably have a good sized comp in there.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


I'm going to take a stab at getting noticed by spiders. Let's see what happens:

(oh, and don't click on these; they'll just take you here. and you're already here. why leave?)

dentist blog

dentistry blog

nate swanson

nathan swanson

nate swanson, dds

and now we'll try these:

dentist blog

dentistry blog

nate swanson

nathan swanson

nate swanson

nathan swanson

dentist blog

dentistry blog

Sunday, December 17, 2006


OK, so last week I had the strangest experience I think I've ever had.

Not dentally related, but still...

It was unseasonably warm, so I was enjoying a coffee and reading a new book on a park bench before heading to work.

The sun was shining, a light breeze was blowing and the birds were singing. I felt a soft tap on my shoulder and realized that the birds were not just singing, but pooping on me as well. Nice.

(this is the point in the story where a number of listeners quickly point out "That's good luck!")

Funny you should mention that. So, I stood up and headed for a store where I could attempt to clean my jacket in the restroom. Not two steps away, on the ground in front of me and with no one else in sight, I noticed a crisp new FIVE DOLLAR BILL! Well, that's not a bad trade-off. Especially since the bird-doo easily cleaned off the soft leather jacket.

But that's not super's not as ironic as, say, winning the lottery, running out into the street to celebrate and getting hit by a truck. No, what was most bizarre was the book I was reading.

It's a collection of short stories entitled "Things Fall from the Sky."

I (bird) sh-t you not.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Put yer money where yo mouf iz!

Well, another career milestone has been reached. We all remember that first filling, first extraction, first bridge.... but now...

My first grill! Yep indeedy. For those of you who are over 30 and/or oblivious to some of the finer points of hip-hop culture, a "grill" is a piece of mouth jewelry worn over the anterior upper teeth.

They were popularized by Nelly's '05 hit of the same name. "Smile fo' me daddy/ Let me see yo grill!"
(I won't quote the whole song, but mad props to rapper Ali for rhymin' "da bottom" with "Hillary Rodham")

Anyhoo, here's some examples!

And in action!

Here's the one I did (sorry about quality; i just had my cell cam on me!):


I will admit that I had nothing to do with the external surface of the appliance - he just brought it to me and said, "Can you make it fit?" So there ya go. One more service offered. I'll let you all know when I come up with the ADA fee code for that.....

I originally tried to line it with Quick Bite, which is just a bite registration vinyl material. Too brittle. I ended up actually using VersaTemp, which is pretty strong but has a little flex to it. We'll see how long it lasts!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oooh, Toothbrush recycling!!

OK, So, after watching Will Farrell brush his teeth religiously in "Stranger than Fiction," I was cued in to the BRUSH he was's a Recycline curved brush! check it out:

Recycline Products!

I'm so stoked. I can buy brushes made from recycled yogurt cups!! Whoot. Now, everyone can improve their hygiene whilst saving the earth. ohyes.

I can apparently order them by the gross AND get them imprinted with the practice name. Yippee ky yay!

HEY! If you're visiting from Yahoo Answers, Please, leave a little note! Would love to hear from you.

More dental hijinks to follow....

Friday, November 17, 2006

Dear Abby....

...Hey, I just discovered the Yahoo interactive answer pages....
People ask all sorts of questions and those (hopefully) knowledgeable reply - and quickly! Very impressive. So I'm going nuts giving my (solicited!) opinion.

***If you are visiting my blog and were referred by the Yahoo site, let me know, leave a message! let me know what other topics interest you in terms of blogging and dental!

Anyway, and Yahoos referred here from there - Welcome!.

Others, go check out:
Yahoo Dental Questions

Later, kids!

Friday, November 03, 2006

CSI...shame on you...

Sooooo, I'm watching the greatest show on Thursday night.... and there's this bit where they notice that this missing boy's grandfather is missing some teeth. They show a close up of upper Left part of the guy's mouth... he's clearly missing #6 and 7 or maybe 5 and 6. LATER, at an abandoned house, they find what looks like a 2 unit porcelein bridge... which is weird, cuz what's the point of that? if it's two units, why connect? the guy was missing two teeth, so it wasn't a cantilever.... also, when they showed the bridge, there was some sort of wire linking the teeth, presumably on the lingual.

BUT, it clearly wasn't like a Nesbit type appliance. That would look like a spider. So I think they just made it up and wrote off the intelligence of their dental viewing public.

Another time I was watching SVU and the "coroner" made reference to a deceased victim's "detention." Five minutes later I grasped they MEANT "dentition" and had butchered it...either the writer or actor and no one caught it. or cared.

That's why Finding Nemo was so good...They had an educated debate about the merits of Hedstrom v. K-Flex endo files! ooh, I get chills just remembering how my jaw dropped and I thought, "Wow...they made a joke that .003% of the population could grasp!" amazing.

Friday, October 06, 2006

yay my space.... i have this random My Space page that I started on a whim (Dude! you're 30! quit it!) yes, I know, but still... who knows... well, today I found some friends from HS which is amazing cuz I'm SOOO not in touch w/ anyone from there. neato.

Sooo, Tiffany and or Rich...if you're reading this... HEY! check it out! I'm a dentist. how nutty is that?

Ahem. I have to maintain a level of professional propriety! (Which, admittedly, is tricky when you quote chapter and verse of Monty Python whilst performing oral exams....)

In the world of My Life, the practice continues apace. I'm going to see a chiropractor on Monday, which is a first, and an hour later I'm getting a MANICURE. Um, also a first.
After that, it's off to the bars with the rest of the flaming guys... Oh wait.... lol.

Seriously tho', I do some bad stuff to my hands, and worse stuff to my back, so hopefully i'll be all fixed by Tuesday. la.

anyway, talk to all ya'll later...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Extreme Makeover....

.... Dental Staff Lounge Edition! Pow! Kazam! After watching non-stop TLC and HGTV, we assailed the back room of the office. Previously, there was an old rectangular table and four metal deck chairs. Some old dishes. Various communal snacks were in an old Crest box with torn edges, while magazines were stacked on a ledge off to the side. The only decoration was a picture of a lighthouse. (A good picture, actually, but kind of lonely...not unlike actual lighthouses, I suppose.)

Sooooo.... Several hundred bucks at K-Mart, TJ Maxx, Marshalls etc later (oooh! Expense account! yay!) we had new dishes, some racks to organize them, lovely baskets to organize magazines, tea and the like, a new bulletin board (the old one was just a large piece of ceiling foam, I think, like you place around your fluorescent lights...) two paintings of butterflies, three plants (one hanging in the corner, natch), new curtains and a small area carpet to lighten up the industrial rug. The recycling (a cardboard box, appropriately enough, I guess) and the trash are now identical white receptacles with flip-up spring-loaded lids. I replaced the regular clock with a square wooden homemade, hand-painted clock, which was a gift from a denture patient at the non-profit. It features some geese flying over a wooded pond area, and is quite good considering the artist is 79, and suffers from COPD and emphysema.

Most importantly, the Off-Price Furniture store had a nice little table. Lightly stained, it has two small drop leaves and two chairs; the other two are en route. My colleague, Dr B, dropped by whilst we'd replaced just the table and called my cell enthusiastically.... I said, Oh, just you wait.

Photos are hopefully forthcoming!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The unkindest cut....

Sooooo, yesterday I had to let an employee go.

She was hired a week before I bought the practice and basically "wasn't a good fit" as they say. Not entirely fair, to be sure, but unfortunately as "prospective" owner I wasn't consulted when she was hired shortly before I bought the operation...

Anyway, easily the hardest thing I've had to do in my professional life, right after telling that one patient she had oral cancer....

What makes matters worse, was on the way home, I slowed down to pass a flashing-light cop car pulled on the side of the road....yup, it was her. Talk about bad to worse! Hopefully she told the officer why she might not have been driving well and he let her off!

On a slightly uppish note, the darts team was down 4-1 and managed to win 6-5 so I guess that was nice, but I couldn't help but be distracted. I guess I hope I never get used to that kind of thing.

laters all....

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Time flies when you're being driven insane....

Hello! not much pin-action here, tho' I recent trip to Ohio netted me some valuable face time with loyal bloggite (and hip, chic Reverend-A-Go-Go on the go) Don. Yay!

ok, after selecting (sorry supporters! that included Rachel for what it's worth....) our next decision relates to our (sigh) slogan. I think it's really more of a "tagline" but whatever. I tried to upload the future phone book ads, but I think it was too big a file and I'm too dumb to shrink it down....

So we have the header reading "newmarket dental" and beneath it reads one of two things:

A - {We make a practice of caring}
B - {Caring is our practice}

what we're tyring to do is emphasize that while we may not be the fanciest practice with bleeding edge technology, nor the fastest workers, we DO listen to people and treat them as more than a mouth with a wallet.

We don't try to force "ideal" treatment plans down someone's throat (that's what mirrors are for)...we meet them where they are, explain options and let people make informed decisions. Surprising how many practices don't follow that model...

So let me know what you think....

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It's time for a Web Site! Vote!

Hey, loyal bloggites! now's the time to have your 2 cents registered in my newest endeavor.

Having decided to name my newly purchased practice "Newmarket Dental," I'm working on the website.

(note: I realize Newmarket Dental exhibits all the creativity of Tarzan and Jane calling thier son "Boy," but I think for purposes of Google -ing, it might be best!)

SOOOO, is not available. we even tried to inquire to buy it but no response. hm.

I've considered,, (awkward!), and even, which one friend advised sounded creepily like an online personal ad..... "SWM dentist in newmarket, ISO friendly, educated "assistant." Must be proficient with suction. Non-flossers need not reply..."

anyway, we shouldn't go there, should we.... Anyhoo, we've settled on (which keeps the oh-so-popular Dot Com!) orrrr

there ya go. Let me know what you guys think!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Official statement of Location!

Hey - it just occurred to me that people might be trying to locate me on the web and since Newmarket Dental doesn't have a website yet (Rachel! Meghan! ahem!), I'll just mention it in case folks turn up here...

I'm at 80 Main Street in Newmarket. Phone number is ....well, just look in the book under Chris Batt. That's us! (new ad coming soon; worry not!)

here's some tags, just in case:

dentist blog

dentistry blog

nate swanson

nathan swanson

nate swanson

nathan swanson

dentist blog

dentistry blog

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Get that f---ing thing out of my mouth, dumb---! what a 15 year old girl said to me today. She cried and whined...looked 19; acted 7..... cussed me out and gave the ol' "I don't want to be here! I don't want to do this!" OK, so leave. don't get yoru teeth fixed. but here's what's going to happen...more decay, pain, extractions or root canals.... "God! Why do you have to talk to me like I'm a baby!" ummmm.... "Well, I don't assume that people know all that stuff, so I try to explain it. i'm not trying to be condescending, but you deserve to know..."

"I'm not stupid!" oooh kay.... "But you said, 'I don't want to do this' and..."
"Why does everybody always twist my words! You guys are all the same."

So I was liek 30 seconds away from dismissing her from the practice in like, my second week. I had to put up w/ that crap in school and in the non-profit - But guess what, beeyotch.... I AM the man now, and you can't pay me enough to put up w/ that s--- from a teenager. a five year old, hey, they're irrational, I put up w/ some grief...even the 10 year old I had to pull a baby tooth on last week. fine. but not 15.

Anyway, when I came back, she actually said, 'OK, I'm sorry I was so rude.' which is good cuz it saved her having to explain to mom why she'd have to find another dentist. I may be wildly in debt, but I'm not that desperate.

Let me take this opportunity to welcome fellow, i don't know her name. but she's a dentist and she's funny and you can see her link off to the right under You can't Handle the Tooth! blog. ta da!

Hank, we're currently watching all the DVDs of Six Feet Under....the one character dies (whoa!) and is ID'd by mandibular dental records (Actual line: "Maybe it wasn't really her! maybe she's not dead and someone else had the same dental work done!"); and her fam is in Cor D'Alene (sp?) so they go off to Idaho at the end of season 4 and it's all kinda country western decor and so forth; kinda funny, albeit inaccurate based on my experience.....

Saturday, July 08, 2006

More pictures....

The Lamprey River, right across the street:

Some other buildings on Main St (How cute is the skinny one on the left??)

The very charming Riverworks Tavern (below, left and right)

Breakfast spot

My Office!

here is the new place! More photos to come as soon as i master the transfer process....

(notice the Italian pizza/sub shop next door! "Hey, Pietro....Yeah...How 'bout I comp ya the bleaching tray in exchange for free pies for a month?")

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Minding my own Business

Yesterday I spent much of the afternoon writing my new employees checks. Boy, I have GOT to get that process automated.... I had to tape the printout stubs to the envelope so the name and address showed through the window but not the amount of the check, so that was awkward. I guess previously there were checks printed off the computer on special check paper...

Another highlight was paying myself. Just wandered into the bank, whipped out a blank "starter check," wrote "Nate Swanson" in the upper left, pay to the order of Nate Swanson, signed it Nate Swanson and flipped it over to endorse it w/ yet another Nate Swanson signature. Ta da! I thought, "Hm, I hope I can afford to pay me that much." Then I figured I can't afford to not pay my mortgage, so there you go.

Rachel and Co. at Espiral are cranking away at my dental logo... we're hoping for something that conveys a retro-chic look (since the practice was established in the 50s, originally) or more of a "vintage" look to channel the look and feel of ads and store signs from the late 19th, early 20th century. We're hoping to convey a "traditional" and "small town" look that will reflect my philosophy of giving patients quality, personal attention, even if we don't necessarily cater to the "spa dental" clientele with lasers and other such gee gaws.

Goldurn consarned "esthetic dentist" whippersnappers!

On the other hand, we don't want to imply old as in technique... no one wants "Medeival Dental."

We did decide to call the new office "Newmarket Dental," figuring that will be most logical for Googling and so forth.

check out Newmarket, NH Web Site for a reference....

We thought about "First Falls Dental" (which sounds like someone will fall and chip a tooth) and other River related names....the River is the Lamprey, and surprisingly, "Lamprey Dental" is taken. Folks 'round here just associate it with the river, but I still don't know about the connotation of having your patients think about you in the same way as blood-sucking eels.

Any "river" reference was nixed as being trite: Riverfront, Riverside, Riverbend....

Everyone was tempted by "Main Street Dental" as the practice is on, well, Main St., but that was, unfortunately, taken by another office in New Hampshire, albeit 80 miles away.

Lastly, I liked Branscomb Dental, named after the Branscomb Inn & Tavern. The building the office is in is around 200 years old or so and that was the name of the business that occupied the building during the stagecoach days. Neat! But no one would get that. "Well, actually, no, there is not now nor was there ever a Dr. Branscomb...." So.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


OK, in case anyone was wondering....

My parents were visiting a week ago, stopping in Kittery en route to their visit to Munich, Germany.

Also, I'm getting ready to buy a practice. Yay. I'll fill you in the the details once the deal is signed and it's all "declassified." heh.

More later!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I was recently informed of the loss of a former classmate.

I met Lori Powell when I moved to Ohio for my junior year of high school. She played the French horn in band, orchestra and a few other musical groups in which I was involved. She was a year ahead of me, but much friendlier to the "new kid" than most in a fairly insular community.

Her father is a physician and she thought about going pre-med - I was leaning in the same direction, so when I looked at colleges, I ended up following her to Calvin College in 1994. She decided on biology/education, while I parlayed my bio studies to pre-dental. My junior year, she was in a terrible accident. You can read a bit more about it here on Calvin's prayer forum.

Amazingly, I was on the road the same weekend with some friends, on a ski trip, and we chuckled over some near misses. Upon arriving back at school and hearing about the accident, I found new relevence to the expression, "There but for the grace of God go I..." which really bothered me, since all the students in the accident were really GOOD kids...why not me?

Anyway, Lori lived with her family, who cared for her due to severe brain injuries sustained during the accident. I remember when my brother, Peter, died, Lori's brother, Justin, was at the viewing. He was in band with Peter as I'd been in band with Lori and he let me know that his family was praying for mine. At the time I remember thinking that I wasn't sure which family was "worse" off....mine for losing a 14-year-old entirely, or Lori's for "losing" the life she had had as she prepared to graduate from college and become a teacher. You can study life and you can study what it means, but you can't answer those questions....

Lori died this month following a bout with virulent pneumonia. I have to believe that she had a key influence on:
1 - keeping me sane in high school
2 - my choice of college, which, philosophically and educationally changed my life on a daily basis
3 - my decision to pursue health care as a career.

I know that Lori's family has no doubt that they will be reunited with their daughter after thier own passing. But if you're so inclined, I'd encourage folks to remember them in their grief.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sour notes

As mentioned in my previous post, we in New England suffered a fair amount of flooding due to a recent week-and-a-half long rainstorm. Six days into it, I was prompted to stand up at work and declare, "I don't know who it is, but someone is making God angry, and they need to stop whatever it is they're doing..."

I swear, while everyone else was making a run to Home Depot for sump pumps I was online pricing arks. The arks themselves aren't that pricey, but boy, try finding a slip at a local marina.... oy.

Among the casualties of the basement flooding were several well-organized stacks of notes from dental school. Soaked right through, and a week later starting to smell a little gamey.... So I hucked 'em in a neighbor's pickup to run to the dump.

Actual fact: If you own a pickup and live in Maine, you have to have the back seat full of duct tape and a dog. If you borrow a pickup, those items actually come with it. As Dave Barry would say, "I am not making this up."

"Um...look, I just need the truck for half an hour, so if you want to just take the dog an..."
"I don't think you understand....Truck goes to the dump; Cooter goes to the dump."

So now that I'm done washing various Cooter fluids from my clothes, I have time to reflect on my dump experience.
I wanted to at least recycle the papers (as soggy as they were) which meant pulling them out in sheaves and removing any bindings and rubber bands that held stuff together. This gave me the opportunity to ruminate on the dental school experience. I allowed myself to wallow in nostalgia whilst Cooter wallowed in some nearby hamster cage shavings.

On one hand I felt pretty bad throwing the stuff out. Page after page of notes, representing four full years of my life. Most of them had notes written by me, and many of them had been read multiple times in preparation of studying for quizzes, tests, etc. Most amusing were noticing things that I wrote in margins.

"To Rent: 'Shakiest Gun in the West;' stars Don Knotts as cowardly dentist."
"Dental Fraternity Initiation questions: -Which of the following dental instructors is NOT gay......; -How many tabs can be found in amalgam shade guide?..... -What is the specific name for an oral lesion resulting from trauma sustainted during sexual activity?"

Also included were potential designs for the tattoo I never got. So many memories and dreams, lost forever.

On the other hand, contrary to the maudlin feelings of bittersweet remorse, there was a clinical detachement and even relief tossing the notes. Just one glance at a packet of handouts from Immunology was enough to hurl it into the recycling bin. If I ever again need to diagram the histamine response, I suppose I'll be up a creek. Further, I enjoyed the warm feeling of de-cluttering. I mean, really - what was I going to do with all those notes? Dig 'em up in 20, 30 years and show 'em to my kids? "Hey, check out what I learned in dental school back in the day!" Even if they CARE about dentistry, no one would want those notes.

That said, I do still have all my text books, safe and dry at work. I remember finding one of Grandpa's old genetics texts from the 40's. It's quite....Mendelian. That is, pre-dating Watson, Crick and Co's discovery of DNA as the units of heritability. "There is currently some interest in this little nucleic acid, with some researchers thinking it may perform a key role in genetic tranferal," reads a quick blurb at the end of one chapter. So who knows.

Having spent nearly 3 hours on a root canal this morning (patient was on nitrous and actually unaware of how much time passed!) my wrist is sore and I'm pretty much tapped on for typing. Adios, amigos.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Soggy, but unbowed...

Hello, loyal bloggites! Sorry I've been AWOL of late, but I've been rather tied up with the Extreme Weather we suffered from here in New England. In an attempt to emulate Old England, we had NINE days of nothing but rain, with the attendant flooded basements etc etc. Six inches of water seems pretty bad, but on TV I saw folks who had four FEET or more of water, so I can't complain. Things are dryer now, and sunniness is abounding.

On the dental front, I spent a couple days last week jamming in Meredith, NH with the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Dental Society. As President-elect of the Seacoast regional component, I have massive responsibilities, which seem to involve showing up to some meetings and attending a dinner or two. Being the youngest dentist in attendance led to fun questions about my "demographic."

"It's great to see you here... but what can we do to encourage other young dentists to join/participate in the society??" was the question du jour. (The soup dujour was a lobster bisque; stunning!)

Anyone else ever get that? The assumption that you, as the only minister or woman or Asian or homosexual have some sort of insight into the behaviors of hundreds of other, well, lesbian Japanese preachers or whatever. OK, that IS a bit of a restricted group but nevertheless.

I tried to explain (while sitting at a table w/ the past president, new president and president-elect of the state society and their wives) that a lot of people don't participate no matter what. Look at how high the stakes were in the last election, and we STILL only got 50-some percent of eligible people to vote. Time Magazine pointed out that of 18-26 year-olds, 38% thought that voting for American Idol was as important as for president. So there's a participation piece and there's a misplaced priorities piece.

I am, by nature, a joiner. If you have a band, and I play the trumpet, I'm signed up and ready to toot. Others would rather take a walk, read a book, write poems or watch TV. Regardless of the worthiness of their alternative pursuits, they don't JOIN.

Secondly, I said, there's an assumption that somebody else will take care of whatever. A bit reason for involvement in professional organizations is to represent in a somewhat united front to legislators and the public. Important decisions are made and someone has to stand up and explain where the group stands. Typically, it's more experienced people, but you have to get others involved at some point.

So I don't know if I could help them understand where the other 20/30-somethings were. I'm kind of an odd duck anyway, so I'm not the best person to ask.

Quote of the week: "I have no discipline whatsover. I don't even floss! I'm 35 years old and I've had four root canals. Four root canals!! What the hell is wrong with me..." - Nate Fisher, "Six Feet Under"

We're watching the whole series on DVD start to finish, if we can. Pretty good stuff, tho' watching, say, three episodes in a row leaves one thinking about death more than may be healthy. Hence the characters' oft-troubled psyches, mayhaps.

The episode that whacked me out the most featured a decedent named Swanson, which name was occaisionally juxtaposed near regular character Nate. I got really confused.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

...while juggling chainsaws

Friday provided a new highlight for my career. I did two (yup, dos, duo, deux) fillings on a young mother while not one but TWO small children sat in her lap.

How, in the name of Don Knotts, Tim Conway and Moe Howard, does this happen? Why would the dentist allow it? And what would possess any mother to think, " objects and high speed rotary instruments running around my head...what could be better than a 2-year-old along for the ride?"

Well, Mom brings in kids and they're kinda antsy and if she sets them down blah blah blah. I suggested, "Hey, maybe Jen at the front desk could keep an eye on them for a bit." "No, I wouldn't wish that on anyone."

Except me, apparently. Anyway, this mom had never had a cavity, and they were both really small (we thought) so I wasn't initially going to bother with anesthesia. (Don't gasp - if you've never had this down it either means your dentist is paranoid, overly destructive or that you or s/he wait too long to actually get the work done. Not a big deal; it doesn't hurt and people are happy to avoid being numb for 3 hours.)

So, back goes the chair, which the kids are pretty excited about. After a couple minutues, however, watching mom's mouth becomes less exciting and the chair becomes a slide. Er. Jimmy the 2-year-old gets squirmy and mom grabs his ankles to prevent him from escaping. "Sit still, Jimmy and just suck your thumb. Good!" Um.....oh, never mind.... Mom taught me to pick my battles and I'm gonna let the digit habit slide here for the greater good....

Turns out the one tooth is just chock full o' decay (wouldn't that be a great coffee? mmm) and I decided she needed to be numb. Again, the boys are fascinated. To be fair, Davey the 5-year-old was pretty good the whole time - totally fascinated by the ultraviolet light and other goings-on. "Whoa, Mom! Your mouth is GROSSS!!! Ewwww! (to me) How can you go IN that ugly mouth?" which sets the record for youngest person to ask me, "How can you look at mouths all day?" I told him to mind his manners and that his mother has a very nice, pretty mouth, which instantly made me a bit edgy."

Dad: So how was the dentist's?
Mom: Well, I don't think I'll bring the boys next time...
Davey: He said that Mommy has a pretty mouth and we all sat in her lap!

The above scenario may or may not have transpired, but hopefully not, as I met Dad the day before and he could totally kick my butt. Anyhoo, we finished up ok and mom did, in fact, express her desire to "not do that next time" so at least she saw the error of her ways. And on the positive side, the kids (or at least Davey) got a very good first impression of operative dentistry. If I know the patient isnt' going to freak out, it's great to have the kids watching for future reference. Just not from the lap.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Vote for Rachel

Shout out to college pal Anastasia Tuckness (nee Niefhof).... The following has nothing to do with dentistry!

The talented ladies of Espiral Design have submitted a logo for Portsmouth's Market Square Day. Among 40-50 entries, they were chosen for the Final Four. It is now up to Seacoast newspaper readers and internet denizens to select the winner.


I don't think you can vote multiple times from the same computer, BUT if you happen to have a couple at work, it wouldn't hurt to do so from different terminals!

There is a cash reward for winning, but the exposure would be the best thing for a young design company.

Also, you should take the time to appreciate that it is NOT just your typical square logo... I said, "Hey, wouldn't a more squarish...."
"NO. You clearly don't understand contemporary design."

So there ya go.

Vote. Tell your friends to vote.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

In Response to Don

First of all, the Easter service we attended this church was lovely...the pastor apparently started there in '03, so I was like "ooh, look who's been at his profession LESS time than me?! ha! Hey, old enough to preach?" Sorry, I've been waiting to dish that at someone for four years... But he has an earring, so I thought of Don. Also, he preached from the end of Mark, and was happy to point out that the concluding text (after "and they were afraid") was all added a coupla centuries later. So I thought, wow, that's pretty ballsy.... shooting down the inerrancy thing in the first 2 minutes of your Easter sermon! But he did a great job tying the whole piece together so as to not be detrimental to the Ressurection and the faith as a whole. Kinda cool.

Don says, "This wave of anti-smoking legislation has come as the result of those of us who do not feel we should have to breathe others' smoke saying, "If they want to smoke, fine, but I should not be forced to breathe it.""

True. But you don't have to breathe it. There are tons of non-smoking bars that you're welcome to go to, just as there should be smoking bars for smokers. Most of us aren't so inclined to watch naked women dance, SOooooo we don't go to Club Secrets. (inside Columbus joke; I was sad to see that place go, cuz every time we drove past, Rachel or I would say in a cartoon-like falsetto, "NEEWWWdie bar!".... not unlike Randall in Clerks says it.)

I've gotten to the point, now that I'm "old" that I don't care to watch college kids "dancing" at their "clubs." So I go to other clubs. I feel we should let the market decide. If all the hospitality employees STOP working at those smoking facilities, then they'll go under. If no one patronizes them, same deal. -I- for one would like people to stop attending knee-jerk right-wing fundamentalist "churches" like Rev. Phelps' in Kansas, but I wouldn't suggest legislating against people attending the church of their choice (even if they do espouse hate.)

My point is: are smokers really SO bad, in their limited bar-space left to them that you have to force them outside to freeze in 15 degree weather during the winter? Granted, smoking under those conditions is doubly ironic, as A) you have to have your fingers extended to grip the butt (ha! I said grip the butt...) which makes them colder and B) the nicotine causes peripheral vasoconstriction, thereby making them even COLDer. Funny, ironic, but mean, I think.

Yep, Don...the Cerec machine has been in existence for at least 10 years, I believe; they're on the third generation of it now...or maybe the fourth. Bill Thompson at Grandview Dental has one and my mom has a couple of those crowns.

I didn't hear the NPR on amalgam/composite, but I did read a new mailing from the ADA that sites some new J. of the Am. Med Assoc studies that provide MORE evidence that the mercury therein does nothing to harm kids behavior, learning and cognition and their kidney function. So.

Last thought: How many of you would think it's odd if you went to the dentist, and instead of telling you if you had cavities or not, they said, "Well, we'll look at the xrays later and call you if anything shows up."? just curious.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Public Health vs. Smokers' Rights?

Soooooo..... It has come to this. After some comments on the last post regarding smoking, I will address this peculiar little issue.

Due to what I call the "situationality" of the issue, I really have no problem with smoking in bars and some restaurants.

Yep. There ya go.

Situationality? Sure. There's situations where otherwise incongruous points of view collide. Example: Howard Dean (whose campaign I labored for mightily back in 2003-4) is a big supporter of gun rights. Situationally. That is to say, the possession of firearms by farmers in Vermont and adolescents in NYC is quite different. The church I attended in Ohio had a few "log cabin Republicans." These were otherwise intelligent, educated folks who voted Republican. OK, the latter description includes my dad...did I mention the Log Cabin folks are GAY? Yup. But, for situational issues, they prefer to side with the party that one would otherwise assume they would not.

So. The anti-public smoking camp says that they are merely looking out for the health of all those poor wretches who are forced to wait tables and sling beers in (*gasp! koff!*) smoke-filled environs. Shouldn't we be protecting them from second-hand smoke as we protect dental assistants from excess radiation? Perhaps, but I have yet to meet such a restaurant/bar employee who isn't a smoker themselves. For heaven's sake, -I- had barely even picked up a cigarette 'til I started waiting tables back in the day. Then you discover you get an extra break to participate in a vice. How much sense does that make? I mean, could you be waiting tables, and then say, "Yo, Jim - Cover my section; I'm gonna run out back and masterbate and pick my nose for five minutes." Yet smokers get breaks when they like.

Thus, I don't buy the "save the employees" argument. I also don't buy the "let's protect the public who wants to dine without gross smoke by their food." If I'm dropping $25 for an entree and $12 for a glass of wine, you better believe I don't want smokers around. If I'm paying $5 for a truck-stop breakfast or I'm just drinking beer and grubbing pub fare, I don't care.
And even if I did - Guess what? There are plenty of smokeless alternatives to go to. I DO recognize this is not the case for dart league, although most players are courteous enough that if someone says, Hey, can you not smoke within 10 feet of me, they'll comply.

Now, New Hampshire (whose House passed and Senate rejected a smoking ban in restaurants) is the Live Free or Die state. I'd be more indulgent of a paternalistic "let's make everyone quit" philosophy if they started...oh, I don't know... Making people wear seatbelts! or motorcycle helmets for cryin' out loud.... How likely are you to die being exposed to second-hand smoke? Possibly more likely than otherwise, sure, but when you compare that to how likely you are to die by not wearing helmets/seatbelts..... Until you've seen those charming photos of ER patients who are scraped off the road or out of their cars you really don't appreciate that.

My feeling is that until we can prevent people from consuming sugary drinks and eating fatty meals, trying to legislate less smoking is foolish. Concentrate on preventing it in high school and providing smokers with resources and support to cut back or quit.

Have at it. :)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

That's DOCTOR Caveman to you, Bub!

The latest from Yahoo News:

9,000 Year-old Dental Drill Found

Somewhere, a bunch of hungry Sullivan-Schein reps are placing eager calls to Pakistan, hoping to make a sale. "Oh, that doctor is BOUND to want the NEWest Kavo handpiece!"

My favorite part of the article is where the anthropologist says, "I showed the pictures to my dentist and he thought they were amazing holes."

To my patients: If you ever want to share "amazing holes" with me, I'd just as soon you not.

Anyway, I know that ancient Native Americans (and perhaps Egyptians?) used to hold their heads over incense to "smoke out" the evil spirits or tooth worms which presumably caused toothaches. It turns out that the herbs in question had hallucinogenic properties or narcotic properties, thereby "curing" the toothache, or at least relieving it for a short time. I'm not sure when hashish was discovered, but it's mentioned in Arabian Nights, so who knows how those people may have relieved pain prior to fillings.

Depending on the age of the patients, too, a minutes worth of drilling, up to 2-3mm, might not be SO bad.

I had a 16-year-old yesterday w/ a small amount of decay on a molar. I said, "OK, let me know if you feel anything; this isn't worth getting numb, but if it bugs you, I can do so." Soooo, being all hepped up on Mountain Dew and such, he didn't say anything. "You OK?" "Yeah." When I was done (maybe 2mm, which is 1/2mm into dentin, and therefore probably sensitive), he says, "Oh, Dude, that, like, hurt the entire time. But I didn't say anything."

Tempted to cite one of my mother's favorite sayings, "So do you want a medal or a chest to pin it on?" I replied, "OK. Nice work, bud."

Days without patient swallowing precious gold restoration: 13!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Spitting is better than Swallowing

Fun and games.

Went to ER last week due to Rachel having a Pilonidal cyst (check out for gory details) - nothing like being asked "Does this look infected to you?" OUTside of work. So that's all better, having had it drained. (Gooey!)

(Aside to Rev. Wallick - now a higher risk of Crohn's, acc to the ER phys. asst - interesting)

Monday there was a bat in the house. Always fun to toddle over to the neighbors (hi Matt!) and say, "Um, yeah, have you got a fish net?" at 11pm.

The most FASCINATING thing to happen to me was an experience with a patient who ate a crown. (actually an onlay, but we won't get into that)

This is a fascinating lady who is a hoot at cocktail parties, I'm sure, but, by her own admission a "pain as a patient." (I did NOT say it; she did....) Anyway, upon trying this crown in, I put cement on it, seated it, had her bite and said, "Stay biting for a few minutes." For SOME odd reason, perhaps it was the nitrous, she elected to OPEN a few seconds later. As she moved her tongue around, and I looked on in horror, I saw the crown (onlay! less retention..duh...) dislodge and float around her pharynx area for a few fateful seconds.

Springing into action, I whipped off the nitrous, pulled her head to the side and encouraged her to cough. "Turn! cough! couch couch! Go aaaugghhkk!" (the latter word is MUCH better when I tell the story in person, as people say, "oh, how was that again?" in a facile attempt to make me go aaaugghhkk again)

She did not aaaugghhkk. She went, "glug...gurrr...ack....GULP!"

Down it went, as I futilely attempted to fish it out with a cotton pliers (dental tweezers to you lay people).
"Oh," she remarked, "a piece of something went down my esophagus!"

Oh, not just a piece, but THE something. After making sure she was breathing ok, I walked out of the room so as to avoid the temptation to either grab her by the throat or bash my own head against the wall in frustration. Certainly I could have been more watchful that she didn't open and sure, I could have had a 2x2 gauze there to catch it if it fell. (although, YOU try to leave gauze adjacent to #2 AND have the patient close and then you'll really see gagging!) Nevertheless, I thought, "Oh dear Lord, I SAID to BITE!"

After returning, I encouraged her to eat plenty of fiber, Metamucil, what have you. We'll get her back in 2 weeks after the lab makes a new restoration. "In the meantime," I said, "you will be pooping out gold. We should all be so lucky."

"What if I get it back?" she asked. Er. You mean....retrieve, AFTER? "Sure!"

Actually, I DID recement a lost aka swallowed crown back in school....just ran it through the autoclave, tho I learned that when a patient hands you ANYthing you want to probably have a glove on.

Well, on Monday, she called and reported that after dining sumptuously on Mexican food all weekend, she RECOVERED the restoration. All I could think of was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails singing that one line, "I wear my crown of s---/ upon my liar's chair/ full of broken thoughts/ I cannot repair." (of course, the Johnny Cash version is not only a more powerful song, but he manages to clean it up, "I wear my crown of thorns.")

So, after some sterilization, we cemented the bugger right back into place. Only took 2 hours this time. I was careful.

Adios, amigos.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Madness, I tell you....

Ahh, is there any better time than March Madness season? If there is a better confluence of sports, slacking off, beer and excess, it's gotta be getting out of work at noon and sitting in a sports bar watching four basketball games while drinking Guinness on St Patty's day with a plate of corned beef and cabbage on it's way.

Working in a primarily all-female environment, I find some difficulty relating all this excitement. One of the hygienists, a man (who is SO much cooler than Ben Stiller's Nurse Fokker) keeps me sane. But some women are tricky regardless. I'll come into work all excited about the Olympic figure skating short programs and did anyone watch it? Nope. They were watching American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. Hey, new Pride and Prejudice film out.... who's seen it? No one; they all went to see "Stealth" or "The Hills have Eyes." Sigh.

Currently, however, my pool is being won by our friend Cathryn, who based close decisions on "Do I know anyone there?" Thusly, you have her brilliant predictions of Montana defeating Nevada and Washington squeaking past Illinois to the Sweet 16. With 25 correct picks in the first round, she's 4 up on ESPN's Joe Lunardi and 6 ahead of Sports Illustrated. So hah.

Rachel continues to ride Gonzaga deep into the tournament. I say, "Every year they disappoint you! Why do you keep picking them?" "Well, if I DON'T pick them, then that's the year they'll win it all!" Sheesh. Gonzaga: the abusive ex that you keep hooking up with, even after the relationship is irreversibly flawed.

In other quotes from R: "I think it's good that Kirby goes in the shower, cuz then at least it cleans his butt."
No one likes a cat that's, hefty to reach his own posterior for cleaning.... sigh again.....

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Wow...she MUST be bored

At the tail end of the conversation on Southern Ohio, a certain first-time poster called "Rachel" wrote, "Wow...I MUST be bored. :) luv you nate..."

Well, I appreciate the love, but.... Seriously, only the painfully bored would POSSibly read what I have to say! YOU are blessed to be exposed to a consistent stream of charmingly whimsical Nate-isms. You should be more symmpathetic to the vast Nate-less populace that has never had the opportunity to bask in Nate-ness all the time, or harsher still, those who have experienced a brief, shining moment of Nate-aity and then had their Nate from their bosom untimely ripp'd.

(The latter is a shameless "rip off" of MacBeth, Act V, scene viii, in case the phrase resoNates with anyone...)

In other news, check out the progress of Ohio State basketball. Go Bucks. Whoot.

Have you ever wanted an Angora rabbit? I haven't. Rachel thinks they're "cute 'n fluffy." blegh!
check out Ernie the English Angora. You have to scroll past Oscar the Pug, which is a freakishly odd pet, but only relative to dogs.

Also, the ljc blog is charmingly whimsical and I recommend it to everyone.

off to Brunch!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Gasp! Mercury!!

So, a couple weeks ago, the award-winning local daily put this article on the front page.

Pretty standard alarmist stuff. I was mad that although they quoted the directors of local dental societies, who ostensibly represent dentists, they didn't bother going to the trouble to find an actual dentist to discuss this issue. Oh, they found Dr. Fischer, "past president of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology." His site, which I won't even justify with a hyperlink (google if you like) discusses the imminent danger not only of silver fillings but of fluoridating the water.

Now here's my deal. If someone asks me not to use silver fillings due to concerns about mercury, I'm OK with that. Better safe than sorry, maybe (even tho', as all dentists know, there's no scientific evidence to support the "silver fillings will hurt/kill you theory). Hey, I personally have an unproven superstition that if you hit the "To Cross" button at the crosswalk an even number of times, it will DEactivate the signal. ( So I always do it 3-5 times.

But when you get to the anti-fluoridationists, I just get mad. I can respect anti-mercury filling people despite their lack of evidence. But the others.... wow, they feel compelled to lobby against the single most cost-effective public health practice on the planet, thereby primarily harming those who can least afford it: Uninsured children, or kids with non-compliant parents.

The other thing seems to be the way the article is structured. They lead off with all these super-scary mercury facts. THEN, at the END of the article, the opponent of mercury fillings states, "We can’t say it will cause harm, but we know there is no benefit."

We can't say it will cause harm, but.... Kinda specious, in my opinion. The SAME poll they use (Zogby) states that of those patients who actually discuss fillings with their dentists, more than HALF feel that they'd be likely or somewhat likely to go ahead and use silver if necessary. Not reported in the article. Thbbt.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ah, Southern Ohio....

First off: No lurking! If you are reading and enjoying (or even reading and hating) please leave replies! Otherwise I'm forced to assume no one cares and will be forced to sit around wondering why everyone insists dentists have such a high suicide rate. (not actually true; in recent years we've been surpassed by lawyers...)

This post is almost verbatim copied from a recent email exchange with a dental school colleague who now finds herself working in Southern Ohio. (This is, I'm sure, less stressful to her than finding herself, due to vagaries of surnames, sitting next to ME for four years...heh heh...)

Anyway, thanks to Dr. Janice for her inspiration - I wish her the best of luck in joining the small but significant demographic of "NASCAR-watching Orthodontists!"

As you may recall, I spent 3-4 mos working for
[non profit healthcare agency] in [Appalacian Ohio town]; had some good assistants
from [slightly larger town]... I always remember things from that
practice like:

"Bubby don't much take ta sleepin' without his
Mountain Dew, ya see..."

On back of a truck: sticker featuring Osama bin Laden
saying "F--- you A------." That way, when al Qaida's
leader is tooling around Appalachian Ohio, he will see
that, realize he's an a------ and that he can get

On blackboard inside Waverly restaurant/tavern:
"How's a Pike County divorce like a tornado? answer:
Either way, someone's losing a trailer."

Also noted on backs of trucks (it was eerie thinking that my Toyota was the only one for miles around...)

-Keep honking; I'm re-loading.

-(in the style/font of popular milk industry slogan:) gut deer?

- "Terrorism" - just that, w/ an 'anti' ring around it, like the "no smoking" sign or the Ghost Busters logo.

I saw the latter in a parking lot one day and mused, "Ya know, that really makes me stop and think. Cuz ya know, before I got into dentistry, I was totally going to BE a terrorist! But now...I'm just not so sure..."

Needless to say, I was hardly surprised to find John Ashcroft trailing me around for a few days...

Fond memories - I always referred to the area as a place "with more
guns than teeth."

THAT said, I was always impressed that a lot of young
parents with kids were pretty determined to keep their
offspring from losing all the teeth that THEY had; they kept
their appointments, listened carefully to your
instructions and were profoundly grateful for the
services. If Bubby or Sissy weren't brushing enough,
you can belive mom and dad would be letting 'em have
it on the way out the door....

so there you go.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Serious as Cancer

Friday I spent the afternoon "riding shotgun" with a local oral surgeon. Usually it's fun (for me anyway) to watch someone w/ the skills to shuck out four wisdom teeth in the time it takes me to do one. Today was a little different. He was kind enough to see a patient from the non-profit who we were pretty sure had oral cancer.

The slim, middle aged woman is "between homes," as we say, but had recently started a new job and was pleased to be getting health insurance. Unfortunately, even though she'd noticed the sore in her mouth a year ago, and even though there were resources to assist her in seeing someone, she "put it off because I didn't WANT to know for sure...I was scared."

Increasingly, the difficulty swallowing increased, the pain under her tongue and in her jaw became more severe and frequent, and she finally sought help. The ulcerated, bulging lump ventral to her tongue and the nodular involvement appreciable in the submandibular and cervical areas were hardly subtle. Even the greenest dental student would raise an eyebrow with the symptoms and presentation.

While waiting on the oral surgeon, I made small talk with the patient. We both had family in Ohio. Our places of employment are nearby one another. Yep, it sure is windy today.

The oral surgeon confirmed our suspicions without needing biopsy. "T3 or T4," he said, soberly shaking his head out in the hallway. "I'm sending her to Dr. ---- in Boston. She needs a head and neck surgeon - probably radiation, maybe chemo...."

We returned to his exam room to try to gently tell the patient that we would do what we could to facilitate her treatment. "Can I wait 'til my insurance kicks in?" she asked hopefully. "Two months?" my colleague said incredulously. "Ma'am, I don't want you to wait two weeks. We need you down in Boston next week." He wrote out a script for a strong narcotic so she could sleep at night.

Dr. ---- was in surgery, so the oral surgeon dismissed the patient, promising that his office would call her as soon as they reached the Boston doctor. I shook her hand as compassionately as I good, encouraging her to not hesitate if my agency could do anything to facilitate her transportation or other needs. She left smiling unconvincingly, with a hint of tear in her eye.

It's easy to scoff at people for smoking too much or not seeking care. Harder when the person has a face and a family. I wish she'd come in sooner.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Million Little Root Canals....

Much furor has been expended over the "embellishments" of James Frey in his "memoir," "A Million Little Pieces."

For those not tuned in to All Things Oprah, a brief synopsis: Mr. Frey wrote a book detailing a horrific and harrowing experience with drug addiction. It was, fiction or not, moving to many people, including Oprah and her Harpo cronies. They selected it for her Book Club, which is pretty much the writers' equivalency to winning American Idol. Possibly better.
I've heard the author even sold the movie rights to Brad Pitt. (Paging Tyler Durden...)

Eventually, a number of discriminating readers started to question the somewhat incredulous claims made in the book. Several pilots, flight attendants and others in the airline industry said, " can't put someone on the plane who is unconscious (and bleeding and covered in bodily fluids) without a just can't do that! No one does that..."

People started asking questions. Eventually, Frey admitted the book isn't so much about fact as "impression and feeling."
see his statement from the publisher's website

Now I don't mind a little literary license, but Mr. Frey is doing the dental equivalent of shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

Read this account from a Pennsylvania dentist regarding the absurdity of the story!

While I'd been previously just irritated or amused by this whole brouhaha, I am now of the state of mind of those offended by Denmark's cartoon depictions of The Prophet. He has basically tainted the water for thousands of people who are already paranoid about dentists and now have yet another reason to avoid needed treatment. He has in effect, contributed to others' suffering. Why? Because of an impression.

Look, if you want to say, "Wow, that last exam was brutal - Professor Smith totally f---ed me up the a--!" that's fine, but if you do so in such as way as to imply that you were ACTUALLY sexually abused by your teacher, it's irresponsible.

I have treated dozens, possibly even hundreds of addicts, recovering and otherwise. When I worked with Narcotics Anonymous, I found that they were terrific patients. Right around step 7 or 8, whilst making amends, many of them decided to address long-ignored dental concerns. Transitioning back to the job market, they usually had plenty of time for visits (even a long visit with a student dentist!) and appreciated the reduced fees of being at a teaching institution. They never asked for narcotics, and despite how drug-addled some of their brains might have been, I never encountered an addict so foolish as to think that local anesthetic could get them high or cause a relapse.

I've thought about the concept of triggering our natural fears of dentists in the pursuit of art, and decided that I don't really mind that pursuit in a fictional setting. Marathon Man and Brazil are films where people are tortured by dentists for dramatic effect, while Little Shop of Horrors does so for comedic effect. But no one ACTUALLY believes that this is what will happen at the dentist any more than one fears being eaten by carnivorous plants at the flower shop.

If you need me this weekend, I'll be the one out in Market Square, burning a copy of Frey's book.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Telling it on the Mountain

Hello - as promised, I will (briefly?) discuss my last trip to the cinema to view the critically acclaimed Brokeback Mountain. Although overhyped a bit, it's definitely an excellent film - touching without being overly manipulative. By the end, if you didn't feel the longing and frustration and sorrow experienced by several characters, you probably don't have a heart.

One nice aspect of the film was it's sparse style - the dialogue and pacing often resembled the spare but beautiful scenery. A lot was said by what WASN'T said or even there.

My biggest impression is that you could basically write a book based on audience comments whilst exiting the theater.

From some girls about 10 years younger than me, in regards to a "skinny-diving" scene where the guys jump naked off a cliff into a lake: "Um, hello...I would have been ok but what was the deal with all the flapping genitalia? ohmigod!"

It took a great deal of self-restraint to resist saying, oh, i don't know... "Well, ladies, I don't want you to be TOO surprised on your wedding nights, but let me explain a few things..." or even "Hey, let's try a little experiment. Go take a running jump into a lake (topless) and then we'll talk about who's flapping...." la la la....

and then there was the inevitable: "Ya know, I was pretty much ok w/ the love story but...c'mon, it was two GUYS!"

Um. let's see. That earns a big critical blank stare and head shake from this movie goer. I mean...duh. that's like when I saw some young ladies leaving Saving Pvt. Ryan some years back going, "Oh! I just wanted to see Matt Damon...I didn't realize it would be so VIOLENT!"

All ya had to do was read ANY snippet of any article or see any bit o' TV or hear anyone at all talk about it and the words "most gorily realistic cinematic portral of war EVER" would show up.

Anyway, what I found most interesting was how the two leads were both quite functionally bi-sexual. Most gay men I know are, realistically, as repulsed by the notion of sex with a woman as straight guys are by the possibility of a homosexual encounter. Or at least that what people say - obviously Kinsey & co. feel that everyone is on this continuum....

Anyway, I don't have any more pithy thoughts on the subject, but will welcome comments and discussion!

I'll try to get back to more dentistry next post!

Monday, February 06, 2006

A little bit of chatting...

So at six pm a mom comes in w/ 9 yo daughter; she has a cavity, and we're going out of town.... can you fix it? sure; that was an easy fifteen min. procedure, since we didn't have to anesthetize, and the girl was very cooperative.

Mom had a few questions. Actually, she then had an HOUR worth of questions. Since she was the last patient, and I had no where to be, I was happy to answer - why are silver vs. white fillings sometimes better or worse? What about this crown I had done? why do some dentists try to fill everything and others are "wait and see" and now all my kids have cavities??

So I answered her questions for the better part of the hour ans she was ASTOUNDED that I would take the time. Well, if I had someone else waiting for a filling or something, sure, i couldn't do that. But she was SO happy. She's coming back and bringing her husband and other three kids... I figure I could open up a practice two hours away and she'd happily visit twice a week, now that she's sold on the fact that I will always answer her questions when she (gasp) wants to actually TALK to the dentist.

Kinda always ticks me off when people pay 30-70 bucks for an exam and then just get a 50 second "look-see" and no conversation/explanation from the dentist... Yes, sure, it's busy, and you have to whip through folks to make ends meet and pay the staff, but honestly, most folks only need a couple minutes.... so that was gratifying.

In a completely unrelated story, I saw Brokeback Mountain this weekend. Wow; I could just about write a book on the comments heard whilst exitting the theater. wow. more later perhaps....

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Am I back? perhaps...

Due to popular demand (thank you for nagging Sean, Hank, et al.) I have returned to attempt to be a good blogger again. Geez, it's like working out; you really have to be committed!

So, to update, I have 80% sold out; that's right, I'm now working at a private office in Exeter. Everyone says, Oh, NOW you're making the big money! Well, um. no. not yet. Nevertheless, I remain confident that the "big money" will soon come rolling down the pike, yessir.

I'm still one day a week (and more occaisionally) at the non-profit, so I'm keepin' it real for all da homies, yo.

(to wit: "keepin' it real" means "making dentures" and "da homies" equals toothless or mostly toothless folks w/o insurance.

"Yo" is just added for street cred.)

so i'm going to send this off, eat some breakfast and tell y'all i'm back. more to come, perhaps (ooh!) during the Super Bowl.