Vakkotaur (vakkotaur) wrote,

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Modern Dentistry

When I was a fairly little kid, I had the typical fears of the dentist probably due to the TV portrayals of dental visits as painful things to be avoided and only barely endured to lessen pains already present. Sure, the idea of prevention was there, but there's a reason the high-pitched whine of a tiny pneumatic drill is in the special class of sounds that nobody likes. An actual dental visit did nothing to change my feelings on this. I still recall the line about how "This will only feel like a mosquito bite." The &%^$ it did, unless it was supposed to be some mutant steel hyper-mosquito. I also recall the dentist urging me to quiet down as I was "scaring his other patients" out in the lobby. From my point of view, they had darn well ought to be scared. I avoided dentists for some time.

Many years later, I went to a dentist that had a reputation for being painless. I don't know if it was an advance in anesthesia or recognition that the "mosquito" was more like an angry hornet, but this fellow used a topical anesthetic to numb the injection site before using the needle. I recall feeling some slight pain, despite the reputation, at least on a second visit (Did I acclimate to the anesthetic of a couple days earlier?) but overall, it was a significant improvement on earlier experiences.

Then I moved and had no idea who to see, and thus saw nobody for some time. Maybe you've been seeing a dentist regularly and have experienced, slowly, the changes I experienced rather suddenly. Recently I experienced that I am now living in The Future where dentistry doesn't automatically involve pain. Stuff I'd read about a while back, and wondered how long before it would see general use, is being used now. A pulsed water & laser system has replaced the contemptible high-speed pneumatic drill. What that doesn't get, gets a lower speed grinder setup - and the water pulses numb things enough that no anesthetic is generally needed (though I was told I could get such at any time if I thought it was called for). The only high speed whine was from a diamond polisher. With no injected anesthetic, there was also no time of weird numb-face. "Anything I need to do or not do?" "No. Just go on with things." Oh, and there was no waiting around for X-rays to be developed. Even those are done by digital camera now. I'd known of such things as sistaur's vet clinic had switched to digital X-ray a few years ago, but this was the first time I'd experienced it myself.

Alright, it's not quite Star Trek easy with someone waving a tiny gadget around me and it simply being done, but I'll take it. That regular visit every six months that is recommended? That's already scheduled, for once.

Tags: dentist
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