Boys and their Toys

by kpmautner

My dental appointment was for a crown to replace a fairly good-sized filling that was 45 years old.  This I can deal with – I’ve spent a good part of my life in dental offices.  My dentist is a good guy, but he is male.  And, being male, is susceptible to the old adage:  the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

And my dentist got a new toy.  It’s a scanner for teeth that links to the lab, and it’s also linked to a 3D printer which can spit out a temporary crown that is exactly the size and shape (and color) of the tooth being replaced.  The lab gets the digital info as it’s being scanned, which reduces the time between the crown prep and the permanent crown in place.  All well and good.  It’s going to save a lot of time, effort and energy in the future, and reduce a lot of ill-fitting temporaries and crowns that have to go back to the lab.  There was only one problem.

I was the very first patient that they were going to use this new system on.  The rep from the manufacturer was there.  Every single one of the dental assistants wanted to watch.  And use the wand.  And see the results.  And try it themselves.  On MY mouth.  The wand is approximately an inch across, and when used to scan a molar, gets mighty, mighty uncomfortable.  The rep demonstrated.  On MY mouth.  The dentist tried it.  Then each of the assistants tried it.  Then the software gave up the ghost, so the rep went out to his truck and got another different wand scanner.  And they all had to try that.  By the time they were all happy and finished, I felt like I’d gone 3 rounds with Muhammed Ali. And they weren’t finished.

What would normally take about an hour (tooth prep, site prep and fitting a temporary) had me in the seat for 3 hours. The dentist and I have agreed that he’s going to discount my charges since I was basically the guinea pig (it felt more like a crash-test dummy) for the entire staff.  Will be interesting to see what the permanent crown is like – the temporary honestly is the identical twin of the tooth (they showed me comparison photos).  I was impressed.  But it still doesn’t mean that I like this.