Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Something came up

I won't be posting too much because I'll be heading out to rural Cambodia.

It's not a vacation in the usual sense, but it is an amazing opportunity for me to get in touch with a corner of the world where the dental needs are very real.

On 2/17, I'll be flying extra budget class to Phnom Penh via EVA air.
After a day of acclimating, out team will be going into the countryside to the villages to do missionary dentistry using portable operatories, headlamps, and a kerosene generator.
We'll be done on 2/28, but I'll probably have to wait around Pnom Penh until 3/4 due to the Chinese New Year rush of flights.

I'll keep you updated sporadically.

-Matt aka Dr. Goodtooth

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A touch of lube

A touch of lube.

It sound somewhat wrong...
but there's something nice about a dab of Petrol Jelly on the lips.

When I'm in the dental chair, my lips get dry.
I feel each tug on the lips more acutely.
And it gets more annoying with each minute.

A touch of lube says I love you in a nonsexual, nonthreatening way.

If you're ever in my chair and I forget the lube,
please let me know.

-Sincerely, Dr. Goodtooth

ps. Dr. Goodtooth receives no endorsement or support from different lube companies. Dr. Goodtooth also does not express any opinion regarding the use of lube, KY jelly, or Vasalene for any other purpose than moisturizing a patient's oral mucosa in the dental chair. Dr. Goodtooth does not endorse misuse or deviant abuse of lube (as it may result in bodily injury and/or discomfort). Please use lube in a responsible manner.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas, and a note about Emergencies

The good thing about having a close relationship with your dentist, is that extraordinary services are sometimes received.

The bad thing, as a dentist, is rendering extraordinary services at inopportune times:

This past Christmas, I received a knock on my door at half past midnight.
It wasn't Santa Claus. It was mom.

She had lost her temporary crown, and was rather agitated. Nevermind that I'd warned her about it for the past three weeks straight. Nevermind that she'd held off making an appointment for six months.

It was mom, and she was in my room.

Later on in the morning, I stumbled into the office under the heavy influence of caffeine. I setup my operatory. I brought my special toys: suction mirrors, surgical light, and a plan B, plan C and plan D. For good measure, I had an E in my little bag of tricks.

The permanent crown went in with no problem, save for mom's tendency to do sit ups at inopportune moments. She'd also lecture me about patient comfort during crown delivery, when I was placing the throat pack.

It wasn't too much of a problem, just a bit annoying. It's mom.
I'd do it for any one of my patients.

Unfortunately, she spent the rest of Christmas bragging about it to relatives.

Note to self: don't take any more relatives as patients.

-Dr. Goodtooth

Note: While mom has occasional bouts of craziness (not limited to chopping down a tree, writing a book, killing crabs, and starting various one-woman crusade for various causes), Dr. Goodtooth and Mom maintain friendly relations and a fair trade collaboration agreement.

New Years at the Race tracks

New Years night was a blast: watching fireworks on the Embarcadero with friends and a hidden beer, weaving through cars and inebriated pedestrians by bike, and finishing the night with champagne and whipped cream.

However New Years day was more special, since I got a chance to meet up with Dr. Alton Lacy.

Dr. Lacy is a friend, horse racing aficionado, and possibly one of the world's best restorative dentist. It was $1 day at Golden Gate Fields, and a chance to see something that he loves. Amidst the cheap beer, cheaper hotdogs, occasional bouts of frenzied screaming in Cantonese, Vietnamese, Spanish and occasionally English, I learned something profound.

I learned that a dentist has a very definite shelf-life.

Towards the end, a dentist loses the facility to do dentistry. They lose the passion to perform, the physical ability, or both.

Often, a dentist will have a period where they enthusiastically throw themselves at work. Life is exciting, despite teh best attempts of Insurance companies to otherwise. Journals and study clubs are consumed with delight. Patients and staff are treated well, business picks up.

However, there's a point that ends it.

The trigger may be the wife, the kids, or simply the feeling of ennui. It may be that the dentist feels like they've mastered everything regarding dentistry. It may be that the dentist is saddled with an overabundance of loans and a paucity of sound investments. Or it may be that the dentist doesn't care.

Dr. Lacy isn't there yet, despite being well past retirement.

While we were eating, his tooth fell out.
He wiped it off, dunked in beer, and stuck it back it place.
Later in the night, he will make a custom composite post for himself.
Later still, he'll cast a custom buildup in gold, and cement it.

Dr. Lacy doesn't really accept new patients anymore.
He's too busy taking care of the ones he has.
However if you're ever interested in contacting him, give a call to Dr. Don Curtis in Berkeley, where he moonlights on some Tuesdays.

-Dr. Goodtooth

Resolutions for the 2010

2010 is here, and still fresh smelling.

This year, I've decided to make some fairly easy to keep resolutions:
  • Sleep more
  • Get off my butt and make something
  • Have fun with friends
Hopefully, I'll be able to keep these resolutions this year.

-Dr. Goodtooth