Monday, August 06, 2007

The High Tech Dental Experience

This morning as I was laying in bed in my new apartment, waking there alone for the first time and I heard a report on NPR about how some dentists are using technology to make their patients relax during treatment. They show them movies on special goggles that are linked to a mini DVD player. Amazing, right?

"Wow," I thought laying there. "That sounds pretty cool."

So, fast forward one subway ride to midtown (my dentist is across the street from Bloomingdales!) and I'm sitting there, chatting with a lovely dentist named Julie who seems younger than I am.

She's taken a slew of digital xrays of my teeth using a device that's slightly larger than the traditional film of yore. The new device produces computer images instantly, but it cuts your mouth somethin' awful. I hate it. And I have cavities. Six, to be precise. I have cavities UNDER MY FILLINGS. This is alarming to me. I also have a chipped tooth, near an old filling, that may require a crown. So in addition to learning about the joys of interior painting on 90 degree days (don't do it!), you'll get to hear about the latest and greatest in Manhattan dental technology.

Post-picture-taking, the dentist hands me a list of movies. On this list is the Mel Gibson movie "Apocalypto." Yes, a movie in Mayan. At my dentist's office. I couldn't resist and asked if people actually picked that one, and she said yes. To her dismay they sometimes did. It's just not soothing.

I picked the first disk of Season 3 of Sex in the City. I put on the goggles, plugged the tiny ear buds into my ears, and lay back. Scraping and some kind of drilling with water, or scraping with water, ensued. Vaseline was smeared on my lips to keep them moist as a metal tool was dragged between my teeth. I promised to floss more. I have to go back three times. Three! And one is rather urgent as my tooth has chipped near the filling that has a cavity under it. Awesome. That wasn't even the one that hurt!

It was a bit random that I heard a report this morning on TV at the dentist and la voila, my digital dentist whips out TV goggles so that I can watch that instead of my reflection in her glasses. Which I still watched from time to time. How often do you get to watch someone else poking around your teeth with a sharp metal device, scraping away at the remnants of meals past? It's oddly riveting. Kind of like "Apocalypto."

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