What’s In A Smile?

Five days ago I had super bad breath, and I become convinced that something awful was happening. My dentist back in NJ had said to me that the one filling I have, being incredible old, was probably going to need to be “dealt with” at some point. I think it was only natural that I’d be so convinced that time was right now that I even started feeling debilitating pain in that part of my mouth and in my head. Yes, I’m a total hypochondriac.

I made an appointment with my new dentist, Fred Chao DDS in Santa Monica. I chose him that day because his dental chairs have entertainment systems with streaming video.

BYOE! (Bring Your Own Entertainment)

Our chairs are equipped to play cd’s, dvd’s, and stream free radio and tv content from the internet! We invite you to bring in your own cd’s, dvd’s, ipods, and music players as well.

Fred Chao DDS’s Website

This is a digital photograph of Fred Chao DDS next to his dental chair which is part of the Internet of Things:

I totally stole this from Dr. Chao's website
I totally stole this photo from Dr. Fred Chao’s website

My appointment was yesterday. Fred Chao DDS is a lovely dentist. I sat in his internet-enabled dentist chair and he poked around at my teeth a bit and said, “Your teeth look great,” and I said, “No way, it’s been 2 years since I’ve had a cleaning,” and he said, “They look fine and you don’t seem to have any sensitivity, but let’s get an x-ray.” Captivating, I know. I had to share.

We talked a bit and he decided to take a full set of x-rays, and then informed me on the spot about the price of the x-rays. I have a small pet peeve about the medical world and not being able to disclose pricing at the time of the service, and so I am now in love with Fred Chao DDS and he will be my dentist until one of us dies, moves, or has a debilitating something or the other.

Anyhow, have you ever thought about what your teeth look like?

I mean this is what my teeth look like

What I’m asking is, have you ever thought about what your teeth would look like if your face were missing and you could see them without your face getting in the way? Well, I found out and I’m going to share my teeth with you right now.

Well, not right now, but right after I explain that I always thought I had one filling, and I’ve said it a bunch of times to all my previous dentists and none of them has said, “You know Kurt, it’s actually two fillings.” I’m looking at you,  Justin Fried DDS of Maplewood NJ. You’re a great dentist but you could have mentioned the two fillings thing.

Without further ado, here is what my teeth would look like if you could only see in black and white and I had no face and you could also see into my actual teeth:

FMX 7-17-146 FMX 7-17-147 FMX 7-17-148 FMX 7-17-149 FMX 7-17-1410 FMX 7-17-1411 FMX 7-17-1412 FMX 7-17-1413 FMX 7-17-1415 FMX 7-17-1416 FMX 7-17-1417 FMX 7-17-1418 FMX 7-17-141 FMX 7-17-142 FMX 7-17-143 FMX 7-17-144 FMX 7-17-145

Each thumbnail image is clickable/tappable and when clicked/tapped will take you to a larger image! Of my teeth without my face in the way!

Last but not least, below is a photo that Fred Chao DDS took of my fillings (2) so I could see what they look like. Now that’s full service! He shoved an occlusal mirror in my mouth and took the photo through a macro lens mounted on a nice DSLR.

I know it’s called an occlusal mirror because he was super oddly specific about it:

Fred Chao DDS: [walks in with DSLR camera] Kurt, I’m going to take a picture of your filling so you can see it.

Me: You said it was two fillings!

FC-DDS: Right, the two fillings in your tooth. I’m going to use an occlusal mirror. [calls out] Lili! Can you bring me the occlusal mirror? Thanks.

[Pause. The hygienist Lili says something from the next room that I can’t make out.]

FC-DDS to Lili: Yes, I need the occlusal mirror.

Me: Occlusal mirror, eh?

FC-DDS: Yes [slight laugh, maybe sinister] the occlusal mirror.

[Lili says something else I can’t make out.]

FC-DDS to Lili: The occlusal mirror is in the top drawer on the left.

Me: Haha, occlusal mirror.

[Pause. Silence. Lili comes in with the occlusal mirror.]

FC-DDS: Okay, I’m going to put the occlusal mirror in your mouth and take a picture.

Me: You know I’ve never heard ‘occlusal mirror’ before today and now I’ve heard it like 50 times.

FC-DDS: Hahaha. Okay, open…

Then he recorded a photograph of my tooth via the occlusal mirror.

This was before the cleaning, so pardon the two years of calculus! Plus there’s something weird about the lighting! They look cleaner now!

My fillings (2). Photo taken by Fred Chao DDS via an ‘occlusal mirror’

He also said chewing ice is bad for teeth and I said I have chewed ice somewhat religiously since I was 15. He told me to stop.

The End


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Feature image by dmmalva, used under CC / BY

Kurt Koller Written by:


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