Monday, July 12, 2010

Open your mouth… open wider…

My dentist retired back in January. This is the first time I've been a long term patient and the doctor retired. He chose a replacement and sent all his records there. Last week was my first time visiting the new office. I was back today to "consult."

I think my previous dentist was trained in the 1960s. I don't think his office changed much in the intervening years. The new guy graduated in 1974 (I saw his diploma), which makes me think he might retire in about 5 years. However, there was a big difference in the two offices with the new one much more high-tech. They started off with a gazillion x-rays, which were then loaded into the computer. Then came a slew of photos of my mouth. Those were loaded too. The dentist measured my "bite" and that data went into the computer. The hygienist who cleaned my teeth took measurements of gum health and called those out to an assistant who entered them into the computer. There was a monitor in the room so before she was done the hygienist could display my x-rays (to fill the screen!) and say my teeth were in pretty good shape.

For the consultation today the dentist could display the x-rays and photos as needed to discuss various aspects of my teeth. He could even enlarge a photo so that the tooth being discussed filled the screen -- and this was a pretty good size screen. But not a beautiful picture.

The summary is I have a half-dozen fillings that are getting old and need to be replaced sometime over the next year or so. There are a couple other situations that should be monitored, though not necessarily treated. There is another aspect to all this tech. My copay seems to be much larger.

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