Thursday, August 28, 2014

Your Dental Horoscope: Converts, Obesessors and Casuals.

People come in all shapes and sizes, and with all kinds of habits.  Nobody is perfect.  When it comes to caring for their teeth, my patients run the gamut from "I brush five times a day and floss after every meal," to "Floss? What's floss?"

Some people are "Converts."  I'm one myself.  Converts had dental issues as a child or adult.  They may have worn braces.  They definitely have fillings and/or crowns and perhaps have had a root canal or two.  They know how many shots of anesthetic it takes to get them numb.  They don't want to go through that anymore.  They don't want to spend the money on it.  They've realized that toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss are much less expensive than fillings and caps, and prefer to spend their cash on outrageous items like food, clothing and rent.  They see the value in maintaining what they've got.  They take it as a personal failure if they get a cavity and may become depressed.  A "Dental Horoscope" for the Convert would be as follows: You are a practical, conscientious person.  You value your time and the time of others so you make an extra effort to get the job done.  You count every dollar and every blessing.  You are cheap.

Then there are the "Obsessors."  (It's a nicer term than fanatic, don't you think?)  Obsessors love their teeth.  They own several electric toothbrushes with a variety of features.  They typically have had little or no dental work.  If they have a filling, they remember exactly when they got it and why: "I told Aunt Zelda to NOT send me those cookies.  Then Hurricane Wanda hit.  We had no water and drank only soda for three days."  They now have an emergency kit with three days supply of water in their home and their car.  Obsessors will call a week before their dental hygiene appointment to confirm.  Obsessors have taken great care of their teeth their whole lives.  Maybe too great.  They have areas of gum recession and enamel wear that may cause them to need fillings or gum surgery.  Intervention and compliance are necessary.  They must be taught brushing techniques, like using the non-dominant hand with a soft (SOFT) brush, so that they don't brush their gums and teeth right out of their mouths.  They must be reminded that they are brushing teeth, not grout.  Their horoscope would read something like this: You are a precise and organized person.  You believe there is a place for everything and everything in its place.  If everyone just did what you said, life would be perfect. Your life, that is.  You will make a note in the comments section challenging my usage of the word obesessor as a noun and not as a verb with the direct object.

Finally, there are the "Casuals".  "Hey," I might say to one of these folks, "how'd you break that front tooth?"  They might answer, "My front tooth is broken?"  Casuals take a long pause before answering the question, "How often do you floss?" A really long pause.  But most Casuals are exceedingly honest.  They won't lie about their dental hygiene routine because they don't have one.  And they know that as soon as you look in their mouths you'll know it, too.  With the right encouragement, Casuals can become Converts or even Obsessors.  For the dental professional this could be accomplished using words such as periodontal disease, bone loss and severely bleeding gums.  Their spouses or significant others may also inspire change using phrases like, "Your breath stinks," or "I wouldn't kiss you with a ten foot pole."  Here is the horoscope for the Casuals:  You are honest, forthright and open.  You believe that others should be honest and forthright and open, too.  Unless they are giving you bad news.  Then you don't mind engaging in some good, old-fashioned denial.

Are you a Convert, Obsessor, or Casual, or are you somewhere in between? 

Wishing you good health, Yvonne

This blog is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any condition or illness.

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