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Recently I have reflected on some of the incongruities in the dental profession. Don’t you find it strange that you pay a professional to dig a hole in your tooth (that had not even been bothering you) in order to charge you even more to fill that same hole with some indefinable metal (that used to be gold but I am sure has since been devalued). OK — I get it — you are performing preventive maintenance to guard against the cavity that would only deepen and eventually cause pain. But where are the checks and balances. We know where the checks are coming from . . . and we know how that affects our balances.

Cleaning the teeth actually seems to have some merit. As the plaque gets chipped off the frozen tundra by various tools of excavation, we spit enough blood and food bits to sense some level of perceived value. That is where the magic with mirrors begins. The hygienist gives way to the higher priced spelunker who pokes around every possible crevice with his minute pick — only stopping to gasp “Aha” (which equates to “Eureka” in his financial accounting system.)

There is never any option as to whether you would prefer to go untreated — I mean we all know what type of inner damage unseen termites can do to our house. How much more the insidious nature of ongoing decay as it attacks our very root structure. “Pay me now or Pay me later” seems to be the mantra — with the emphasis on “Paying me.” Where are those dentists who like the socially minded lawyers offer to do some pro bono work from time to time? I’m sure they exist but they are outside the realm of my experience. I guess they figure that sending you home with a free toothbrush will ease the bite on the old wallet.

It seems like I am always being prepped for my next crown. I think I am up to about 7 crowns already — the theme song for my dentist is “Crown him with many crowns.” Fortunately I have a limited number of teeth — so the potential for future crowns is shrinking!