Yeah, so I went to the dentist yesterday. And I hadn't been to the dentist in, oh, awhile. My mother had been on my case, hounding me, offering to pay — basically everything short of going to dental school herself. (I've got a great mom.) So I finally got an appointment. For yesterday. And just before going in, I started to get a little nervous about what they'd find. Maybe I drank the paleo kool-aid a little too much and thought I was invincible — not realizing that even paleo-flavored kool-aid will rot your teeth.
So I arrive, and the dental hygienist starts to drill me with questions (in a commanding Eastern European accent):
- When was the last time you went to the dentist? Uh, probably about a year and a half ago. Or so. Oh dear, she says.
- I see on your chart that you said you floss regularly. How often do you floss? Oh, every week or two. Dear, that's not regularly. Yes, it is — I regularly floss every week or two. I seeee, she says. [Editorial note: I also floss whenever food is stuck in my teeth.]
- How often do you brush? Twice, sometimes three times a day. Good.
- Does anything hurt? No. Good.
- I also don't eat much of any sugar, no candy at all, no processed food, no soda, and fairly little carbohydrate. Ok.
Then she takes X-rays. They have an awesome digital X-ray machine, so they actually can email me pics of my chompers.
And the verdict?
- You have really beautiful teeth. Oh, why thank you! You must have good genes. Or my diet may have something to do with it.
- Though I do see a little spot here that might be something. Uh oh. The dentist will have to take a closer look. [Editorial note: #@*&!!!]
I'm starting to feel like a really big idiot who should have gone to the dentist more often. I get to dwell on that thought while she cleans my teeth.
She uses this awesome ultrasound plaque removal device. ULTRA-SONIC BOOM! Next up, she uses this amazing high-pressure sand-blaster to strafe my teeth with baking soda or something, in order to polish and whiten them. This was slightly unsettling, especially the part where I accidentally moved, and she soda-blasted the bottom of my mouth.
- So you didn't have a whole lot of plaque. That's cool. But you had some stains. That would be the coffee.
Then she called in the dentist. The moment of truth. I'm definitely getting nervous, releasing some serious cortisol at this point. He comes in and starts picking at my mouth. Then he and the hygienist start talking in dental code. Did you see the D12? Yes, I think it's an PRD. Boy, do I hate that. If you're going to talk about me behind my back, at least have the courtesy to do it behind my back. People these days, no manners.
- Well, you have a cavity. Shoot. Where is it? Upper row, left side, molar next to your canine. It's on the side in between that molar and the next molar. What did it look like on the X-ray? Well, it doesn't show up on the X-ray, that other spot was nothing. But it's early — some of the enamel is gone and it sticks when I press it. What do you recommend? Put in a filling. How much does that cost? ~$350. [Editorial Note: I don't have dental insurance.] I'd like to try a dietary approach first. Hmm…. [long pause]…well, you know that the enamel doesn't grow back. What did you have in mind?
Then I explained about Mellanby and Price.
The dentist said I was free to wait and see, and said he'd be happy to see if that part of the tooth was still "sticky" in a few months, free of charge. Nice guy. Though I have to say, I've never completely trusted dentists. They have a financial incentive to recommend unnecessary procedures, after all.
So I went home and bought some Green Pastures High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil / Butter Oil Blend, already have a lot of Vitamin D, and we're going to run a little experiment of n = 1. And I shot an email to the dentist and bet him $20 that the tooth will heal. Gotta put your money with your mouth is, right? And whether it works or not, you'll hear about it from me.
Oh, one more thing. I looked up the date of my prior visit to the dentist — turns out it had been longer than I had thought. I hadn't been to the dentist in 2 years and 3 months. Oops. Sorry, mom!
Anyhow, stay tuned…
NOTE: I am not encouraging you avoid the dentist. Please go. There are probably lots of factors that determine whether you'll more likely to get cavities: coffee, genes, alcohol, occasional deserts, flossing, mineral content of your diet, and more. Let me be the idiot guinea pig.