Bruce C. McArthur, DDS
6565 West Jewell Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80232
The other day, near the end of the week, I saw an adult patient who has what we call a “retained primary tooth.” That’s fancy talk for a left over baby tooth. There is no permanent tooth underneath it, so it has never come out. This happens sometimes, and what usually happens in these cases is that the baby tooth eventually breaks (it wasn’t designed to last forever) and then we need to replace it. So a smart thing to do is to replace this tooth before it breaks, saving the grief of dealing with broken tooth.
This patient and I have discussed this many times, and it still has not broken. He suggested that we create an “Office Pool” to bet on the day it finally breaks! Sounds like fun… but I wouldn’t know what date to bet on!
I have many patients with similar situations… a potential problem that is not actually broken or hurting right now. On the following Sunday afternoon, I got a call from a different patient. She started off by saying “you know that tooth you’ve been telling me is going to break… well it did.” She had been hoping to put off treatment until a more convenient time, but now had to deal with a jagged broken tooth! And instead of being able to schedule treatment around her work schedule, her broken tooth was now ruling her schedule.
Rather than betting in some “Office Pool,” a better bet might be getting preventive work done before the crash!
Today I had a patient that showed the most dedication I can remember seeing in a dental patient!
This lovely young lady was on a skateboard, a longboard, this morning. She was crossing a road in the crosswalk, and an oncoming car apparently did not see her and just kept coming! She put out her hands to protect herself, and was hit by the car! She was pushed up and away from the car, while her skateboard went under the front tire and was smashed. She landed on her back, hitting her head (with a helmet on; good girl!) on the street. As you might expect, she was very shaken up! The driver asked her if she was OK, and she said she thought so… and then he drove off! She went in to work, and they convinced her she should be checked out in the hospital. There they verified she had no broken bones or serious injuries. She is one lucky little lady!
During all this excitement, she took the time to call my office and say that she needed to move her appointment back a bit; did we have anything later in the day? When we saw her later this afternoon we heard the whole story.
This is dedication! She values her dental health, and values the appointments she has made to keep her smile gorgeous. I applaud her perseverance. So she is now awarded my coveted “Patient of the Month” award!
Young lady, this blog’s for you!
I saw a patient the other day who is a world traveler. She heads for some of the most remote areas on earth to see and identify rare birds. She has been to more countries than I can even count!
But she has many teeth that are in trouble. She told us “If it weren’t for my warped sense of values, I’d have much healthier teeth!” She realizes that by putting her energy into her travel itinerary instead of maintaining a healthy mouth, she has created a number of problems for herself.
One of the most obvious problems was a front tooth that has broken and needs repair. She has other teeth with decay, and they are at risk of breaking too. How much fun would it be to have a tooth break in the middle of a trip, far away from comprehensive dental care?
While I might not have used the word “warped”, I do see people all the time that put a higher priority on so many other things before taking care of themselves. From a dental viewpoint, this almost always results in small problems growing to larger ones, which take more time, energy and yes, money, to clear up.
So now that we are starting a new year, maybe we should all evaluate ourselves and make sure we are not letting “Warped Priorities” keep us from excellence in our lives!
|I am writing this while sitting on top of a hill behind the church and clinic. The call it “Mount Zion.” It is about a half hour hike up a very steep trail… Or you can wimp out and ride in the magic bus (our 60′s vintage VW) on a very narrow road. Guess which I did!|
|Last case of the week
|He looks better now!
|Team on Mount Zion
|Cooks prepare picnic dinner at top of the hill
|Town of Cascas; note Catholic church in center of town
|Church and clinic in center of picture, taken from top of hill
We met on top of the hill they call “Mount Zion”. Our fantastic local cooks got there first and boiled water over an open fire for hot chocolate and tea. They made us pita sandwiches, some with pb&j, some large ones stuffed with avocado. The avocados here are really amazing – just super tasty! We also had bananas and tangerines. After dinner they lit the bonfire and we had a few speeches. Then the fun part – a singing contest! They sang some songs for us, then expected some in return. It was lots of fun to hear somewhat familiar songs in a different language!
Watching the sun set over the valley and the lights come on in the little town was really beautiful. A great ending to a great mission experience!
|Cascas at night