The highlight of my day was a trip to the dentist. Nothing major, not even the annual check-up, it was just a regular cleaning. I wouldn’t even bother with these so frequently, but with insurance it’s free. I wonder if we’re really any better off by having someone scrape and polish our teeth every six months. Wasn’t that plaque forming a protective layer? Isn’t all that abrasive cleaning removing enamel too? I got to wondering when the dental insurance industry decided that it was better to pay the hygienists for all this “preventive maintenance” than to just wait until patients came in when they needed real treatment. What must it have been like when that first policy change kicked in, back in the early days? I can just imagine a family, blissfully thinking they were fine with brushing twice daily, suddenly being told that it surely wasn’t enough. How did our ancestors live long enough to procreate without dental floss?
Six months ago was my previous cleaning, which coincided with my annual check-up. Back then they told me I probably should have a wisdom tooth either filled or pulled because it was developing cracks and would soon have cavities. I ignored this advice. Today, six months later, the hygienist said I “might” have a cavity. She wasn’t qualified to make such a diagnosis, and said she would mark it down in my chart, to have someone look at it again on my next visit. I won’t return for another six months.
Heck, I’ve probably sucked all the wisdom out of these teeth by this point. I had the bottom two pulled out when I was in college, when they became impacted, but the top ones have hung in there for many decades. They have nothing to bite down on, but I think I would miss them if they went away now.
So, I’ll probably have them filled, six more months from now. This assumes I still have the insurance to cover it. Dental floss is a bargain in comparison.