Boy, Oh Boy, Do I Love Radiation! -- By Your Dentist

Great to see you again! Wow, hard to believe it's been six months already. Time sure flies between check-ups, don't you think? I see Maureen has already finished up with your scaling and polishing, so, hey, at least the boring stuff's out of the way! Which means it's time for the main attraction: the X-rays! Because man, do I ever love me some radiation!

Yep, there's just something we dentists absolutely adore about highly penetrative ionizing particle emissions bombarding a patient's face! And the thing about teeth is that because they're the densest bones you have, they end up absorbing radiation better than any other body part. They just suck it all up like a thirsty houseplant! "Yum, yum, yum! Gimme more!" I bet they'd say!

And there are so many exciting ways to get the radiation into you! Bite wing X-rays, periapical X-rays, occlusal X-rays. Or my personal favorite, the panoramic X-ray, where I literally stick your head inside a machine that spews radiation into the nasal area, sinuses, jaw joints, teeth and surrounding bone. Heck, it even catches the lower lip and the mandibular nerve! Who ever heard of someone getting a cavity in those places? That's the great thing about radiation. It's an equal opportunity kinda playa, you know what I mean?

You see this? It's not just a dental X-ray machine. It's the DP-W-70 wall-mount model! A true thing of beauty. Do you know it costs less than $2,200 for one of these babies? What a steal, huh? You can even order it online! I'm thinking of getting one for my home. Heck, you should too!

You're looking a little anxious all of a sudden. No reason to be! After all, X-rays play a vital role in tooth protection. You see, sometimes a cavity is so incredibly tiny, there's no possible way to detect it with normal dental instruments. Which is why we need to bring our good friend radiation into the picture and track down the hole in your lateral incisor that's one-tenth the size of a pin's head. I mean, who'd want to walk around with that inside their mouth?

Which, of course, is why we then isolate the tooth, drill a hole 20 times the cavity's original size and drop a filling into it. Ahh, much better! And all thanks to radiation! It does a bang-up job and asks for nothing in return! Well, except for the chance to leave you with a teensy-to-moderate amount of DNA corruption. But don't worry, the human body can often detect and repair that. And if not, then hey, that's what programmed cell death is for, silly! Geez, it's not like we're plying you full of asbestos or something -- now that would be crazy!

Speaking of crazy, check out this story. The other day, one of my all-time best patients comes in with a real dark cloud hanging over her head. You know, like the kind Ziggy has on a Monday morning! When I ask what's wrong, she reveals she's just been diagnosed with pre-cancerous lesions along her gumline. Yikes! And she doesn't even smoke. Weird, huh?

Anyhow, I look her square in the eyes and explain that when you're hit with this kind of illness, there's nothing more important than keeping up your health. Specifically your dental health! And so a few sets of cephalometric projection X-rays later, she leaves my office with the knowledge that those nefarious Cavity Creeps won't be dampening her spirits anytime soon! Thanks, radiation! You've done it again!

Well, it looks like we're done here! That wasn't so bad, was it? So keep up that brushing and I'll see you again in six months for your next dose of the good stuff! Actually, you know what? Let's make it three months! I've got a killer Evolution X 3000-2C/1 machine being delivered in a few weeks, and I'm totally jonesing to try it out!