Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Toothy Technology

Not quite what we're having, but close. 

We have begun our orthodontic journey.  It was inevitable.  We have family history of shit teeth (my side) and several ex and current thumb suckers.

Back in the 80’s my parents spent several thousand dollars straightening my teeth.  My orthodontist (Dr Rickleman?) loved safari suits.  He always wore one and had them in different shades of brown and khaki. He also had terrible teeth.  Like really terrible.  His office was at the top of one of the tallest buildings in Brisbane at the time.  I remember the view was one (possibly the only) reason I enjoyed appointments there.  And getting out of school for a few hours.

So I took Sarah to the orthodontist last week. They make dental professionals differently these days. He's his late 30’s, quite good looking, with perfect teeth.  He oozes confidence.  He tells Sarah she has a beautiful smile and she lights up like a candle and smiles some more. 

However, she has a lower jaw that doesn’t poke far enough forward and an upper jaw that pokes forward too much.  So she needs pulling back and pushing forward.  Of course our orthodontist has just the thing to fix it (fancy that!) and Sarah has now had band separators put in and impressions done, ready for installation of the device (not braces, but some funky thing that hangs off her back teeth) in a couple of weeks. 

Poor girl.  It’s going to hurt.  But the payoff is huge.

Anyway, what amazed me about the experience was the high tech feeling.  In our consult room was a standard dentist chair (in funky yellow), a consultation desk and two gigantic monitors.  Dr H moved between these, clicking away at various mice and showing me photos of past patients and their success with the device he was suggesting.  He tried to show us a You Tube video (of course) but they’d just installed new software (of course) and it wouldn’t work.  Dr H himself had an ipad mini, as did one of his assistants. 

Together the three of them x-rayed Sarah, took photos, flicked them immediately onto the large monitor, compared side and front x-rays, put our plan for treatment and associated costs onto a USB stick for us to take home and booked our next appointment. 

This all took about 20 minutes.  It was like a whirlwind of technology.  

I seem to remember attending Dr Whatshisnames offices many, many times.  We had to make an appointment just to be told we needed x-rays, then go off to get the x-rays and come back weeks later.  There were, of course, no photographs. 

I’m a fan of technology.  And I’ve never seen a professional office so completely embrace all it can offer the way this place has.  I’m damned impressed.

And the cost?  It's on the USB stick they gave me.  I haven't looked at it yet.  If it was 1986 it would be on a paper  In 2014 I can stay in denial a little bit longer. 

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos: stockimages.