Open Wide

Since I had a brain tumor, I went to Dr. Ivey. He was a little crazy as most older dentists are.

The reason for this is that people hate their dentists and after a lifetime of being hated, dentists turn a little crazy. Younger dentists are not crazy but they don’t know anything so it’s best to go to an older crazy dentist.

Dr. Ivey looked in my mouth. “That’s a beautiful gold crown in your molar,” he said.

“How long have you had it?”

“A year,” I said.

“And when did your ears start ringing?” he asked me.

“About eleven and a half months ago,” I said. “That’s when my brain tumor developed.”

“You don’t have a brain tumor,” he said. “Your problem is teeth.”

“Maybe I’ve been brushing wrong,” I said.

“There is no wrong way, short of using a jack hammer,” said Dr. Ivey.

“What are you talking about?” I asked, “if you brush your teeth wrong, you’ll get gum disease and your teeth will fall out.”

“Oh, that’s just nonsense,” said Dr. Ivey. “Brushing and flossing has almost nothing to do with keeping your gums healthy.”

“Then why do gums go bad?” I asked.

“Because your bite is bad. Your teeth don’t line up right and the next thing you know, they start to wiggle, and soon after that they fall out of your head.”

“What causes a bad bite?” I asked.

“Dentistry,” he said.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” I said.

“No. Your eight hundred dollar gold crown changed your bite. That’s why your ears ring. Where the jawbone connects to the skull is smaller than a dime. It’s a delicate fulcrum – your jaw is a lever that can exert over a thousand pounds per square inch. Change the bite a fraction and you’ll hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in your head for the rest of your life.”

“Could this ringing get worse?” I asked.

“Absolutely, you could also develop pain so intense you’ll wish you were dead. Some people kill themselves after awhile.”

“And all of this is caused by a bad bite?” I asked.

“In most cases, yes. Healthy teeth – and that’s teeth that are correctly aligned – don’t usually decay. Healthy teeth produce healthy gums. Bad gums in nearly all cases are the result of poor alignment.”

“But what about periodontists who cut away the gum and chisel out your jaw?” I asked.

“They take millions from patients,” said Dr. Ivey. “They’re usually treating the symptom of a bad bite, not the cause.”

“Good grief,” I said. “Other than staying away from periodontists is there anything else I should know about keeping my teeth?” I asked.

“Stay away from cosmetic dentistry,” said Dr. Ivey.

“You mean like caps and orthodontics?” I asked.

“Yep,” said Dr. Ivey. “If a dentist doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing, he’ll change your bite and then, curtains – “

“What do the other dentists say about you?” I asked.

“They swear at me a lot,” he said.

“Can I quote you on that?” I asked.

“No. And if you write anything about me, don’t use my real name. It’s bad enough to have all my patients hate me, I don’t want to alienate the dentists too.”



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