Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath


I’ve had many horrible dental procedures over the years. I’ve had crowns, titanium posts screwed into my jaw, root canals, redone root canals, a lasered root canal with no anesthesia, impacted wisdom teeth extracted with only a local, a wisdom tooth that broke and the roots got stuck, necessitating the incompetent dentist (that looked exactly like Craig Kilbourn) to pack my mouth in cotton and send me across town to the hospital to wait for hours on a surgeon, a crown that came off during a cleaning, and some filling drilling with no anesthesia. (And yes, everyone that hears this says “WELL WHY DONT YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH”, and it’s more complicated than that. A lifetime of Cokes is a problem, but so is 18 years of well water with no fluoride, and a medication that really puts the zap on your teeth.)

Last week, one of my fillings came out, while flossing. It was a slice on the back of one of my front teeth, which makes things complicated. The new dentist said I’d need that crowned, and that’s what I would have guessed, so there goes $1200. (Plus another for $1200, minus 50% insurance, so $1200.) But if he puts a shiny white new crown next to my other not-so-white teeth in the front, I would look stupid. (I could have opted for a gold crown and became a pimp, but it’s hard to be a pimp in a Toyota Yaris.) So the newest torture is that I have to bleach all of my teeth to a pearly white to match the new stuff. And I’m not against having movie star white teeth, but there’s more to the story.

The way this works is, he made imprints of my teeth with a weird rubber junk. Then they made ceramic positives from them. (I got to keep them, and they are weird. here are pictures.) Then they made little clear trays from those, and gave me a syringe of a high-powered bleaching gel. This differs from the stuff you find in the drug store in the toothpaste aisle because the tray is form-fitting, and the gel is ten times stronger. So I fill that up and put it in for a half-hour a shot, twice a day, and in a few days, my teeth will be bright white. And my existing dental work won’t be, which will require some resurfacing on a few teeth at a later date. And there’s one crown that is already white, and two more on the way.

This issue is this: the bleach opens up these “pores” in your teeth and infiltrates them, zapping out all of the dark stuff in the enamel. And if you eat any staining stuff during the regimen, or for the same length after the treatment (i.e. four days of bleaching + four days of recovery = eight days) the staining stuff will get in and make it worse. So, no soda, coffee, tea, tomato sauce, and anything else that would stain a white shirt. And as you know, I drink several servings of beverages in that category. Furthermore, any citrus food or drink will basically feel like you’ve put battery acid in your mouth. And I am trying not to drink any sugar because of my diet. So what does that leave? Water. And milk, but I hate drinking milk. I guess there are various soy milk things, but let’s get back out of the milk category here. I think there are a couple of clear energy drinks with no sugar and a million milligrams of caffeine. At any rate, yesterday was a pretty crashed-out day for me. But the teeth are getting whiter.

And yes I saw the Manny high-five catch. For those wondering, a player can get ejected for any interaction with a fan, which includes high-fiving them; it’s in the rules. It’s the same as if a fan hit a player from the stands – they would be in the parking lot in seconds. Anyway, if you’re at all interested in seeing Brewers announcer and sports legend Bob Uecker in a swimsuit (and I mean 2008 Uecker, not 1854 Uecker), check out page 51 of the latest Sports Illustrated, the one with Danica on the cover. Anyway, I always love those behind-the-scenes articles, and there’s a good one following the Brewers on a brutal 10-game trip. I don’t usually read SI because you can get the gist of the whole thing by reading their web page, but they gave me a free subscription when I got the MLB audio season pass. And that has been fairly worthless, other than the chance to hear the Rockies get beat for the tenth time in a row. Colorado is now last in the NL West, and I don’t think they will do much more than third or fourth this year. Arizona is definitely first, and I am sure they will go to the World Series. Oh well, at least they aren’t last in their division with the biggest payroll in baseball.

Two games next week – Cardinals at San Diego on Tuesday, driving down with my friend Julie to see Petco Field for the first time. (I don’t know if it’s where the pets go.) Then on Saturday, it’s Cardinals at Dodgers. Not really looking forward to Dodger Stadium after last time, but at least it’s not the Rockies, and the Cardinals are doing better this year. Still, I can’t wear a Rockies jersey there. I really want to get a vintage Astros jersey, maybe Nolan Ryan, when they were all psychadelic dayglo orange. But those jerseys were pullovers, not front button, and any jersey costs a hundred bucks, so I’ll stick with a t-shirt.

It’s beautiful outside. I should go out there.