For more years than I care to remember, I’ve been putting off getting a really old dental filling fixed. Two of them actually, right next door to each other. One is huge, and probably pretty deep. My dentist has been reminding me about these for a while now, well, twice a year at least, at every cleaning. Tells me that there’s always a risk that they can break, and breakage usually happens at the worst time, like during the holidays.<br />n<br />nWell, I finally bit the bullet (well, not really, that would really cause those teeth to break!) and got the fillings removed and had caps installed. Sometimes they are called crowns.<br />n<br />nThe process, if you think about it, is a bit queasy making, but not really. It’s not a cleaning, but it’s not a root canal, either. What they do is basically grind the tooth down then permanently glue a cap on top of it. And that’s it. And so that’s what happened to a couple of my molars this past week.<br />n<br />nOne of the crowns that was installed, the one in the far back, has a gold top. I still don’t get why gold is used. I mean, isn’t it a very malleable metal, nice and soft, so that it would mush under the pressurized stress of my jaw muscles? Well, they’ve been using it for years, and continue to do so, and I trust my dentist, so I went with it. It should last the rest of my life. And the one in front of it is porcelain, nice and white since you can see it. And really, two gold molars right next to each other is a bit much. I don’t rap, after all.<br />n<br />nThe event, or process, or procedure, whatever, wasn’t bad at all. I asked lots of questions, got lots of good answers and information about many things dental. And we were using his new digital x-ray system, which outputs images nearly instantaneously. And exports them to common image file formats. Take a look, this is my back molar that now has the gold cap on top.<br />n<br />n<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaworskihouse/6805433143/” title=”Rob’s Roots”><img src=”http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7171/6805433143_8a7305541e_m.jpg” width=”240″ height=”188″ alt=”Rob’s Roots”></a><br />n<br />nWhat’s cool about those roots in the middle of the image? Take a look. They look like legs, complete with a distinct knee and calf! The other thing about this tooth is that the roots are fused at the bottom with a piece of bone between the roots. If this tooth ever had to get extracted, it would be a big job, says that I’d have to be put under, because that piece of bone would have to come out with it. Yikes. Pardon me while I go floss and generally perform some good dental hygiene.<br />n<br />nAnd finally, here is the model of my beautiful smile. I was checking it out in the dentist chair and was offered to take it home. You bet I will! So now I have one really personal paperweight.<br />n<br />n<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaworskihouse/6805433085/” title=”Rob’s Smile”><img src=”http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7143/6805433085_f5e2eb6e79_m.jpg” width=”240″ height=”180″ alt=”Rob’s Smile”></a><br />n<br />nWell, I’m still getting used to these caps and the change in my bite. That tooth with the deep filling/cap is a bit tender, and I’m hoping it settles down real soon now. But in the meantime, I’m still in a fascinated state over my cool x-ray image for all to enjoy!