Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Break

The Dental Ninja will be away from the computer for a while, but be sure to check back in a week or two for more neat-o stories! In the meantime, feel free to read about my brush with a cinnamon-flavored death on my personal blog.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Negotiating prices with the dentist

This is pretty funny if you haven't already seen it. I apologize about the sound quality but it was this way on every version of this video that I found, so I think it was originally like this. Enjoy:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Celebrity Dentist Spotlight: George Hardy

There are basically two types of people in this world: those who have seen the movie "Troll 2" and those who haven't. If you find yourself in the latter group, I suggest you do something about it. I was introduced to this cinematic masterpiece about 10 years ago by some of my, let's say, "more cultured" high school friends.

Troll 2 has recently been heralded as the "best worst movie" and is the subject of a new documentary of the same title. A few highlights that have stuck with me, aside from the spot-on writing and superb acting, were when I noticed a fly landing on the camera lens and then flying away a moment later. Nobody else in the room saw it so we had to go back and watch it again. There was also the point in the movie when a stage hand walked onto the set during an intense fighting scene, realized his mistake, and backed away around a corner. Everyone in the room saw that one.

What I didn't know until this week was that the actor who played Michael Waits, the father of the vacationing family, is a dentist! In a recent interview with Hollywood Insider, George Hardy shares with us how he got involved in such an epic project. A patient of his, who happened to be an actress, told him he should audition for a film being shot in Park City. Armed with only his high school drama background, Hardy was ecstatic when he landed the second lead! He spent the next three weeks alternating between filming and dentistry.

Hardy knew this was no ordinary film when he realized that the crew consisted entirely of Italians who didn't speak English. The lone translator was their wardrobe lady with a background in Italian porn, which is sort of ironic. Do porn movies really need wardrobe people? Hardy thinks that the language barrier was the main reason the movie turned out so weird and remembers sitting in a corner trying, and failing, to make any sense of the script.

Now, 19 years later, Hardy accepts and even embraces his part in one of the worst movies of all time and loves the attention he gets from adoring fans everywhere!

For those of you who still need some convincing, here's a clip I found that highlights some of the wonders of this film, but I strongly recommend just getting the movie instead.

You can't piss on hospitality!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Truckstop Dentist

CNN had an interesting article this week about Dr. Thomas P. Roemer, a dentist with a unique niche. Years ago he noticed several referrals coming into his office from the nearby Iowa 80 Truckstop. (This is no ordinary gas station, folks. The compound sprawls over 200 acres and caters to all things trucker).

Eventually Dr. Roemer realized that he was making more money from his emergency pulpotomies and extractions than he was with the whole gamut of procedures in his general practice, so he closed his doors and set up a one-man operatory within the Iowa 80 Truckstop.

There are several advantages to this practice style. First, it's recession proof. People don't spare any expense when they are in agonizing pain. Second, extremely low overhead expenses. It's practically just the Dr. and the forceps! Third, relieving a patient of their pain can be one of the most rewarding experiences in dentistry because of the sincere appreciation for the service. Some of my best dental school moments have come while working the urgent care block.

The disadvantages? I'm not sure I could spend my whole career doing extractions. At a truckstop. In Iowa. But hey, to each his own! Full article found here at

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sacred Tooth Relic

If any Dental Ninja readers happen to be in Sri Lanka this week, don't miss your chance to visit the Sacred Tooth Relic! Today is the first day of the public exposition which will happen every afternoon until March 16th. Over a million people are expected to visit and pay homage to the tooth, thus invoking blessings of peace and prosperity on the country. More info found in Sri Lanka's Daily News.

What is the Sacred Tooth, you ask? Only the most storied tooth that ever was! Legend has it that after his death, Buddha's body was cremated and somebody retrieved a canine tooth from the pile of ashes. The tooth became a royal possession, and a legend grew that whoever possessed the tooth had a right to rule the land. Consequently wars were fought over possession of the tooth, which I'm sure is exactly what the enlightened one would want.

At one point a King, know as Paandu, decided it would be in everyone's best interest to destroy the tooth. Before he could carry out his plans, a miracle happened and he was converted to Buddhism, and of course he then spared the tooth. The tooth survived other attempts to destroy it and eventually was smuggled to Kandy, Sri Lanka where it resides today.

Here is a picture of the temple housing the canine in Sri Lanka:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Teeth showing up in the most peculiar places

Last Saturday a lucky Wal-mart shopper near Boston happened upon a wallet full of teeth on one of the store shelves. In a completely unnecessary (and untrue) statement, police explained that they can't perform DNA testing because there was no blood or gum tissue attached. What they should have said was that they could access the pulp chambers and do DNA testing, but why on earth would they? To send a message to the rest of us that if we leave our teeth somewhere, they'll find us? Full story at the Boston Globe.

Next we have a story that happened last month in Illinois. Jennifer Napolitano ordered a sandwich from Dunkin' Donuts and discovered, yes, a tooth. Actually this might be a case where DNA testing would come in handy. The source of the tooth would answer a few questions, and based on the amount of people named in Jennifer's lawsuit (4 people and 7 corporations) it would probably be worth it. Jennifer claims that she, "suffered great pain and aguish, both in mind and body, and in the future continues to suffer." Coincidentally, that's exactly how I describe dental school. Full story from Chicago's CBS news.

Lastly, a mystery surrounding a set of dentures that were built into a wall in the British town of Steyning, has recently been solved. An 81-year old claims to have know two guys by the name of Jack and Horace, and they put the teeth into the wall in 1954 as a joke. Since then, various accounts as to the denture's origins have been passed told and re-told. The city is actually asking for someone to donate a new set of teeth so the town can keep the folklore going after the wall is re-built. If you're interested in donating your old dentures, the article found in the Chichester Observer encourages you to visit the construction site.