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Goo gracious - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Goo gracious
Dentist's appointment this lunchtime, to get impressions of my teeth taken so that they can make me a fake tooth to hide that gap in my front teeth. It's years and years since I've had impressions taken, so I wondered if the process had changed at all. It hasn't, really, except that it seemed a bit quicker. Maybe I'm less impatient than I was when I was 9? It seems unlikely.

The process is fairly simple: basically they fill a plastic dental plate with pink goo, whack it on your teeth, and hold it there until the pink goo sets. It's not painful, and the goo is mostly tasteless, but the fact remains that you're sitting there with your mouth wide open and stuffed with something that feels like rather vile-tasting chewing-gum while the dentist leans heavily on your palate.

(Actually, it's not quite like chewing-gum. The consistency of this stuff, when it goes in your mouth, is almost exactly the consistency that Blu-Tak goes when you chew it. DON'T ASK. It sets harder than even the Blu-Tak that you find in the corner of your desk drawer when you leave a job.)

"What's that stuff made of?" I asked, inbetween impressions. (Obviously. If I'd asked while I had the thing in my mouth, it would have come out as "Och ha ush aygov?")
"I'll tell you afterwards," he said, smirking. ... Then he relented. "Nah, okay. It's made of seaweed."
"Oh! Cool," I said. I wondered if he expected more of a reaction.
"Well, you eat it in Chinese restaurants, don't you," said the cheerful dental nurse.
"Yeah, exactly," I said, thinking, actually, that's cabbage, but never mind.
"That's cabbage," said the dentist. The nurse looked amazed.
"You mean it's not real seaweed?"
"Nope. It's cabbage. Check it with [someone] if you don't believe me," he said, and then explained to me that the chap he'd named was one of the other dentists, whose father owned a Chinese restaurant.

There was a long silence which, my mouth being full of dental equipment, I was unable to interrupt. Finally the silence was broken by the dental nurse.

"I always thought it was real seaweed," she said, in aggrieved tones. The dentist laughed at her, and I tried to laugh with him while not seeming to laugh at her, a conceptual comedic contortion which nearly made me sprain a tooth.

In addition to the impressions, they took photos of my teeth. I bared my teeth hungrily at the shiny digital camera (a common reaction) but the only snapping was that of whatever you call the camera's digital analogy (if that isn't too much of an oxymoron) for a shutter. As well as my unaided grimace, they took several photos of my teeth being forcibly bared by a plastic mouth-opening device. Not quite Clockwork Orange stuff, but still a bit gruesome. They also held up lots of FAKE PLASTIC TEETH next to my teeth to try to work out what colour the veneer will have to be, like the toothy equivalent of a Dulux colour-charts. I'll have magnolia with a hint of coffee-stain, please.

As the dentist was writing up his notes at the end, I asked if I could have copies of the photos -- "so I can do a 'before and after' thing on my website." His turn to laugh at me, now, while the nurse looked baffled. "Yeah, okay, it's a bit sad, isn't it," I said. "No, not at all," I expected him to say. "Yeah," he said, grinning.

(He's agreed to give me the photos, though. One of them should be just a full-frame photo of my mouth with a long row of FAKE PLASTIC TEETH underneath it. It would be weird to have that as an LJ icon, right?)

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pseudomonas From: pseudomonas Date: September 16th, 2005 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huzzah for seaweed! Glad to hear it wasn't too uncomfortable :)
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: September 16th, 2005 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hah! I'm going in for the first stage of this on Monday morning — getting twenty-five-year-old caps on my front teeth replaced. So I WON'T HAVE A GREY FRONT TOOTH ANY MORE and I can GRIN A BIG GURNING GRIN IN PHOTOS!

I must say, asking for copies of the pics hadn't occurred to me. I shall be sure to do so :-D
j4 From: j4 Date: September 16th, 2005 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
<lj community="show_your_teeth"> -- ISAGN!
simont From: simont Date: September 16th, 2005 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
It would be weird to have that as an LJ icon, right?

And we couldn't have that. LJ icons are such a serious medium.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 16th, 2005 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, they're one of the most interesting popular artforms blah blah blah known to blah blah constraints of the medium yada yada two inches of ivory moo moo pls give me a column in the Guardian kthxbye.
From: bibliogirl Date: September 16th, 2005 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think digital cameras still have a shutter... well, digital SLRs do, anyhow.

A long, long time ago I had the gap between my front teeth fixed (they removed a bit of gum which was keeping them separate). That was all fine until I had a root canal on one of them several years later. Even _that_ was fine until a few years back when the one which hadn't had the canal done decided it wanted to move, and now it sticks out and looks daft. I probably should get something done about that except that my dislike of dentists is legendary. If they could knock me out and get the whole thing done at once I'd be happy, but if I have to keep going back and enduring them poking around in my mouth, I honestly don't think I could.
reddragdiva From: reddragdiva Date: September 16th, 2005 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am evidently weird in really liking dentist visits. I lie back and do nothing. No-one can phone me, page me or ask me stupid questions. It's remarkably restful.
lnr From: lnr Date: September 16th, 2005 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
photos> *giggle*

Your dentist sounds cool.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 16th, 2005 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
He is! And v cute actually ahem not that I'm interested obv.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: September 16th, 2005 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
The process is fairly simple: basically they fill a plastic dental plate with pink goo, whack it on your teeth, and hold it there until the pink goo sets. It's not painful, and the goo is mostly tasteless, but the fact remains that you're sitting there with your mouth wide open and stuffed with something that feels like rather vile-tasting chewing-gum while the dentist leans heavily on your palate.

I think I was thirteen when I had this done, prior to getting a brace in so that my upper front teeth would at some point have a hope in hell of being able to touch my lower front teeth. It worked, which was a relief as the next option up is "break the lower jaw and take a centimetre of bone out, then stick it back together".

The consistency of this stuff, when it goes in your mouth, is almost exactly the consistency that Blu-Tak goes when you chew it. DON'T ASK.

Awwww...

"Oh! Cool," I said. I wondered if he expected more of a reaction.
"Well, you eat it in Chinese restaurants, don't you," said the cheerful dental nurse.


That would be Japanese, no ? Or Welsh.

"Yeah, exactly," I said, thinking, actually, that's cabbage, but never mind.

Can't say I've ever heard of cabbage masquerading as seaweed, though.

(He's agreed to give me the photos, though. One of them should be just a full-frame photo of my mouth with a long row of FAKE PLASTIC TEETH underneath it. It would be weird to have that as an LJ icon, right?)

Yes, but definitely cool weird rather than bad weird.
k425 From: k425 Date: September 16th, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Deep fried seaweed is actually cabbage. On the menu in most Chinese restaurants and takeaways I frequent. The stuff in Japanese restaurants really is seaweed.
k425 From: k425 Date: September 16th, 2005 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
At a guess, it's alginate, which is indeed from seaweed. I used to hate having impressions done.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 16th, 2005 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's the badger! I could see the name on the tin, but didn't make the "algae" connection until after he'd told me. (D'oh.) In my defence I plead that seaweed is not pink. :-)
(Deleted comment)
hairyears From: hairyears Date: September 16th, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

The Gums People Play


Weird icons... What would be weirder:

  1. ...The original idea: a full-frame photo of your mouth with a long row of FAKE PLASTIC TEETH underneath it?
  2. Your mouth, photoshopped to the width required to accommodate a long row of FAKE PLASTIC TEETH?
  3. Or a mouth of the correct size and delightful rosebud shape, viewing each and every member of the long row of FAKE PLASTIC TEETH by animated scrolling from left to right?
Of course, I don't rule out the possibility of something even weirder.

You can tell I'm busy today. Or drinking far too much coffee.

taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: September 16th, 2005 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: The Gums People Play

Your mouth, photoshopped to the width required to accommodate a long row of FAKE PLASTIC TEETH?

Ewww, this reminds me of recent Goodfella's pizza bus-stop ads, which really freaked me out. Yuck.
addedentry From: addedentry Date: September 16th, 2005 02:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm putty in your, er, mouth

Blu-Tack is a good comparison. Enough of your readership will have been urchins to have tried it once. No use comparing it to dental alginate.

Other things which I have put in my mouth and are thus available for comparison are coins, pencils and semen. Not dishwater, though, or RJ45 cables. I imagine they taste like chicken.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 16th, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm putty in your, er, mouth

Alginate, that's the badger. I would have included that in my post, but it would have compromised narrative consistency, and besides, I was too busy indulging in proxy-flirting in LJ comments, as you kno.

Interestingly, Blu-Tak is actually quite pleasant to chew until the point when it acquires the consistency of dental alginate.

And you can't chew semen!! I don't think you're really as gay as you pretend.
nja From: nja Date: September 16th, 2005 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think I have a particularly high "ick" level, but why would anyone object to seaweed? It's just vegetable matter. I did a silly online survey yesterday on which one of the answers "revealed" that cochineal is made of dead beetles, as if there is anyone on the planet who doesn't already know that. I don't mind cochineal, and I'm a) fairly squeamish and b) vegetarian (albeit a rather sloppy one). I'll quite happily eat fruit pastilles too, despite the fact that they are basically boiled down cow hooves with colouring and citric acid.
j4 From: j4 Date: September 16th, 2005 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think a lot of people think seaweed is slimy and fishy. (Which it is, but it's also yummy.) You have less ick than these people, I'd guess.

Most cochineal these days isn't made of dead beetles, but you'd be amazed how many people don't even know that it used to be, let alone that it isn't any more.

My sister refused to lick envelopes or stamps throughout the BSE scare years because somebody told her the glue was made of cow bones. I liked the taste of envelope glue too much to give it up. Not to mention STEAK.
ewx From: ewx Date: September 16th, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

digital analogy for a shutter

Often that'd just be a shutter, but some googling suggests there are digicams without a physical shutter too. Apparently long exposure to bright light can damage the sensors, so you'd have to be a bit more careful with such cameras if you didn't want to damage the sensor (which may well be the most expensive component).

truecatachresis From: truecatachresis Date: September 16th, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
The thing I don't get about the whole cabbage/seaweed thing is that no menu I've ever seen actually says "When we say seaweed, we don't really mean it, so please don't sue us for false advertisement, oh and if you're allergic to cabbage but not seaweed, um, no reason, but maybe you should tell us?".

How do we know that it isn't REALLY seaweed after all, and people just spread VICIOUS LIES about it being cabbage, because, ugh, who'd want to really eat seaweed? Y'know, pretending to, going like "I'm so cool, I'm eating seaweed (ha ha, poor fools, it's really just cabbage, I wouldn't eat slimy seaweed).".

And how would one sprain a tooth, anyway?
From: kaet Date: September 16th, 2005 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I had my teeth out as a kid (overpopulation) they couldn't take an impression using the tray-of-goo stuff because of my gag reflex. When they put the little bit of goo on the roof of my mouth, prior to putting they tray in, I was gagging, so they decided not to try the tray. I'm a lot better now.

But my dentist had an answer for this. He had this stuff which was like the kind of plastic cheese squares you get in burgers. And then he got out a little bunsen burner. I was most impressed by this. It was about two inches tall, but it was a proper bunsen burner. Then he heated up the cheese stuff so it was flacid and I held that between my teeth. Then after a few minutes it cooled down and set again, with my teeth marks in it.

I thought this was most cool.
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