The Glory of Modern Dentistry

Or – How in the world am I going to pay for all this gadgetry?

Photo by Quang Tri NGUYEN on Unsplash

Dentists, my oral surgeon told me almost as an aside — he’s sticking needles in my jaws, and I’m supposed to feel sympathy? — have the highest suicide rate of any profession. I reflected on this, having nothing better to do at the moment.

After Googling around when I got home I learned that MDs are at greatest risk, but the DDS folks are close behind. This is not research, it’s only Googling, but here we are.

Back to my oral surgeon. I am spending a lot of time with oral surgeons, and oral everything elses, having reached the advanced age at which all that expensive stuff — crowns, implants, you name it — done 25 years ago wants to be redone. Regardless of how loudly I argue that I don’t need another 25 years — could they patch me up for five or six, maybe? — I find myself captive to the stratospheric talents (and costs) of today’s dentistry.

Rather pricey view from (one of) my dentist’s offices (Author photo)

Please do not get me wrong. I am immensely grateful to the entire profession, and the way they have kept me smiling through the years without looking like a toothless goofball. Eating is nice, too. So dentists and I are longtime besties.

But now I’m worried about their depression levels.

I do not want to get into the suicide business, which is a sad and serious issue never to be written about lightly. So I am only worrying about what might make them so sad.

Money? How can that be? Admittedly all that fancy equipment must cost a fortune — and many of my dentists are in an historic, heavily gilded downtown building on which I feel I pay upkeep. But as they all have other patients besides yours truly, and what I’m spending on this averages out to the choice between two weeks in Paris or fix that tooth — well, nobody’s talking minimum wage here.

It must be staring down throats all day. Have you considered how repulsive the view into your throat really is? I thought not. Or it could be the fear that, at any moment, an enraged patient might chomp down and amputate your gloved finger? That would definitely increase workplace anxiety.

Self portrait with (happily only temporarily) purple jaws (Author photo)

In the end, however, I have decided to quit worrying about my dentists’ health and wellbeing. They, after all, are not the ones with purple jaws and occasionally absent teeth. Plus, I’m assuming they can afford therapy, given the bills I am paying.

Now, about that bank I’m planning to rob . . .


  1. leafing thru your past observations regarding health issues, i find the one i most fear – purple jaws and suicidal dentists. i myself am a suicidal patient and i have a kamikaze tooth guy! i’m thinking I don’t really have to explain. THE chair could be the electric one and i would welcome it. do i sound a little apprehensive? Ya Think!!!

    1. Having spent the past year+ going to dentists for fun and entertainment, I can only offer empathy. But I should write a follow-up piece on my general dentist’s throw-away comment: “Wiggle your toes. Really. Seriously. Wiggle your toes.” So I concentrated on wiggling my toes and hardly felt a thing. Who knew? All in all, dental suffering probably still beats holes in the head. Thanks for dropping by!

  2. Thanks for “opening” up to let us know about your oral adventures. Have to say I’m glad I don’t have to share the chair — yet. But you’re a good sport about it. XOB

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