The $800 TicTac

February 7th, 2007 by Potato

Well, I just got back from the dentist after having a crown put on the tooth I broke on a TicTac about a month ago. My dentist was fairly concerned because the crown is so thin in the centre that the porcelain didn’t coat the metal underneath, so you can see the shiny spot. Of course, a shiny spot in the centre is nothing new for me; I’ve had metal fillings before (and still do in the top), and of course, the top-centre of my head is pretty shiny, too. It’s funny though, since I had a pit that was well on its way to becoming a cavity in that tooth, and they reproduced the pit in the porcelain crown. Now I guess I’m stuck with it. Oh, and my dental insurance doesn’t cover crowns. It raises the question of course of what it does cover: AFAIK, insurance is supposed to be there to cover unexpected, expensive events. It doesn’t get much more unexpected or expensive than breaking a tooth and needing a crown. By contrast, paying for half of one-third of my cleaning/checkups (I go every 4 months now since my teeth are so bad, but they only cover one per year) and half my fillings is more of a subsidy than insurance: I know I’ll have a checkup every X months and can budget for that, and with my mouth I can even tell you that roughly, I’ll have a cavity that needs filling in March, and then another one approximately 18 months after that. Then every 18 months thereafter until all my teeth are prosthetic. These are not only relatively known events, they’re also about as cheap as they come in the dental playbook (of course, that is only speaking relatively).

On a sadder note, I realized that over the past few weeks, I’ve actually seen my dentist more than my friends. Granted, the weather’s been terrible, I’ve been hella busy, people are busy planning weddings or babies, and Baum got a girlfriend, but it’s still really, really sad. Hopefully that’ll change though, as spring is coming, and I’ve got a new place that’s still waiting for a housewarming party, and I should be able to come back for more Friday/Saturday nights as work (hopefully) tapers off a bit, and I don’t have any more Monday dentist appointments.

Back on the topic of shiny spots on the top of my head, my mom was talking with my dad’s doctor about thinning hair, and how it was ironic that my dad was the one recovering from chemo, but I’m the one with the seriously thinning hair. She said the doctor said that that “stuff you just pick up at the drug store to put on your head doesn’t work” and gave her a bottle of this plant extract stuff to give me. I was a little taken aback, I mean, this isn’t just some stuff I picked up, it’s Rogaine, FDA/Health Canada-approved with ~60% success rate (for me, not so much — it’s definitely slowed the loss, but not fully stopped it, let alone lead to regrowth). Heck, it even had a Simpson’s episode! (“I love you too, Karl”). So instead she gives me this even more expensive plant extract stuff that’s “really supposed to work” and ugh, it reeks. I think I’d rather go bald. So then my mom says that even that won’t really work, and that the only cure for baldness is to get a hair transplant, then says I should go out and get one since it’s not seemly for a man my age to be so very bald. She then starts explaining the process, and I’m just like “yes Mom, I’m a night owl, I’ve seen the infomercials…”

Anyway, I’ve seen a ton of reports lately about the benefits of microwaving your sponges to keep them bacteria free. Speaking as a bioelectromagnetics scientist, I just wanted to clarify that yes, it does work, but it’s not related to anything magical about the microwave (well, not for sure, anyway). Those reports also recommend that you do this with the sponge wet, so basically you’re just using the microwave to boil the water and heat-sterilize the sponge. You can do this with a kettle or on the stovetop too (drop the sponge in a large mug and pour in some boiling water from the kettle, or bring a pot of sponges + water to a boil on the stove). The microwave does seem to be a bit faster (~2 minutes), perhaps because water tends to superheat in microwaves and steam hangs around a bit longer, so you’re getting more heat. The method I like to use is to take a microwave-safe plastic or glass cup, put the sponge in it and fill ~3/4 full with water, then turn it on high and wait for about half the water to boil off.

2 Responses to “The $800 TicTac”

  1. Netbug Says:

    How much is a hair transplant? If it’s not crazy expensive and the balding is bugging you (you’re mentioning it in your blog, so it must irk to some degree), go do it.

    Mind you, I’m the kind of guy who, if they came along with a prosthetic arm that was better than the natural one, I’d be the first in line.

    And anybody that didn’t realize that the sponge thing is just killing the nasties with boiling water should be removed from the gene-pool post-haste.

    Did you read my crappy stories yet?

  2. Potato Says:

    It’s bugging me a bit, but I don’t want to do the transplant thing. Mostly I just want it to stop going away so I still have a full-ish head of hair when offspring come along. That way I can blame any subsequent losses on their misbehaviour.