I had a really great day today. A couple of weeks ago I broke a tooth - eating scrambled eggs. I called St. Johnsbury Dental Associates and they gave me an appointment right away for an assessment. I wasn't hurting, and we scheduled an appointment in a couple of weeks for a crown. Today I went for that appointment. They had told me to plan on being there 2 1/2 hours, and that didn't really surprise me. I've had crowns done before and there's lots of time involved taking impressions and all that. Today was very different and interesting. I was well numbed and then Dr. Zongjian (Dr. "Z" for short) drilled away the remnants of the original tooth and old filling, and that process took some time. Then, instead of the messy goop I'm used to for taking impressions, everything was done by digital imaging. It's called Cerec crowns - a neat machine that takes images rapid-fire as the dentist passes it over and around the offending tooth, producing an image on a computer screen. Dr. Z told me the machine is also used for implants and pretty much eliminates the possibility of errors. I watched as he manipulated the computer program to outline on the screen where my new tooth would sit between my other teeth. As he worked, shades of blue, pink and bright red appeared on the image of the tooth indicating where pressure points would be on the new tooth - red indicated there would be too much pressure on the tooth when chewing so he had to alter that, skillfully leveling here and building there. Once the image appeared perfect from all angles, he pushed a key on the computer and a machine in the next room made the tooth from a small block of ceramic material - within seconds.
Dr. Z fitted it into the space, trimming the material to fine-tune it so it would be a perfect fit. He and the hygienist working with him had carefully chosen the color that would best match my own teeth, but that process is done just before the tooth is fired. Dr. Shah, who I had never met, came in and together he and Dr. Z painted my tooth using small artists' brushes, blending the color so it would look natural next to my own teeth. Once they had it just perfect (and that didn't happen quickly!) it was put on a little pedestal and popped into a small kiln. It took a little less than 15 minutes and my perfectly color-blended tooth was ready to be cemented in place.
The neatest part of the whole "operation" was that I got to watch the whole thing happen. Also pretty cool was not having to wait a week or more for a lab to fashion the tooth and then having to have the temporary "fix" pried off (I hate that prying-off procedure). I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience today and absolutely love my new tooth - that I watched being made.
I got home a little after one o'clock, before the storm got very bad. The road was wet and snow-covered most of the way, but well salted and sanded. It snowed all afternoon so we have quite a bit of wet, sloppy snow tonight, but I think it has stopped now. We had a short period of rain about 6 o'clock, but then the temperature dropped so it turned back to snow. Now I'm seeing 30 degrees on the thermometer. There are still problems on the highways and the usual emergency calls - a chimney fire at Miles Pond, a driver stuck on the road between E. St. Johnsbury and the junction of Routes 2 and 18, and a sand truck broken down somewhere in the St. J. area, someone having chest pains and another that had fallen and was unconscious. Dangerous weather, for sure. Schools let out early and will probably have delayed openings tomorrow. We haven't lost our electricity yet, but with so much wet, heavy snow, it is likely to happen before the night is over.