Discussing dentistry: from the art of whitening to biting down on that goop

15 Jan, 2014

by Molly Snyder

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For the second year in a row, the Pfister hosted employees of Henry Schein, a worldwide distributor of medical, dental and veterinary supplies. Although the company is based in New York, the dental headquarters are in West Allis, which is what brings the workers to Wisconsin.

Last night at the Lobby Bar, I chatted with one of Henry Schein’s employees about All Things Dental. Well, not All Things, but I did find out a few fascinating factoids.

However, I noticed after the group left the Lobby Bar to attend dinner that I never got his name. Guess I was too absorbed in our dental discussion to ask details.

Anyhoo …

Me: So what’s the hottest piece of dental equipment right now?

Him: Hottest? Wow. I never thought of it like that. But I’d say CAD/ CAM technology. It’s computer-aided design and manufacturing. Basically it means if you need a crown, for example, the dentist can scan your tooth with a wand and take a 3D image of it that’s then transmitted to a mill – that’s also in the office – which can make it immediately. People no longer have to have two or three dental appointments for minor or even major dental work anymore.

Me: So with this CAD/CAM technology people don’t have to make a mould of their teeth by biting down on that nasty goop?

Him: Nope. No more nasty goop.

Me: Wow. I need a new dentist.

Him: Well, most dentists aren’t there yet. Only about 25 percent are. That’s part of what we do – get more dentists to embrace the future of dentistry.

Me: Do you floss your teeth every day?

Him: Of course. I have to. It would be embarrassing as a person who sells dental supplies to have his dentist look at his teeth and say, “Really?”

Me: When they say “4 out of 5 dentists recommend” something in a commercial, is that usually true or marketing B.S.?

Him: It depends on the product and how much money they spent on the advertisement.

Me: Do you sell tooth whitening supplies?

Him: Yes.

Me: Can you actually get your teeth too white?

Him: Absolutely. And you can cause a lot of damage to your enamel. You can completely kill your enamel. It’s truly best to have it done by a professional.

Me: I want whiter teeth. Maybe I should just quit coffee.

Him: Oh, you can’t do that. Not here. Not with these “polar vortex” winters.

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About the author

Molly Snyder

Molly Snyder has lived in Milwaukee her entire life. She started keeping a diary when she was four and published her first poem at age 10 called “The Unicorn” in the now-defunct Shorewood Herald. Today, she writes less about mythical creatures and more about Milwaukee people and places. She is a senior writer at OnMilwaukee.com, where she has worked for the last 12 years. Telling people’s stories is her passion.

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