In which it’s all about the perspective

Getting some work and blog posting done on my research time.

Getting some work and blog posting done on my research time.

Last night I was chopping vegetables for the week because it turns out I let them rot in the fridge if I feel too lazy to do it when I get home from work. I’ve been using emeals to help us plan and keep a budget (remember when I tried to meal plan on my own? hahahah, turns out not so much) – plus it’s fun to try out their recipes. Right in the middle of grating some ginger my pager went off; there was a three year old with facial swelling and infection due to a large cavity at Seattle聽Children’s Hospital and my co-resident Bri and I were being called in to take care of it.

Thought 1

Annoyance. Seriously? The best time you could think of to take care of your kid’s cavity was at 8:30pm on a Tuesday? Oh, it’s been like this for weeks. Great. All cavities are preventable you know, with a toothbrush, good diet and some floss. We like to fix things before they get too big and create a medical emergency. Cavities can kill. You’ve already seen two other dentists today? They did nothing? Why, we’re all trained how to extract teeth in dental school and they’ve been dentists way longer than I have. Plus, it’s not a super complicated procedure. Oh, they didn’t feel comfortable treating children.. Perfect excuse. At this time of night I have none of my magic tools to make it anymore comfortable than you could’ve done earlier today and saved this family a three hour trip and overnight stay in the city. I certainly wasn’t trying to do anything else tonight after a long day of work.

Thought 2

Thanks. Thanks for pagers, so I don’t have to sleep overnight in the hospital waiting for the kids to come in and I can hang out at home or go to the grocery story or do anything else in a 20 minute radius of Children’s. Thanks for good co-residents to share the burden of trying to treat a hurting child when they and their parents are not at their best and have already had a long day. Thanks for a car to drive me to the emergency department so I don’t have to take the bus or walk and for good, safe, paved roads to drive on. Thanks for hands (that yesterday smelled like ginger) to help lessen the pain. Thanks for student loans to pay for the lessons that have molded these hands over the past almost five years. Thanks for antibiotics so this kid won’t die of a toothache. Thanks for parents who trust that I’m only trying to help. Thanks for good lighting, clean facilities, a plethora of gauze, sterile instruments, a dental chair. Thanks for working suction. Thanks for the Starbucks to grab a quick tea while waiting for the ED nurses to be done with their assessment. Thanks for a dictation system so I don’t spend 30 minutes writing my notes. Thanks for a great partner to work with. Thanks for the chance to heal.

It’s all about the perspective.

In which the dentist goes to the dentist

When I was really young (pre-K, back when a visit to the pediatrician was a regular thing) I was mildly obsessed with where doctors went when they had to go see the doctor. Can one see oneself? Is that allowed? I know, I know, I was a weird kid.

But fast forward twenty years or so and now as a board-certified, licensed, honest-to-God dentist, where does one go? Does one go? Can’t I just take some x-rays on myself and call it good? Also does it matter that I haven’t been to see a dentist since I was on my parents’ insurance at least seven years ago? Eek. Embarrassing! To back up my rationalizing, in dental school plenty of classmates looked in my mouth, I do a good job with my Sonicare, and I floss a majority of nights out of the week, but still.. yikes. Hypocrite central. Plus, we’ve got some great insurance right now so we might as well take advantage of it!

Elise Sarvas 1-16-2013

So with the new year I made Jeff and I appointments at a dentist who came recommended by some people from work (I mean, what better recommendation for a dentist that one that comes from other dentists?). Then though I was even more anxious: Do you tell a dentist that you are also a dentist? Or do you just let it go? Which is more awkward?? My first thought was to just show up, not mention I was in dentistry as well and just see how it went, but Jeff blew that for me by telling him at his appointment that his wife was a dentist.

Note to self: Pretty awesome dental book to add to the collection!

Note to self: Pretty awesome dental book to add to the collection!

It ended up not mattering at all; Nikole O’Bryan and her staff were just so delightful and awesome. She did a very thorough exam and the assistant even emailed me my FMX (full mouth series) so I could keep it. Very professional, extremely nice people. I was impressed 馃檪 So here hopefully ends my streak of not getting regular check-ups and living up to what I’ve been harping on to my patients. Yay! But seriously folks, make a dental appointment if it’s been awhile.. we can check more than your teeth and screen you for even scarier systemic diseases (hypertension, diabetes, oral and other certain types of cancers).

And yay for no cavities (for me or Jeff)!


In which I take a dental break

This week I’ve been rotating at Children’s to learn more about airway management in kids. It’s a nice break to be away from the regular stresses of the dental clinic and see some new things (very medical, non dental-y things!). I just hope I remember how to hold a handpiece when I get back!

The Children’s hospital was full of adorable mini-dinos, fairy princesses, furry animals and Batmans. Too cute. I was uncooly dressed as a pediatric dental resident on her anesthesia rotation.

Happy Halloween!