Why do people become dentists?
March 30, 2010 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Why do people become dentists?

Some people have such dirty teeth, I can't imagine myself day in and day out doing dental work. People with bad breath, yellow teeth, rotten teeth, dirty gums, etc. Is there some hidden meaning behind all this I am not getting? Why put yourself through such drudgery? It can't be about the money or is it?
posted by abbat to Health & Fitness (59 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Money. Less stress than med school. Constant interaction with people. You have regular clients that you can get to know over a lifetime.
posted by MesoFilter at 11:41 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Good money, steady work, insulation from economic vagaries, a fascination with the subject matter, family recommendation. Not everyone shares your distaste.
posted by dmt at 11:41 AM on March 30, 2010 [8 favorites]

Why do people become doctors or nurses?
posted by Neekee at 11:42 AM on March 30, 2010

FWIW, when I go for routine cleanings, the hygienist is the one doing 80% of the work. The dentist comes in for the final inspection, reviews the X-rays, reminds me about the crown that is probably in my future, and leaves. He takes the reins when it's time for actual drilling/filling, so in that respect, I imagine it's as interesting as any other medical career.
posted by jquinby at 11:42 AM on March 30, 2010

A friend of mine who is off to dental school in the fall just really, legitimately, loves teeth. She finds them fascinating. She's wanted to be a dentist since she was about 10 and her interest has never waned.
posted by brainmouse at 11:42 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

My Dentist seems to really dig his job. I think he feels there's a certain level of artistry to it.
posted by bitdamaged at 11:43 AM on March 30, 2010

Why do people become proctologists when so many people don't wipe well? Dentistry is a necessary and lucrative profession. Some dentists I know take an active interest in what they do and strive to learn about all the latest technological developments in their field.
posted by Behemoth at 11:44 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think many people who take on jobs that some would find gross, do it precisely because it is gross. They get great satisfaction from cleaning something dirty (the hygienist) or fixing something broken, painful or unattractive (the dentist).
posted by annaramma at 11:45 AM on March 30, 2010

Those that don't make it become dentists.

I'm not so sure about that - I knew a guy in college who knew even as an undergrad that he wanted to go into dentistry. I believe his dad was one as well, but whatever. Assuming that all dentists are folks who couldn't make the cut in medical school is probably wrong. Also, I think you probably meant optometrist - ophthalmology looks pretty hardcore.
posted by jquinby at 11:45 AM on March 30, 2010

The salary for a dentist in the UK working less than one year is £45-70,000.

In 2008, the average pay rise for an NHS dentist was 13%.

In 2009, 654 dentists earned over £100,000.

So yes, it's all about the money.
posted by mr_silver at 11:47 AM on March 30, 2010

Some people like to take things that have become dirty or broken and make them beautiful again.
posted by amethysts at 11:47 AM on March 30, 2010 [5 favorites]

My dentist works 4 days a week, plays a lot of golf, goes on interesting vacations, and drives a ridiculously expensive car. However, he is well-compensated because of his total competence: in two generations of my family, he has repaired upwards of 20 teeth and not one has ever had a subsequent issue related to the work. Some people are initially interested in the work, I guess, and then are attracted to stick with it because they are really good at it and it supports them comfortably.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:48 AM on March 30, 2010

Dentistry is super cool, in my opinion. Dental health is incredibly important, and the technology for dentists and their assistants is always evolving. Lots of people *do* take care of their teeth, and for those who don't they either don't go to the dentist or if they do the dentist/assistant always works with a face mask and gloves anyway, and they're doing something good in the world by helping the person with the problem teeth. They are all kinds of cool procedures in dentistry, from crowns to implants (cadavers!) to root canals, all with increasingly advanced materials.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:49 AM on March 30, 2010

I only know one dentist socially -- he's in practice with his father, who went into practice with HIS father years ago.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:51 AM on March 30, 2010

Some people have such dirty teeth, I can't imagine myself day in and day out doing dental work. People with bad breath, yellow teeth, rotten teeth, dirty gums, etc. Is there some hidden meaning behind all this I am not getting? Why put yourself through such drudgery? It can't be about the money or is it?

People also become proctologists, urologists, surgeons, and many other specialties. Bad breath? Yellow teeth? That's nothing compared to what many, many other types of doctors deal with every single day.

Lawyers deal with liars, frauds, cheaters, angry, vindictive clients, and belligerent, acrimonious opposing counsel all day long every day. Isn't that worse than looking at yellow teeth?

And watch Dirty Jobs sometime. Very little that a dentist deals with comes anywhere close to the crap that people on that show do day in and day out for a fraction of the money.

The world is full of hard-working people who toil in thankless, disgusting, hot, and physically taxing and dangerous work. Life is hard, and if you don't get your hands dirty one way or another, you're going to have a rough go. Dentists do a difficult job in exchange for a very comfortable living. Seems like a pretty good deal to me.
posted by The World Famous at 11:53 AM on March 30, 2010 [25 favorites]

Yeah, seconding that it's not all med school flunkies. A friend wanted to combine biology/medicine interests with art and sculpture. Theres a rewarding part of working with your hands, sculpture, aesthetics, etc, plus the constant interaction with people was a big draw for him. And, maybe helping those smelly ugly teeth people can be rewarding? Improving someone's life and self worth? How many other jobs have that opportunity?

It's also affords one a comfortable middle/upper middle class lifestyle with resources and time for leisurely pursuits, which is pretty invaluable.
posted by fontophilic at 11:53 AM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

It offers some of the benefits of being a medical doctor (job stability, guaranteed decent pay, highly skilled scientific work, helping people to be healthier) without many of the disadvantages (long/crazy hours, insane pressure and stress, people dying all the time).
posted by oinopaponton at 11:54 AM on March 30, 2010

In the US, anyway, many people who have regular dental care (often with dental insurance benefits at work) have had regular dental care all their lives. A dentist who took only patients with private insurance or who paid cash in full could conceivably only work on teeth that have been properly cared for for the teeth's entire lives. Not so much true in the past, when enlisting in the military for WWII may have been the first dentistry many people had access to, but preventative dentistry has been pretty common in the US from the childhood of the Boomers on forwards.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:59 AM on March 30, 2010

because they like teeth. And didn't want to be an orthodontist or an oral surgeon.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 12:01 PM on March 30, 2010

Why put yourself through such drudgery?

One man's drudgery is another man's solid, interesting work.

To one of my friends, I'm stuck indoors all day, working exactly the same schedule every day, sitting down all day, doing nothing but sitting at a computer, staring at a screen, sometimes poking at a few keys. From time to time I spend a half-day on the phone. Kind of awful, right?

From my perspective, I spend all day engaged in high-level problem solving, usually designing and writing code but sometimes working with my users to find out what they want/need, which lets me make them happy; I spend all day in a comfortable place doing this, and I always know that at the end of the day I'm done.

The work doesn't change; the perspective does.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:01 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]

Oral health is extremely, extremely important to verall health. Dentists do an incredibly important job.

There are a lot of doctors who feel like they're janitors of the human body. Often, it's not the dentists doing the actual cleaning anyway. It's the dental hygenist, who is also paid well for their work.
posted by anniecat at 12:05 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

My Dentist seems to really dig his job. I think he feels there's a certain level of artistry to it.

My endodontist is like this. He seems to enjoy the precision and challenge of doing root canals. After my last one, he said to me, "That was a really interesting tooth, thanks for bringing it to me."

My regular dentist is a super-nice guy who seems to enjoy interacting with his patients. He and his entire staff have also decided to work a 4-day week; they can make enough in that four days to live comfortably on, and they enjoy their three-day weekends.
posted by not that girl at 12:06 PM on March 30, 2010

Those that don't make it become dentists.

Not sure about this either. The SAS of the medical world are max fax surgeons who need both medicine and dentistry degrees. When you read about soldiers in Afghanistan being shot in the head, these are the guys putting their faces back together.
posted by dmt at 12:06 PM on March 30, 2010

My mom used to be a dental hygienist and she *loved* it. To her, the most satisfying work ever was scraping tartar off someone's teeth. It always sounded disgusting to me, but I can see how others might like it.
posted by OLechat at 12:07 PM on March 30, 2010

Behemoth: "Some dentists I know take an active interest in what they do and strive to learn about all the latest technological developments in their field."

This needs to be repeated. In my experience, dentists display a level of geekiness that other doctors don't. They're always talking about the latest gadgets. I had a somewhat rare dental problem that my dentist actually printed off a journal article about for me. I don't see that from other doctors.

(But I guess that's at least partly because my dentists have owned their own businesses.)
posted by roll truck roll at 12:08 PM on March 30, 2010

I had a root canal on my molar last month.

Total procedure time: 40 minutes.

Cost of procedure: $1000.

Seems like a pretty good way to make a buck.
posted by contessa at 12:12 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I believe your question actually boils down to "Why would someone take this job that I perceive to have horrible drawbacks that make me unlikely to pursue it?"

The answer is that most jobs have drawbacks and opportunities, whether they be in the actual action or in the environment. I'm a software developer. It's horrible, why would anyone want to sit in an office chair for nearly eight hours a day and be susceptible to obesity, eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and be locked indoors away from nature? I hardly get to interact with people.

On the other hand, dentistry is great because you get to walk around, have a variety of neat tools to use, see a rotating group of people, help people stay healthy, and get to use a breadth of knowledge about teeth. I hardly ever use most of what I learned in school, but a dentist has constant challenges!

It's all in how you view it. I do not know why anyone would ever do anything if they only saw the negatives.
posted by mikeh at 12:12 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]

A friend of mine who is off to dental school in the fall just really, legitimately, loves teeth. She finds them fascinating. She's wanted to be a dentist since she was about 10 and her interest has never waned.
posted by brainmouse at 11:42 AM on March 30

Yup, plenty of these out there, no kidding. Some people love teeth.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:13 PM on March 30, 2010

[few comments removed, slagging on dentists really doesn't help the OP get their questions answered.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:19 PM on March 30, 2010

I read somewhere that dentists really like the construction and engineering aspect of the work. The article depicted dentists oohing and ahhing at new equipment at a trade show. It's really civil engineering in a tiny, tiny environment.

Once my dentist offered to make me a new night guard out of this "really exciting new plastic." The guard was to be free. The appoitment was to be at 7am. I already had a night guard and didin't want to get up that early. But he was so smiling and jazzed about it! I just couldn't disappoint him!

I agree with the points above about continuing contact with patients. It's almost like a traditional small-town/rural doctor. I'm 52, and I've only had three dentists in my life. Two were in the same office; the second bought the first's practice. When my mom died, the dental office sent a card. At that point, we'd been in their care for 34 years.
posted by jgirl at 12:19 PM on March 30, 2010

It's just a medical specialization, like optometry or dermatology. The great thing about dentists is the pain they cure can be so bad (the worst, you can't imagine until you get older and start to need root canals) and they can restore the pleasure of eating. But all doctors are into restoring health and the big bucks, not necessarily in that order.
posted by Rash at 12:21 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

No job is entirely composed of awesome tasks, but I've often thought that the part of dentistry that is like carving miniature sculptures is fascinating - and then you do structural engineering tests to check whether your new scuplture lines up right with all the little peaks and valleys of the opposing teeth.
posted by aimedwander at 12:23 PM on March 30, 2010

A friend of mine is a dentist and also my dentist. He loves it. He interacts with people all day long, the work is intellectually involving and has numerous challenges of dexterity, and he controls his own office.

It's also entrepreneurial, which he likes. Every time I visit we talk about the latest technologies on the market, or whether he should rent the office that opened next to him in order to expand, or whether he should take on a partner.

Frankly, I'm kinda jealous of him for getting to make so many different types of decisions
posted by gabrielsamoza at 12:26 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

My father became a dentist because he was -- as others above have put it -- fascinated with the subject matter.
posted by puritycontrol at 12:30 PM on March 30, 2010

Personally, I'd think that it would be wonderful to be in a profession that helped so many people in such a direct way. People leave your office in better shape than they came in with, how could that not be great?
posted by octothorpe at 12:37 PM on March 30, 2010

i have had many dentists and dental experiences over the years, and have asked my various dentists why they became same. in a few cases, their fathers were dentists. in other cases, they liked making people's smiles look good, and helping people achieve a better state of dental health.
posted by sdn at 12:39 PM on March 30, 2010

I just had this same question come to my mind last week when I was having my teeth cleaned. I lay there, mouth agape, while the hygenist picked and scraped between my teeth, and I thought "What an odd way to make a living." Of course, what really meant was "How different you are from me."
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:45 PM on March 30, 2010

A friend of mine who is a dentist describes his job as "building little things in a very small space." He says that, if you like building little things, you'd like being a dentist, and that if you don't like building little models and things like that, you wouldn't like it.
posted by The World Famous at 12:45 PM on March 30, 2010

I used to do some computer services for dentists. By and large, the majority of them became dentists for the money. I'm sure there are plenty who actually love teeth, but money seemed to be a driving factor for a lot of them.
posted by backwards guitar at 12:46 PM on March 30, 2010

Why put yourself through such drudgery?

Perhaps someone would ask the same of your chosen career (which I'd speculate on but, based on your AskMe history, it may be asking silly questions...which would be an awesome job!)
posted by JaredSeth at 1:07 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Some people have such dirty teeth, I can't imagine myself day in and day out doing dental work. People with bad breath, yellow teeth, rotten teeth, dirty gums, etc. Is there some hidden meaning behind all this I am not getting?

Maybe not everyone is disgusted by the same things that you're disgusted by?
posted by mhum at 1:20 PM on March 30, 2010

My uncle's a dentist, and from what I can tell, there are a couple of different things that people like about dentistry. Some really like the gadgets, as mentioned above, and some just really like the money, and some like the interaction, but I think what my uncle likes about it is the technique and the challenge. He particularly seems to get jazzed at coming up with long-term plans to help people with messed up teeth get back on the right track (as a correlation, he derides the kind of dentist who, to paraphrase, would just say "Screw it, let's pull them all and fit you for dentures"). His philosophy toward what he does seems less to me like "tiny architecture" than "tiny gardening."

He also points out that generally speaking, an easy way to tell if your dentist cares about you as a patient, rather than only as a source of income, is by what's on the office walls. If it's motivational posters about oral health ("You don't have to floss all your teeth -- just the ones you want to keep!"), that's a good sign. If it's advertisements for expensive cosmetic procedures, that's a bad sign.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:29 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]

Some people have such dirty teeth, I can't imagine myself day in and day out doing dental work. People with bad breath, yellow teeth, rotten teeth, dirty gums, etc. Is there some hidden meaning behind all this I am not getting? Why put yourself through such drudgery? It can't be about the money or is it?

Well, it sounds like dentistry would be a poor choice for you.

Oral hygiene is incredibly important for overall health, and thus aspects of the job that seem disgusting to you are framed as health concerns and problems that can be fixed to a dentist.

Why do people pick any job? You could frame any profession in similarly dour, negative terms.
posted by desuetude at 1:37 PM on March 30, 2010

OK, I don't usually go digging like this but I was wondering if I could find anything to back up my vague sense that relatively more dentists pursue that line of work because a parent was a dentist than is the case for other professions. Didn't really find anything either way but here are some papers about your question:

Results of a 2007 survey of dental students in London (citations starting at #39 also relevant.

2004 survey of US dental students

Cross cultural comparison of Japan, Thailand, and Canada

posted by yarrow at 1:53 PM on March 30, 2010

I think most doctors deal with a pretty high degree of repetitive and/or unpleasant tasks.

And clearly, a lot of people pursue medicine.
posted by R a c h e l at 1:54 PM on March 30, 2010

For some reason I ask all of my dentists this question.

One said "I wanted to be financially indepedent and able to flex my work around my family schedule."

Another said "Family profession - my father and uncles were."

My most recent dentist also cited the financial incentives and said "I like people and I love working with my hands." Incidentally, that last one is a real artist with the shaping and crowns and stuff.
posted by Miko at 1:59 PM on March 30, 2010

My dentist rocks. He is truly a geek dentist, and to my mind, that is what makes him great. He was originally an engineering major, but went back to school and became a dentist instead. I assumed he was an anomaly, but jgirl's comment above, and several others, suggests that this a theme with some types of dentists. I enjoy talking to him about new advances in medical technology (not just in the dentistry field), and I like that he treats me with respect and is keen to problem solve, not make money.
posted by Joh at 2:15 PM on March 30, 2010

Dentist I know said she wanted to be in medicine, working to help people directly, but didn't want to be rushing out the door at 3.am every morning and be able to stay in/near her hometown.
posted by The Whelk at 2:15 PM on March 30, 2010

I agree with the previous posters who said that they knew dentists who really just like teeth. I went to a local university for oral surgery to have my wisdom teeth out, because one of them was all triangular and weird, and forecast to be Trouble. When I came back in for a follow-up, one of the residents was like, "OH! You were the patient with that tooth! That was so cool!" and was totally excited to tell me all about the case study they'd made of my freaky little shark tooth. It was pretty entertaining to have someone totally fanboy over a tooth.

Also, my regular dentist has tons of fun toys and it seems like every time I come in for a cleaning they've got new gadgetry. I think they must like tinkering, and it must be fun to be in a place where you get to indulge yourself in that all the time. Plus, pretty much any day you go home, you know you did something constructive to make someone's life better.

Dang, maybe I should've been a dentist!
posted by sldownard at 2:18 PM on March 30, 2010

Well, my dentist is a geek, and would cite the reasons mentioned above. The hygienist told me that she does it because she likes being able to rehab mouths (i.e. mine) and get them into better condition than how they came in on day one.

But my office is one that likes dealing with problem people AND can find ways to improve them. Every other dentist I've ever seen I have wondered about this question, because other than the easy money and four day weekends, I always assumed they liked torturing and nagging people and that's why they did the job.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:18 PM on March 30, 2010

I kept thinking about this; I had a dentist when I was in grad school who was a FOURTH GENERATION dentist. His great-grandfather had been a frontier-type dentist; his grandfather had helped with the professionalization of dentistry and had helped found the dental school nearby; his father was a crusader for children's oral health and getting dental exams in low-income schools; and the dentist himself was an advocate for low-pain and low-anxiety dentistry for people who are too scared of dentists to get work done. He had a display up in his lobby about his father, grandfather, and great-grand, with pictures and articles and information about their work. It was really interesting! (He didn't have stuff up about himself, I found out by asking him about it.)

Anyway, his son is in dental school ... the dental school the grandfather helped found. That's a family that is passionate about the work and has a history of viewing dentistry as a way of helping society and individuals achieve good health. He told me he never wanted to be anything BUT a dentist because he saw it as such a noble calling.

(He also, I found out through others, was one of the few dentists in the area who took public assistance children in his practice, as well as children who couldn't afford care and whose care wasn't reimbursed by medicaid.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:37 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]

My dentist used to be my hygienist.

The office paid for her to go to dental school, and she continued to work while she was studying. When she was done, they made her a partner, and then my original dentist retired. He was 42 at the time.

Their friendly practice gives everyone six weeks vacation, from receptionists to the partners, plus they close the office to do a three-week trip to a different African country yearly to hold volunteer dental clinics.

They love their work.
posted by Sallyfur at 2:57 PM on March 30, 2010

As many of the answers here would indicate, there are as many reasons why someone would pursue a career in dentistry as there are types of folks in any academically oriented profession. I could tell you why i became a dentist, but it's already been said over a dozen or more posts; but i can also relate that as a dentist I have known many others, from the days of dental school til now, and it's funny to me how alike we all can be sometimes. Most are geeky (I get to play with a laser any time i want); meticulous about little fiddley bits, learners (c.e. is a passion for most).
The thing about the oral cavity: the blood, the plaque. the pus (sometimes) is just that it's the environment we work in. by about week two of the clinical portion of dental school those things cease to register as noxious elements the way the OP would think of them as a layperson. we are enveloped in barrier protection to boot.
There is little drudgery to what I do (the four days a week I'm at work). General dentistry allows me to work across the many disciplines withing the field, some days doing endo, some days perio, some days surgery. I have diagnosed and helped to treat cancer, done some forensics, seen athletes for rehabbing sports injuries and cheerleaders for cosmetic work. I see kids as young as 18 months and just today treated a centenarien. did I mention lasers?
It can be lucrative, but the costs of running a small business in the US make it less appealing now than it was 20 yrs ago when i went to dental school. still, I'm happy with my profession.
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:13 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]

I'm not a dentist, but have been closely associated with them both personally and professionally for quite some time. Pretty universally they do it because they enjoy it. They don't think it's gross or drudgery by any stretch of the imagination. Pretty much every day consists of "here's how I helped someone" or "someone was uncomfortable and I solved it". And that phrase "solved it" describes it pretty accurately, every tooth is different and every case is different. A lot are certainly "I solved something similar *this* way last time", but quite a few are "I had to think hard about how to fix this". A surprisingly large number are geeks and gadget-happy. They don't tend to think/speak in terms of "I worked on this gross thing", they use phrases like "I cleaned out decay".
The money isn't as big a motivation, especially anymore here in the US, unless you're a specialist or have been in practice for quite some time. It's not unheard of for a new dentist to graduate with loans on the high end of $300-500K. Add in another $100-200K if you're starting a practice from scratch (short answer: "Don't!"). Couple in the fact that you don't get to set the price of conducting your business, that's set for you by the insurance companies (that's right, your dentist doesn't get to say "I'm going to charge X for a filling", the insurance company says "you will charge X for a filling, even if the patient is not a client of ours"). It's also illegal to call your friend and ask him/her what she's charging, but that's moot because the insurance company is telling him/her what they can charge anyway. Fold all that together and it's not a high-paying profession for the first 10-15 years, at least, and the first 5 can be absolutely brutal. None of the dentists I know do it for the money, and even the one I've known who I would not trust to hold my wallet while I tied my shoes was very very good on a medical level and thoroughly enjoyed it.
posted by Runes at 3:40 PM on March 30, 2010

Because they are named Dennis.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:55 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

My dentist (whom I have recommended here numerous times) says he became a dentist because he hated going to the dentist, and wanted to be the kind of dentist people didn't hate going to. I flew up to see him (he's in Toronto) when I lived in Texas, and I still see him now that I live in Buffalo. He is a one-in-a-million dentist, great at his job, and sensitive to individual situations. He's a dentist because it's his obvious calling in life, he loves the technology, loves the science, and loves figuring out ways to fix things for people in ways that take their individual situations into account.
posted by biscotti at 5:44 PM on March 30, 2010

i want to know more about the fourth-generation dentist! that is an amazing story. in fact, a lot of these stories are amazing. i'm really glad this question was asked!

signed, 14 root canals, 2 implants done, 2 to go
posted by sdn at 7:48 PM on March 30, 2010

It can't be about the money or is it?

Standard caveat about anecdotes, I know a guy who is a furniture conservator and several of his clients are dentists. They hire him to appraise, repair and care for furniture that costs anywhere from mid five to low six figures.
posted by mlis at 9:17 PM on March 30, 2010

I don't know if people are still reading this thread, but I talked a little more to my uncle about this over the weekend. He'd originally been considering becoming a pharmacist, but his older brother was in dental school, and basically asked him, "So, you want to work for Sav-On the rest of your life?"

As many others have mentioned, he really likes the independence of dental work and the fact that you can pretty much set your own hours. He also really likes the intricacy of it, the little details, and he really enjoys being able to help people out that are in pain. He says that sometimes people will come in and make jokes about the dentist not being their favorite person, to which he responds, "Just wait until you're in pain; come in with a toothache, and by the time you leave I will be your favorite person."

He agreed that a lot of dentists are gadget geeks and that a lot of them really love the engineering aspect of dental work, the fact that it's like tiny structural engineering, but he said that weren't the primary draw for him.

Lastly, as far as dealing with gross mouths of whatever, he said that a year before you ever deal with live patients in dental school, you do a complete cadaver dissection, and that once you've gone through that, it's very difficult to be squeamish about rotten teeth.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:02 AM on April 5, 2010

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