Dental glaciers

Many dental problems happen about as fast as arctic glacier movement. You know, your teeth move gradually over a period of years – or decades for that matter – and you don’t really notice. Then one day, it’s like HOLY SHIT what the hell happened here???? D=  Sort of like the gun control analogy of boiling frogs – slowly and surely we will be completely disarmed by our draconian politicians and will have no idea how this happened!

boil-the-frog

I guess in my case, it wasn’t even so much that my teeth moved into undesirable positions, but it was more the other problems I started having that appeared gradually. Occasional toothaches, but they would always go away. Food getting stuck between my impacted lower wisdoms and my rear molars…nothing a quick toothpick session couldn’t fix. Swelling from what I thought was just food getting stuck in the gumline. Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold, or sometimes even while brushing…but that would come and go too. Dental floss getting harder and harder to use because my teeth were too tight together. Just brush more and swish with some mouthwash for good measure I figured. What else could be done about this anyways? It was what it was, or so I thought.

As with the poor frogs, soon I would find out that this was leading to a situation that was ALL BAD…

Advertisements

Uh oh =(

2007ish, things start getting REALLY WEIRD. I get this sixth sense feeling that something is wrong…REALLY wrong. I can’t put my finger on it, but consumer spending just feels like it has no future. People call me crazy but I keep telling everyone that I think something really bad is going to happen, but I just don’t know what. Well, too bad I didn’t take bets on that one huh? Nothing to brag about, but just good to know that when I get a feeling about something, it’s worth taking seriously and investigating.

Well based on all of this, I decided to cut back on my efforts at work and go back to school. I even put my business as close as possible to campus so I could go back whenever the time came. Without unnecessary details, I went back to my CSU and liked college curriculum for the first time everrrrr…I actually LOVED IT! My good friend joz (www.jozjozjoz.com) was just finishing her MBA at Pepperdine, and I wanted one too! Well at least that was the plan. So finish my CSU business undergrad, and then get into an MBA program and knock that sucker out real quick.

Needless to say, in 2008-2009 I was pretty busy with a myriad of things going on. That stupid gumline and tooth eroding issue? Great…just one more thing to stress about. Still need to find a good, regular dentist, but this is tough since there are literally hundreds around this area.

I randomly talk to one of my other friends and find out that she was just finishing with Invisalign treatment. I was shocked as to how invisible those things really are. She also told me that she had some gum restoration surgery on one of her front teeth, as the gum had been previously infected and it had a significantly receded gumline. Wow! Other people have similar problems too, it wasn’t as out of the ordinary as I thought!! I tell her about my gum problems and that my teeth seem to be noticeably more misaligned lately, and she says to just go and do braces, and that they would do any gum repair treatment afterwards. Ah sounds like a good plan, I’ll do it soon…err later…err eventually…errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr………..

In the meanwhile, I’ll keep brushing my teeth a lot…yeah that will keep this problem in check…NOT!!! =(

The later thirties…

Busy with growing and nurturing my business, and I have to say that Costco is a business owner’s best friend! =)  You get all of the stuff you need, plus access to services like merchant credit card processing, insurance, check printing, etc. These are almost always the best quality items and at amazing prices. Awesome pizza and hot dogs too!! And the best gasoline prices as well?!?! WOWOWOW!!! I will be the first to admit that I am a Costco whore. Maybe THE Costco whore.

Image

Anyways, I usually browse through the monthly coupon book to see if there is anything I specifically need or want, or if there is something interesting on the cheap. Ah! Those whitening strips that they keep showing on TV. Well gosh they are cheap and I have been noticing a little bit of yellowing (maybe since I’m an iced tea fan). Let’s try them out!

Folks, this stuff could do more harm than good.

So I try them out. You put them on your teeth for 15-20 minutes or whatever the hell the directions say. Ok, they are uncomfortable, don’t really stay in, and taste funny. Of course you don’t see any damn difference after you take them out. I suppose after maybe 5 or 8 times you might see something. Oh hell let’s just finish off the box since we bought them. And it came with a tube of whitening toothpaste too! How cool!!

A week or so later, I started to feel a slight ridge on my tooth surface at my gumline. You know, the ones that you might get sometimes if you eat something that creates a hard tartar type deposit. No big deal, you brush your teeth and it’s gone. Nice and smooth tooth surface all the way to your gums…back to normal. There’s certainly no need to go to the dentist to fix this I always thought to myself. I’ll just brush really good and all will be fixed. Strangely, the toothpaste that came with the strips made my teeth really sensitive and hurt when I brushed. Odd. Well toothpaste is toothpaste, so whatever.

So I didn’t really think about it, and I don’t recall if I kept using the strips every day or less frequently, but it doesn’t really matter. I brushed more every day, and that hard deposit wouldn’t go away. I didn’t really care for the strips, so when they were used up (or maybe I got pissed and threw them out), I figured I’d just use more whitening toothpaste regularly to slowly whiten up my chompers.

Well shitdamn! That hard deposit ridge just won’t go away. Of course I never think about it when I’m brushing, only sporadically at work or something. I’m not one to inspect myself in detail in the mirror much, so I don’t even bother to look closely at it in the mornings in the bathroom. Plus my Billy Idol sneer doesn’t really expose my gumline; I’d have to pull my lips with my finger to see what is going on. The bottom line, I neglect to see what is actually going on here.

I’ll add to the story now that on occasion I’d get super sensitive or swelled gums in certain spots of my mouth, but I figured that was from eating stuff that had a tendency to get stuck in the gumline. Of course after some extra brushing (which you all know I love to do as mentioned in a previous post), it would go away after a couple few days. Maybe a little swish with mouthwash to help kill the infective bacteria if it seemed questionable, and all was good. Again, no time for the dentist and who the hell wants to be scraped and poked with those sharp picks????


3D-White-Whitestrips-Professional-Effects

Dentist visit?? Sorry I’m busy with life!

Starting your own business is easily the most scary, yet the most rewarding journey one can embark upon. For a startup, an immense amount of time is needed to get everything rolling, and to put out the endless fires that pop up. Unexpected curve balls become the norm, but as long as you are diligent and organized, it’s manageable.

Health and dental insurance? Forget it unless you already set money aside for that. And it’s expensive!!!!!!!!!! $300/mo minimum if not WAY more, and that’s on top of your other life expenses.

For those of you who don’t own your own business, you may not understand the severity of the situation. Just imagine that you had no more job but the same expenses you have every month. Then add a few thousand more dollars of overhead to that every month. And each month, none of this goes away, it compounds if you don’t pay it. Oh yeah, remember you aren’t going to be paid jack shit on Friday some given xxxx amount. You may not have any money come in for a month or two sometimes depending on what you are working on. You may be sued. You need to buy a reliable delivery truck or van, which is like $20k or more. Oh yeah that needs insurance, but super expensive commercial vehicle insurance. You have to buy more equipment that costs MANY thousands of dollars as soon as you save up enough to do so. Don’t forget you signed a three year lease (for xx thousand every month) that they will sue your pants off for if you break it. Those who have a business TOTALLY know where I am coming from.

In any case, you get the picture. All the commotion doesn’t make for regular dental visits.

One plus is I am an avid gum chewer. Sugarfree. That can definitely help a lot to keep the surfaces of your teeth clean. The minty fresh flavor also lets you know that you don’t have an oral cesspool brewing. This is a VERY false sense of security for the long term, however. Gumline status, which is sometimes forgotten about is another story. Obviously, this is going to lead to bad dental things soon here…

Ahhh the old style gum packs…

Image

The thirties…

Well shithole companies always seem to have everything catch up to them sooner or later, right? This one was no exception. Other than not being paid well and not having benefits, I enjoyed what I was doing, however. I still figured I’d stay here for a long time and work into upper management. (This is an American branch of a VERY large overseas company btw. The reason it was shitty was mostly from the domestic management structure, not at all because of the parent company).

So I turn thirty. I have a good (questionable?) job that I like, a good sense of purpose, etc. etc. THEN it happens. Because of many reasons that are irrelevant to this story (some internal, some external), the company goes nearly bankrupt. Of course a bunch of people get straight fired. The (un)lucky few who don’t get fired, are bent over and put in “new” positions. Basically I was put in an entry level position and pretty much the biggest dumbshit idiot I have ever met in my life became my direct boss. You know the type…those complete fucking morons who don’t know how to do ANYTHING other than brownnose specific people in the company to get ahead. Yes, one of those. So the next people up my new chain of command are completely convinced that I am one of the most incompetent, unknowledgeable, lazy people on the planet. (I still wonder how lameasses can project THEIR shortcomings onto someone else???)  In any case, you see where this is heading…which is basically to nowhere, with a left turn at eternity. Well I recognized this, so I basically figured I’d milk my salary as long as I could, and did the minimum amount of work to keep me from getting canned. There were no bridges to save here, and everyone else I knew was already gone, so I didn’t really give a rat’s ass about any morality. Of course since this asshole boss was lame, it took him a full six months to finally bust me in a way to fire me. And trust me, he was trying hard e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e. d.a.y. of those six months. In the meantime, I taught myself html on company time and built me a nice, shiny website for my new business that I was going to launch! Mind you this was 1998-1999 and the age of dialup. The internet was just beginning to come into ubiquity, and website design was an informal, self taught, trial and error black art.

My revenge on all of these know-nothings was that I had the knowledge and skills to simply start my own gig at the drop of a hat if I wanted to, but they never could in a million lifetimes. Sayonara suckers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

* * *

I do want to add a pretty comical detail to all of this. So as I said, this was the age of dialup, and it started to become a company-wide problem that people were logging in at their desks during work. (Remember, the internet was new, and companies for the most part didn’t want ANYONE on the internet for any reason at all during the day. There truly was nothing that could help you be more productive at work on the web at that time.) To combat this, a new digital phone system was implemented so there were no more analog lines to the outside, except for dumb managers who bragged to everyone that they had an extra dialup phone line at their command. As a punishment, this dipshit boss put me in the furthest cubicle away from everyone to isolate me and make me feel dejected and alone. Of course he is so stupid that he doesn’t realize that the department fax machine line (analog of course!) is plugged into an outlet INSIDE my cubicle next to my feet. Plus since I’m at the furthest corner of the room, nobody could sneak up on me and see what was on my laptop screen. Needless to say, I complained as much as possible to both him and upper management that I wanted to move to a better spot near everyone else, which kept me at the best cubicle in the whole building! 😉  This was immensely helpful with building my website and getting it launched!

Oh yeah, and all dumbasses in the chain of command above me all the way to the VP eventually got fired for being stupid. How about that for an Emperor’s New Clothes syndrome! And the company had to sell the HUGE building that they owned just to not go under…

* * *

Anyways, how does this all relate to my braces??? Again, you can now see that I would be too busy to go to the dentist for them to scrape my teeth with metal picks. What the hell does that do anyways if you brush a lot???? I didn’t see any cavities anywhere, I’m good, thanks. Oh, and those wisdom teeth, they aren’t hurting anyone, they are just sitting there. I’m not sure where to go to get them taken out anyways. (I forgot to mention that during my employment at this place, another guy had a tooth pulled out and it got infected and half of his face swelled up like a balloon, and he had to go to the hospital emergency room. Ok, one more good reason not to deal with this wisdom tooth thing!)

Oh boy this is big trouble coming as you can see…

New job with dental benefits?? NOT

So around 1996 I finally decide I want to stop horsing around doing my own informal thing and get a “corporate” job. You know, start somewhere so I can stay there for the rest of my working life and move up the lucrative and juicy corporate ladder! I get a pretty good job close by, with some pretty significantly responsible things to do there. (Details not necessary here, but I designed stuff for car manufacturers for future vehicles. Pretty cool! One of the highlights of my time there was working on the then SUPER SECRET “New Beetle” for VW. This was a super classified launch, as it was going to be the rebirth of this iconic set of wheels.) But in hindsight, what a bunch of assholes at this craphole company! This HUGE corporation didn’t have any benefits for the employees. Well I wasn’t sick or dying, so I didn’t really care.

The purpose of me mentioning this? Well again, busy with work (life) and I forget to regularly go to the dentist. Ahhhh nothing is wrong and I’m genetically inclined to have good teeth, I’ll go later!!

uh ohhhhhhhhh says our 20/20 hindsight =\

1994_VW_Concept_One_02

Birthdays and life

Ahhhh another birthday will arrive tomorrow! It’s funny how a birthday really isn’t any significant point in your life at all, but at the same time it is. Some people use them to bring all attention upon themselves and to feel super important. I’m sure these people LIVE for the “xxxx’s birthday is today” facebook notice at the top of the screen!  Some people despise birthdays. I guess it’s all just what you make of it.

For myself, I don’t really care about the attention or what not. After having a number of close people pass away along this life journey, I like to use birthdays to reflect a little (ok, maybe a LOT) on the fact that I’m still here, to appreciate that fact, and to think about what I’d like to do to make the world better with however much time I have left. I also like to step back and remind myself to remember to do things that I enjoy (during my small pockets of spare time), and especially to experience new things and places.

The next time another birthday rolls around in 2015 I will mostly be done with these braces on my teeth, and I’ll (hopefully) be pretty damn close to completing my Ph.D. I’ll also have had the currently brewing new stage of my 15-years-old-this-year small business fully implemented and rolling in full force; heavy work during the summer break, with everything coming together at the end of 2014 is the plan. I’ll have taught my second or third upper division course at my Cal State University undergrad alma mater, and will hopefully be in early negotiations for something resembling a full-time position there (<==this one I need to keep my fingers crossed for! At the same time I am not holding my breath by any means though. Don’t worry, I have other stuff going on, I’ve got it covered! LOL)

As for this birthday 2014, it’ll be just another Monday handling my UC Irvine teaching assistant gig. Mondays are the days I get to really help the students with their assignments, and they have a really big writing assignment due in a couple weeks. They are getting anxious and they need a lot of help, but we’ll see if their fear can outweigh their procrastination LOL. My front upper teeth aren’t really sore anymore from the new bracket tie last Tuesday, so I think my birthday dinner might not be as excruciating as I first thought haha… Going to try out the Manhattan Beach Post restaurant in Manhattan Beach, supposed to be pretty damn good!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to anyone else who has had one recently, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to anyone who has one coming up soon!! =D

Image