Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rising Costs of Dental Care Lead to Desperate Measures

San Francisco, CA 

Although the rising cost of medical care is well known, the rising cost of dental care has received relatively little press, that is, until now. A growing number of people in the city of San Francisco have begun to take dental care into their own hands, either because they are uninsured, because their insurance is inadequate, or simply because it's more fun.  The results, while a bit unusual, have been largely successful.

Robert Arons is the spokesman for a new organization known as 'Brace Yourself!," made up of a small number of very dedicated members.  "There are only four of us so far," says Arons, "but we're a dedicated bunch.  We do it for political reasons, but we also do it for artistic reasons.  There's nothing more boring than a mouth full of teeth that all look basically the same.  I've got stainless steel teeth, granite teeth, and coral teeth.  My mouth is a frigging masterpiece."

Arons claims that up until now, the dental industry has had a monopoly on dental care, and with no competition, they've set their prices astronomically high.  "They've been able to do this because people have been brainwashed to think a mouth should look a certain way, that teeth should necessarily be white, gums should be pink, and all that nonsense.  Once you see past the political propoganda," he continues, "you learn that we can do it ourselves, using inexpensive materials anyone can find at their local hardware or art supply store.  Not only do you save money, but it's a great way to get to know people." 

Joy Warner, 28, is another 'Brace Yourself!' member.  Warner, who works as a nurse with terminally ill kids at Oakland Children's Hospital, claims that her new hobby has transformed her otherwise meaningless life.  "I used to feel I wasn't making a contribution," she explains, "but now I'm a dental rights activist.  I have been dreaming about this since I was a little girl."

Casey Friedman, 30 and Helen Meyer, 31 met and fell in love thanks to Brace Yourself!  "I'd always dreamed of meeting a partner who shared my passion for oral experimentation," explains Friedman.  Meyer reports that she fell in love the first time Friedman filled one of her cavities.  

Some of the procedures that 'Brace Yourself!' members are trying at home include extractions, fillings, and false teeth.  Home techniques for braces are currently being developed.

"Extractions are pretty straight-forward." says Arons, "All you really need is some strong string and a car, preferably one with a lot of power.   A Ferrari, for example, can go from 0 to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds.  That tooth will be out before you know it!  Of course, we suggest some whiskey before and after the procedure."

Filling cavities is a little more complicated.  "For fillings, you need a nonporous material.  Cement works great and takes only 20 minutes to dry," continues Arons, "or you can use wood or plumber's putty.   If you want to get really creative, go down to the home repair section of the hardware store and get yourself a can of expanding foam that hardens in just a couple minutes.  Now, make sure you just use a dab or you'll fill your whole mouth. We've had a couple people make this mistake.  It's no fun but it's nothing an exact-o knife can't take care of."

Perhaps the most creative home dentistry involves the use of false teeth.  "Dentures cost a fortune." explains Arons, "We've been experimenting with using stone, metal or coral and then some dental glue to keep it in. You may opt to pay a jeweler to shape the material into a tooth for you."

San Francisco jeweler, Anita Diamond, has begun to sell tooth-shaped jewelry in response to the current demand.  "If you don't mind paying a little extra, I suggest you special order a tooth made from your birth stone.  What a conversation piece!"

Arons claims that he has received no legal trouble from the National Dental Association.  "Fortunately, they think we're just a bunch of weirdos and don't see us as a threat at all.  Boy do they have it wrong."

1 comment:

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