The View Up There – Nobody Should Die From Colon Cancer

The basis for my provocative and seemingly bold title will become evident below.

Ever since my appendectomy six years ago, I’ve had gastro-intestinal distress (belly pain), to some degree, on and off.  I’ve been to the ER twice, with CT scans taken… both negative.

My doctor urged me to get a colonoscopy back when I was 48 years old.   The recommendation was a bit early (normally at age 50), since there is a family history of cancer.  For a lot of reasons (none of them good), I procrastinated…. and procrastinated.  And, I believe this is fairly typical.  It just doesn’t sound like fun, right?  I’m now 53 years old.  So, I’m about 5 years past due!

The most recent E.R. visit was this past December, while in Arizona for my son’s hockey tournament.  I was worried that something bad was imminent.  Nope.  Blood labs and CT were normal.  The folks at the E.R. in Arizona said, “You need to get a colonoscopy back home.”

Get OUT of my belly!

fat bastardGoing further back… Last October, my GI distress reached a point that put me in the doctor’s office on an urgent basis, in this case, the day before an out-of-state hockey tournament.  I was in a LOT of pain.  I was bloated and VERY tender in the lower abdomen.  He suspected diverticulitis and prescribed a regimen of two rather nasty antibiotics (Flagyl and Cipro).  This seemed to help.  He again urged me to get the colonoscopy.  I scheduled it and then canceled.  My excuse was my daughter’s chemo was about the same time, and she wasn’t feeling well.

Then last month, my belly started to talk to me again.  It wasn’t bad, but I wanted to nip it in the bud rather than wait until it got to the same point as last time.  I went back to my GI doc.  He palpated my belly, which wasn’t too tender this time, and then told me… “We’ve GOT to look around to see what’s going on, dumbass!”  OK…. He didn’t SAY, “dumbass.”   😉   My wife and office manager worked together to schedule my colonoscopy this time.  It was a go!

A flush beats a straight!

Continue reading

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Posted in Editorial | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Skinner Sights – A Shooting Gear Review

A few years ago, my wife got me a beautiful rifle for Christmas, a lever-action .22LR-caliber Browning BL-22 Grade II with Maple stocks.  I love it.  It’s the one “pretty” gun in my modest collection.

Check out the gorgeous “flamed” Maple stock! Oh, baby!

A closer look at the Maple stock. “Wood people” call that iridescent effect, “chatoyance.”

Getting old sucks!

The Browning BL-22 comes with traditional open iron sights – “buckhorn” rear sight and simple post front sight, both black.  To be honest, with my 53-year old eyes, I wasn’t very accurate with it.  A worthy plinker, but that’s about it.  In any case, I love the rifle.

On an internet forum dedicated to rimfire guns, I learned about some hand-crafted aftermarket sights from a company called, Skinner Sights.  Their sights use a rear “peep” sight, which is effectively a small aperture (standard is 0.096 inches) that you look through, centering the front post sight in it.

It’s here!

My order arrived very quickly.  I followed the installation instructions on their website.  Continue reading

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Posted in Guns & Knives | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Your Practice Computer Security – The Russians Are Coming!

crime-scene-computerI had a bit of a scare yesterday.  The first thing in the morning, my office manager told me she couldn’t get the computer at the front desk working.  There was a pop-up window saying my hard drive was full.  Whaaaaaaa??   Sure enough, there it was.  Whisky.  Tango.  Foxtrot!  The computer had pretty much frozen up.  I could barely get it to do anything.

The computer has a 500 Gig hard drive, and I knew it couldn’t be even more than half full.  No way.  I checked the properties of the hard drive.  It was full.  But, full of what?  How??

Had I been hacked?  Did we get a virus?  Am I a victim of ransomware??  Please!  Not that!  Does Vladimir Putin have a vendetta against me?  I bet it’s those fucking Russians!  😉  Though, we didn’t get a pop-up ransom notice, so it probably wasn’t that.  I hope not!  But, I was sweating bullets!

I’ve got a guy!

So, I had my office manager call one of my local dentist friends for a recommendation for a “computer guy,” STAT!  Usually, the “computer guy” is ME.  I’m pretty tech-savvy, but I was too panicked Continue reading

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Posted in Current Events, Technology, What Happened Today | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The ADA “Values” My Opinion

Last night, I received an email with a link to a survey from the ADA.  Their records show I’m not a member and they want my input.  It was obvious they are becoming concerned about declining membership.

Subject:  Tell us what you think.


Dear Doctor: 

The American Dental Association is interested in your perceptions about member value and opinions about ADA membership. Upon completion of this survey, you will be entered to WIN one of five $100 Visa gift cards.

<link redacted>

Your participation is voluntary, but we would very much like your opinion. Please note that your answers to this survey are completely confidential and are only reported in aggregate. This survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete.  

We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us. If you have any questions concerning this survey, please feel free to contact me at 312.440.2864 or by replying to this email.

Please complete the survey by December 15. Thank you in advance for your assistance with helping us to collect this important information.


Chris C. Mitchell
Director, Membership Marketing and Research


The questions were fairly predictable… asking about my prior experience and satisfaction with what the ADA has done.  They asked about my expectations of the ADA…. and so on.  Rating them on various categories with a range from “disatisfied” to “very satisfied” or “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree.”  At the very end, there was an opportunity to write additional comments in a text box.

This is what I wrote: Continue reading

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Posted in Current Events, Editorial, What Happened Today | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

Second Amendment Firearms Database – Software Review

Gun collector software appA few years ago, I reviewed a program designed to help gun owners document and archive important information about their firearms, related accessories, and ammunition.  While I liked the old program I was using, the developer has apparently abandoned the project.  My copy of the old program had become buggy, and there’s no support for it anymore.   Fortunately, I recently discovered a new database program that is fantastic.  It’s superior in many ways.  It’s called Your Second Amendment Gun Database (or “2AFDB” as an abbreviation later in this article).

There are a number of data points about your firearms, ammo, and related accessories you might want to keep recorded or track:

  • Receipts and other paper documents (scanned or photographed)
  • Acquired / purchased from source
  • Price paid / current value
  • Serial numbers
  • Round count (rounds fired through each gun – an “odometer,” so to speak)
  • Photos
  • Accessories
  • Maintenance and repair records
  • Modifications
  • Insurance
  • Ammunition inventory
  • Range and training log
  • Disposition / location (Is it in the safe?  Is it in the shop?  Did you loan it to someone?  Sell it?)

Why?  I can think of a few reasons.  Such records can help if you ever sell any of your firearms.  They can help in the case of loss (fire, flood, theft) for insurance claims and police reports.  They can also help diagnose issues by having a history of each gun, ammo, and your usage.  Another reason is for your own personal knowledge of how your guns are being used (a logbook), their condition, and value.  It increases your enjoyment of owning and using firearms.

Yeah, but do I need an app for that?

Sure, you could use a piece of paper in the old file cabinet or even a spreadsheet to do this.  But, a functionally-designed relational database has so much more to offer Continue reading

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Posted in Guns & Knives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Dental Warrior Blog Stats!

I checked my blog dashboard today. It turns out that in 6 years, I’ve written the equivalent of three novels or two “thrillers.” 😎


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Fixing an Overprepped Tooth







Today’s challenge was a tooth #2 belonging to my former hygienist.  An all-ceramic crown fractured in half and debonded.  It had been endodontically treated before.  The tooth was under-prepped occlusally and over-prepped  and over-tapered axially, particularly on the distal.  The existing prep had very little retention and resistance form…. really NONE.  I couldn’t re-prep it as it was.  I needed to recreate some of the lost tooth structure.

Three different views of the prep as it presented pre-operatively.

Three different views of the prep as it presented pre-operatively.  Note the over-prepped axial surfaces.

So, I roughened / freshened the axial walls by “dusting” it with a diamond bur and removed a millimeter or two of the core build-up on the occlusal.  I couldn’t get a metal Tofflemire band to engage the tooth.  There was nothing for it to “grab,” as the tooth was turned into a “teepee” by the previous dentist.  The band would just slip off as it was tightened.  Then I found some old crown core forms in the back closet.  They were made by Pentron.  But, they’ve been discontinued!  Editing to add:  I found a similar product from EDS.  Scroll down this EDS webpage page to see the product.  But, the webpage lacks a “BUY” button for the core forms.  Give them a call to order it.  Continue reading

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Posted in Case Presentation, Clinical Technique | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Dr. MacGyver Rocks You Like a Hurricane!

macgyver2-closeupLast week, just before the hurricane was predicted to strike, my office manager texted me on a Tuesday evening, “Broke my #9 off at the gum line!”  Yeah… not a good look for a cosmetically-oriented dental practice front desk, eh?

As it turns out, Wednesday’s schedule had pretty much fallen apart.  People were freaking out about the approaching Category 4 Hurricane, “Matthew.”  Gas stations had lines for blocks.  Supermarket shelves were being cleared by panicky citizens.  The office phone was silent.  hurricane-matthewDental care falls to the bottom of the priority list during a hurricane (unless they’re in pain… a lot of pain).

I didn’t have a lot of time to document everything.  We all wanted to get home to prepare for the storm.  So, this is a quick and dirty presentation.  (I’ll add an image of the radiograph when I get back to the office.)


Old crown, partially cleaned up.

The long-term viability of the tooth is certainly in question.  But, Hurricane Matthew was bearing down.  Jo-Ann just wanted her front tooth back!


Not much there to for retention, eh?

The first thing I did was just see if the existing crown still “fit” on the remaining root structure.  The margins seated fine all the way around.  Continue reading

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Posted in Case Presentation | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Do-It-Yourself Ortho Aligners? Same Thing, Right?

It’s been a long time since I have written a blog post.  No excuses.  Life is busy with family and other concerns, and I’ve not been inspired… until now.

Tele-dentistry?  Tele-braces?

sdc-diyMany of you may have already heard about online companies offering do-it-yourself orthodontic clear aligners.  For many of us, the instinctive reaction is to scoff or laugh at such a silly notion.  Some will dismiss the news and suggest that P.T. Barnum had it right about a “sucker being born every minute.”  I suppose the consensus might initially be summed up with the single-worded vernacular, “WhatevAR!”  What’s next?  Do your own crown preps?  Tele-crowns?

No worries, right?  If you visit this consumer review webpage and see their clients’ “before & afters,” you’ll likely be quite amused at the “results.”  Or, just keep reading.

Of course, we have many well-founded clinical concerns and objections to the concept of self-diagnosis and self-treatment.  No need to review them.  As dentists, we know what they are.  Smile Direct Club (SDC) claims that each case is “reviewed” by a licensed dentist.  The clients send in cell phone selfies of their smiles and self-administered impressions from the kit sent by SDC.  That’s it.  Consider the standard of care here.  How many of us would recommend orthodontic appliances for patients without a comprehensive examination prior to treatment?  These “hired guns” are approving cases based solely on selfies and models (of dubious quality)?  No x-rays?  No perio evaluation?  Caries or defective restorations identified?  Fixed bridges or splinted crowns?  Can you imagine what might happen to a practicing dentist who did that with patients of record?

Best Frenemies Forever?

Recently, Align Technologies (Invisalign) purchased part of SDC and is making their aligners for them.  The folks at Align tried to assuage the concerns of dentists by claiming they just want to be “ahead” of the trend (of self-treatment or “tele-dentistry”) and that the aligners they make for SDC are not the same technology as Invisalign brand aligners.  Furthermore, in the merger announcement, Align said, “30% of Smile Direct Club’s interested customers do not qualify using the Smile Direct Club protocols.”  Yeah…  Remember that 68% of all statistics are made up 93% of the time.  😉  Looking at the SDC page, I’m hard-pressed to find a SINGLE CASE that was turned away by SDC.  Below you’ll see one I expect you’ll agree should have been.

SDC claims that every case is “reviewed” by a licensed dentist.  Word on the street (DentalTown) is that they hire dentists in each state to look at the selfies and impressions (remotely, I assume) for $50 a pop.  Fifty bucks.  Wow.  I wonder if there is an incentive to “approve?”  Do the dentists get paid the same measly $50 if they reject a case?  Who takes on the liability if / when the case goes south and the “patient” is looking for compensation?

It’s the same thing!

The problem with that is that SDC will certainly market this as “made by Invisalign,” and consumers will perceive it to be the same.

To wit… Continue reading

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Posted in Current Events, Editorial | Tagged , , | 11 Comments