Tag Archive: teeth

They Call Him Flipper …

Monday I had an appointment at the dentist to get impressions made for my new dental appliance.

There was some confusion at first, since I had asked for something that could be removed so that I could clean it myself and remove it if it became uncomfortable.

The dentist scheduled me for a bridge, which I assumed would be the removable appliance I had asked for. I do have dental insurance through [ghostbank] but it would not pay for the entire amount, leaving me holding a $2500+ bag. That’s a pretty big bag, but I have a bit of savings and they offered a payment plan. A second appointment was set up to give the new hole in my head time to heal, during which I experienced the “joys” of strep throat and having a white furry tongue.

Again, sorry about that. Here's a sleepy Fearless.

During my many convalescent periods, I had time to do a bit of research and find out the meaning of the different terms the doctor had used. Like many specialized professions, dentist have a language of their own that inexperienced outsiders might not understand. Immensely helpful in this was a website I found run by a dentist by the name of Doctor Spiller that answered all my questions. (Don’t click on the heading for Meth Mouth . Trust me.)

The bridge the dentist had scheduled me for would require the tooth on either side be ground into pegs, capped with crowns and an artificial tooth attached to either side to “bridge” the gap. I didn’t want two perfectly good teeth damaged irreparably, I just wanted to fill the gap in my mouth.

Going in to today’s appointment, I spoke to the receptionist when I checked in to make sure that what I was going to get would be a removable partial denture, not the bridge the doctor had been pushing on me. The receptionist told me I was scheduled for a bridge and I told her exactly what I told the doctor; that I wanted something that was removable, a partial denture. She writes a few things down and I go sit in the waiting room while she goes and tells someone that I’m being contrary. I get back to the exam room where the tools to destroy my teeth have been laid out and tell the assistant the same thing – I don’t want a bridge, I want a partial. She says “Oh, you just want a flipper.” (no idea why they call them flippers) and runs back up to the front so they can run my insurance again, since this is a different procedure.

I  wait.

The dentist comes in and I tell her the same thing – I don’t want a bridge. She tells me a bridge will be more comfortable, look better, grant me three wishes … I don’t care, I don’t want one.

The assistant comes back with good and bad news – my insurance won’t cover a portion of the flipper/partial denture the way it would the bridge. That’s the bad news, the good news is that it costs one-fifth what the bridge does. I agree to pay and go through the distasteful process of having my teeth cast in alginate. Blech. I should have my new tooth next Monday, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

It should look something like this;

Image appears courtesy of Doctor Spiller

This particular breed of flipper, a single tooth denture, is also called a Nesbit. Prior to the Seventies they would have cast metal wires securing them to the adjoining teeth, giving them the appearance of a spider when removed. In the Seventies, when lawyers learned that these were occasionally swallowed and, in very rare cases, the metal wires could possibly be sharp enough to do damage as Nature did its job, it became illegal to make them of metal. They are now made of a flexible material that should hold it securely in place.

Like so;

Image appears courtesy of Doctor Spiller

For those creeped out by teeth, sorry.

Here's a sleepy Firefly.


I really love eBay, it’s like a yard sale you can visit in your jammies. If you like to casually browse through the categories (like I do) there are some really odd things out there, mostly from Asian countries it seems, at really low prices. I like to buy the occasional odd thing, as long as it’s less than a dollar and has free shipping, and will amuse myself by searching for random words to see what pops up.

I’ve decided to justify this time-wasting obsession by mining it for valuable blogging gold!

To that end, I will be writing up reviews for these cheap little items as I get them and posting them on a semi-regular basis. If anyone would like to suggest (or send) me something, I’m more than happy to accept any suggestion (or freebie!) you might offer.


This is one of those odd things that is sold for around the same price, mine was $0.99 with free shipping,  by dozens of dealers under different Engrishtastic names. I’ve seen it as “Hyper Peeling Stick” “Dental Bleaching Stick” “Tooth Teeth Stain Eraser” “Whiten Teeth Tooth Dental Peeling Stick” , and variations on those themes. All the creatively named products are the same thing; a turquoise handle and a bundle of white rods of aligned and compressed  fibers that look very similar to the innards of a hi-lighter or other felt-tipped pen. The little white sticks have a flat end that fits into the handle and a chiseled end that is supposed to do the polishing. Mine did not come with any neat packaging, it was all tossed together in a little baggie made of the thinnest plastic I have ever seen. There were no instructions but it’s pretty straightforward; put white thing in socket on blue-green thing,  rub on teeth.

I have used it on my teeth, just to see what it was like. It does polish, and leaves my teeth feeling squeaky clean. Kind of like a touch-up between dentist visits.  It’s sort of tedious, but if you’re watching TV or some similar activity where your attention is elsewhere, it makes it go by faster.  It’s pretty small and takes some maneuvering to get the back teeth. There’s not really any taste other than a general “plasticy” flavor you would get from licking a straw, many of the eBay ads call it a “bleaching” stick but I detected no chemicals that would do any sort of bleaching.

The bag is seriously thin, it's like a square plastic soap bubble with a ziploc top.

What I really like to use it for is polishing jewelry. It does a wonderful job of getting the tarnish off of rings, doesn’t scratch, and doesn’t make a mess the way paste cleaners can. It’s also good for removing permanent marker from non-porous surfaces like plastic and for taking stains off of fingernails. It takes a bit, but it does the job without leaving a lot of scuffs behind. It does work better if it’s dampened, but it works when dry too.

The little sticks are probably meant to be used just once and thrown away, but my frugal nature won’t allow me to do that; even if they only cost about four cents each I still want to get my money’s worth. The compressed fibers in the individual rods are bound together strong enough that, with a good sharp knife or  razor blade, you can shave off the used portion and expose a fresh polishing surface. I bought my little set over a year ago and I still haven’t used but two or three of the cleaning sticks.

The petite powerhouse of scrubbiness.

I think these little guys are well worth the $0.99, I’m sure there are other uses for them besides what I have mentioned. If you have an extra dollar laying around, it’s a good buy.