Monday, March 21, 2011

The Dreaded Full Moon


I am Dr. Scott Jackson, a dentist in Ocala, Fl. I would like to thank Dr. Gammichia for giving me the opportunity to share some thoughts on a few Mondays every Month. A quick synopsis of the last 46 years: I was born and raised in Hialeah, FL., where I owned and operated a crown and bridge laboratory before going to dental school. I graduated from the University of Florida College of Dentistry and received my Mastership from the Academy of General Dentistry in 2009. I also spent 8 years in the U.S Navy as a dental technician.

I am married to an incredible woman who is a registered nurse as well as a registered dental hygienist. She goes from cooking lasagna to painting walls to laying ceramic tile to changing the oil in her truck all in single day. To give you an idea, I got her an 18 volt drill for Mother's Day (with a holster). I have 3 amazing girls, ages 24, 22, and 16, and they are assisting me in going completely gray by the time I turn 50.

Did everyone in this part of the world survive the Super Moon? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but during the full moon, and for approximately 48 hours afterwards, the strange dental patients come out! (I have been keeping track of this for a long time.) I wish I were making this up. I’m going to share with you what happened the last time we had a full moon.

Let’s start with patient #1. One of my front desk staff walks in my office at 8:00am sharp and says that she just got off the phone with Mrs. G. She said she was eating a Rueben for dinner last night (why do they have to tell me what they ate? I always have a hard time enjoying that food again), and the filling I JUST did fell out. Well, for one, I haven’t seen Mrs. G. in 2 years! She also tells me that Mrs. G. can only come in between 9 and 9:45am because her dog has an appointment at the groomer at 10:30. (Oh, and can she bring the dog to the appointment?) Now, at this point, without even searching online for the moon phase, I already know it’s a full moon; just a skill I have developed over the years.

Mrs. G. comes in at 9:15, visibly upset because I had “just put this filling in.” After taking a radiograph, not only do I have to explain to her that it has been 2 years since she has been in, but I have to tell her that the tooth that fractured is nowhere near the last restoration I did. Mrs. G. needs non-surgical endo on tooth #15, (that’s a referral in my office) followed by a core build-up and gold crown. I have to go retrieve her Yorkie from my laboratory, hoping that the floor is clean. She leaves upset, of course, convinced that I have somehow swindled her.

Patient #2, Mr. Z., shows up at my office at 2:30pm, and signs in. Well, guess what. Mr. Z. doesm’t have an appointment today; he has an appointment NEXT Tuesday at 2:30pm. He is here on the wrong day. Our front desk staff kindly tells Mr. Z. that he is here a week early, and that we really don’t have room to work him in today. Now, it’s been my experience over the years that most patients will take this news with grace. Some, even apologizing and turning red with embarrassment. But not during the full moon! Mr. Z. proceeded to have a meltdown in the waiting room that almost warranted the activation of 911. He stormed out yelling a few choice words that left the staff and the remaining patients in the waiting room wondering what just happened.

Now here is the really strange part: Mr. Z. came in the next week as if nothing ever occurred! Mrs. G. called a week later to schedule the gold crown, almost giddy on the phone. They honestly do not remember. This can’t be happening only in my office. I have to know that I am not alone. I would like to know the science behind this full moon phenomenon.

All is calm now while we wait for the next cycle. That night after work, we stopped by our local, family-owned restaurant for a bite to eat and some relaxation. The waitress walked up and asked if I wanted the special. Yep, the Reuben. I said,“Umm… I think I will just have a Caesar salad and a beer.”

Talk to you soon,



Anonymous said...

This is a great article on an anectdotal observation that I too have noticed. I can't explain it either.

As a total aside to the subject of this article, I have to take issue with the rampant use of the word "radiograph" in dentistry. Medicine uses Xray as does law and other non dental professions when referring to the exact same thing we are referring to. Here's the deal:

The suffix "graph' refers either to something that is written (from the Greek word "graphos") or to the type of machine that produces a result. That end result by the whateverograph machine produces is called a whateverogram. For example a seismograph produces a seismogram and a telegraph sends a telegram. (Note here that an "autograph" is not an autogram because "graph" also means something that is written.)

So a radiograph is really the machine (the xray machine) that produces a radiogram. Somehow in dentistry we get all high and mighty about using the "correct" word "radiograph" when describing an xray when in fact we're just as wrong as everyone else.

So if dentistry want's to be right, start calling an xray a "radiogram" not a "radiograph"for this is the actual and correct usage of the term. As 99% of patients will ask you what a radiogram is, just tell them it's an xray and they'll say OK.

(Same goes for the usage of "flora" when we're referring to bacteria, fungi and protozoans that occupy the mouth - there are not plants in the mouth as "flora" denotes. But that's another rant.)

Graham in Victoria BC

Anonymous said...


Was it a full moon when you wrote that comment.

ex-Navy too said...

YAY! Another ex-Navy blogger to read and an entertaining one at that. Welcome aboard, shipmate! Kids and gray hair go hand-in-hand, LOL.


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