Good dentistry? Great Marriage? Find Out What They Have in Common.
As discussed in Part I of this piece, throughout both my forty-year marriage to my dear wife, Leenie, and my career in the dental industry, I’ve come across quite a few similarities between what it takes to create both a quality, long-lasting marriage and the principles that go into quality, long-lasting dentistry and procedures.
Here is Part II of the essentials that I believe apply to both:
5. Contaminants must be kept out:
• Marriages are killed out of the gate or don’t last long if ugly contaminants exist. Baggage from a former marriage, a challenging childhood, or drug/alcohol abuse have the potential to severely damage a marriage relationship.
• Anything contaminate, including blood and/or saliva, that comes between the adhesive and the conditioned mineral mother dentin prevents what could have otherwise been a long-lasting, high-quality bond.
6. Occasionally there can be value when one party is in a greatly weakened condition and the other compensates by being very strong:
• This can sometimes be the case with long-term illness or handicaps during a marriage.
• In dentistry, and often in older patients, the tooth can be so weakened that it needs a full crown—gold or zirconia. Zirconia appears to be the way of the future!
7. There must be the option for reparability:
• When problems (outside of catastrophic ones) occur in a marriage, are the partners’ individual characters/capabilities such that will facilitate the repairing or saving of the marriage? Furthermore, can such a relationship be renewed or made better? Resilience in marriage is a big deal, as couples are bound to encounter some trials and trauma throughout life.
• Reparability becomes a very important contributor to the overall concept of “minimally invasive dentistry.” I often say, as a general rule, that the more you cut the tooth, the more you weaken the tooth. The more of the tooth you cut and the more times you cut it, the sooner you kill it. Trauma to the tooth is additive.
8. There must be effort made to keep things interesting:
• A marriage is kept vital and endearing, versus enduring, by keeping it interesting. A new hairstyle, a vacation, or quality time spent alone are all invaluable to a marriage.
• Complacency, like in a relationship, can put oral health at risk. Yearly and bi-yearly checkups, a quality diet, reinforcing fluoride, and daily hygiene are important to oral health. Furthermore, caring for the smile, in terms of whitening and other esthetic procedures, often causes the patient to pay more attention to the value of their teeth.
9. In passing: All too often, there is an inverse relationship between the amount of money spent for the wedding, and the quality and length of duration of the marriage!
• Similarly, there is often an inverse relationship between the amount of money spent on a dental restoration and the actual quality and lasting ability of such a restoration.