Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Submariners And Wisdom Teeth

My middle kid just got all four wisdom teeth pulled this afternoon; this got me thinking back to when I got two of mine pulled at the Naval Dental Clinic in Charleston. I had kept all my wisdom teeth intact through all the pre-submarine screening and my first sea tour, but then ran into a Navy dentist who wanted to pull as many submariner's wisdom teeth as he could. I didn't want to lose any, so he decided he'd only pull the two that were partially impacted.

I had them pulled on the day before the "four-off" started because I was the only qualified Shift Engineer on my shift and couldn't miss any work. (This situation persisted for 11 months.) A few days after the teeth were pulled, I noticed some pus coming from one of the wounds. I went into the Weapons Station Clinic, where they took an x-ray and noted that there was still a piece of tooth in there. I came in before the last night of swings to have it removed; it turns out they had to do essentially the same procedure as pulling the tooth! He gave me a prescription for pain meds and I said, "I can't take these; I'm working in 2 hours." He said, "Good luck with that".

I lasted about halfway through the shift before I had to pop one. I went back to Maneuvering at the MTS to tell the EOOW to "ignore me if I give any stupid orders". Luckily, it was a quiet night, and I didn't get too stoned. (I did check the bottle to see if it said I couldn't operate nuclear reactors, but it only mentioned "heavy machinery".)

Did any of you Submariners get through your whole career with all your wisdom teeth intact? Are the Navy dentists still militant about pulling the wisdom teeth of Submariners as a preventative measure? Do any of you have any good Navy dentist stories?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had an E-3 nub at dental try to tell me I'd have to have my wisdom teeth taken out once, and I told him to kiss my FT1 behind. Never heard anything about it after that, and never had any problems.

Pulling wisdom teeth is kind of like replacing the sonar sphere just for PMS. Total overkill.

8/06/2009 7:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha, a widsom teeth story!

I still have them all. In boot camp, I convinced the nice lady dentist that she really didn't want to pull mine. She said, "well, OK you have enough room and they are all the way in, so it's your lucky day".

I pitied all those poor bastards walking around like zombies for 3 days after extraction during service week.

My daughter just had all 4 taken out, she was eating mushy food the same night...I think dental care has improved in many ways.

8/06/2009 7:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

they pull EVERYBODY'S in bootcamp now. dunno if you can weasel your way out of it. I already had mine done years before bootcamp by a nice civilian doctor in a hospital with a real anesthesiologist so it went perfectly smooth.

No idea if there's a way to weasel out of the tooth removal, but no one seemed to mind being on vicodin and sleeping for 3 days straight in bootcamp

8/06/2009 7:40 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

After volunteering for subs, it was not long before the subschool dentists wanted to extact my 3rd molars (wisdom teeth) for their so-called prophylaxis points
(preventative reasons).

I called my brother, an Air Force dentist, to see what he thought.

Two at a time, had no problems, and probably saved me a small fortune later.

8/06/2009 7:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh sure.

I had all four of mine yanked at KB almost three years ago. We came in for maintenance and the boat wasn't going anywhere for 12 to 15 days. Dental records needed to be upgraded, which meant a trip to the tooth puller.

I had a cavity in my lower right wisdom. The Doc knew what boat I was from and wanted to yank all four, since we were heading out about two weeks later. His argument was it's better to extract all four now rather than have to deal with them later.

The top wisdoms came out surprisingly easy and fast. Even my Left lower wasn't too bad either. All three of those took less than five minutes to take out, that includes being shot up with Novocaine, No problemo.

The lower right wisdom was the problem. The tooth split almost in half when Doc applied his forceps. It wasn't impacted but the roots were on the deep side. He layed half the bloody tooth on the light blue dental paper towel placed on my chest. I was shot up again with another dose of Novocaine on the lower right side. He had to open the gum line around the remaining tooth fragment to get the rest of it out.

If I recollect, that next bit of "fun" took about another 20 minutes. Doc had to stop and take another X-Ray on the lower right side to see how much tooth was left. The last part was split into two pieces as he dug into my gum line. But the whole thing came out and all was well.

The duty Corpsman had to call me a ride back to the barracks. We stopped and filled my prescriptions of Motrin and Tylenol 3 with Codeine. With a mouth full of cotton, I wasn't able to talk very well.

I had a 48 hour SIQ chit and I slept and watched day time TV talk shows for almost two days straight. I lived on Gatorade, coffee, chicken broth and water. After two days of that, I was well ready for something solid. The Codeine, was making my stomach sick too. I was happy as hell to flush the rest of that shit. A day or two after that, it was like nothing ever happened.

It's a pain to get the wisdoms yanked. But once it's done, it's done. No more problemo.

MT1 WidgetHead

8/06/2009 7:55 PM

Blogger T.J. said...

Mine made it through boot camp intact, but couldn't survive OCS. My DI told me he was going to make me yell until my stitches popped and my gums bled.

8/06/2009 8:01 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

When I was in New London for a regular checkup...the dentist told me all my wisdom teeth have to come out, I didn’t have a choice. He said two are coming right now, and the other side in a week. It only hurts for the first two days.

So a week later I am in the dentist chair for a prolonged period of time. He had used his tooth tissue scraper three times...he kept yanking and twisting his tooth extraction pliers to no avail. I think he wanted to put his foot on my face to gain leverage to yank the tooth. I listened to bone and tooth crunching with his yanking and twisting pliers for about a half and hour, he got the tissue and tendon scraper out a time or two more, studied the jaw x-ray film some more...I could tell he was getting nervous. All of a sudden he said I will be right back. He got one of his dentist friend to come in. The new guy looked at the film carefully, grabbed the pliers, twisted and yanked the tooth once, and that baby came right out.

For the next year I’d get a sore on the wisdom tooth site repeatedly, I feel something pointed erupting thru the skin with my tongue, play with it a little till it loosened up, and then it fell out. It was pieces of my jaw bone?

8/06/2009 8:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wisdom teeth came in all the way when I was about 17. My civilian dentist said I had enough room to keep them. I made it all the way through the Academy with the dentists saying I was good to keep them. Then when I made it down to Charleston for nuclear power school they made me pull them. I had no problems though and I was actually back at class 24 hours later.

8/06/2009 8:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the 10 year point in the Nav when mine were pulled. All four were partially impacted. Had'em all done at once at PHNSY Dental Clinic. No problems with recovery. Off work for two days then back to IT duty at FSTF.

In 1960 when Submarine Base PH had a dental clinic the senior dentist there hated boat sailors. Considering the smoke-boat submarine culture of the time, his dislike was understandable. We didn't much care for him either. He always complained sub sailors never wanted to get regular work done on their teeth. He told all the techs to get'em in the chair and keep'em there until he could get in to check'em out. He was known as "Doctor Yanker" for obvious reasons, and going to see him was known as "fang maintenance".

Re: pain meds, on SS-580 we were preping for an ASTOR TSI and I came down with shingles. It was on the left side of my head traveling the nerve paths toward my forehead and over my left eye. CSS1 Doc put me on display for CSS1 HM's from the boats before giving me a scrip for TALWIN and calamine lotion. That TALWIN kicks ass believe you me! Didn't make you high or anything as best I can recall, but it sure must have helped me reading checklists and supervising cause we got through the TSI done by an Army Captain with 0 errors!!

Keep a zero bubble........


8/06/2009 10:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was a diggit Ensign stashed in Butte Montana I nearly paid a private dentist to take out my wisdom teeth to save myself some time in the pipeline for the recover.

20 years and 4 submarines later I still have all my wisdom teeth. I guess having a 7 7/8 hat size* provides plenty of room for even the submarine force to let the wisdom teeth be.

My lovely wife had her wisdom teeth taken out by navy dental in Idaho Falls. She had two that had to go, and I talked her into just getting the other two out at the same time. The 2 bonus teeth resisted all attempts to numb and were bone impacted. After 11 shots of novicane she was cut off and begging for whiskey. I was on mids at the time and was supposed to give her a ride home AFTER she called me. Instead she drove home without calling and only reminds me of my insensitivity when the weather is about to change.

Ironically, her intense experience at the backwoods navy dentist absolutely convinced me to never ever complain about my wisdom teeth.

*The hat size was memoralized on westpack after my head was shaved as a pollywog. The FTs started a green record book with names for my head, LT Pumpkinhead and such. I have not shaved it since, lost too much body heat due to all the surface area.

8/06/2009 10:40 PM

Blogger Daniel Golding said...

Bootcamp, workweek - all four got yanked. They pulled them all, back in the early 90s. My story is similar to Mulligan's - I had bits of tooth or jaw or something coming out of my gums for about 6 months. Pointly little bits of tooth, sticking out of my gums, ripping up my tongue and the side of my mouth. Made getting through the rest of bootcamp tough.

8/06/2009 10:44 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

I was less than 6 months from getting out, and in their wisdom it was time to lose my last two. No issue in the pulling; at home that afternoon, I took whatever pills they gave me and was in the living with my roommates hanging out and chatting. Next thing I know I was laying on the ground with one roommate screaming at me to come to, the other on the phone with 911 yelling, "he's coming to, he's coming to." Apparently roommate 1 was talking to me and it looked like I fell asleep, so he grabbed my shoulder only to see my eyes open, rolled into the back of my head , then I fell on the floor in convulsions.

Last time I took those pills.

8/07/2009 12:35 AM

Blogger bigsoxfan said...

funny you should bring this up. I did a survey of Navy Bureau of Medicine Facilities this spring and one of the visits was to a dental clinic with minimal creature comforts in a double wide trailer very close to the piers at the base in the Pacific Northwest. I was wondering why so close to the waterfront and now I know. They didn't want to give people travel time to the main clinic. If it is any consolation, the MSC is most strict on dental checkups before deployment. Ie. If it is gray on the x-ray, then it is away.

8/07/2009 2:53 AM

Blogger FT2(ss) said...

I had mine for a while. That is until I chipped one while eating some lasagna that our cook made.

This was 2 days before an underway, And lets just say that was not going to stop me from going underway. So As the Dentist is telling me I am not going underway until all 4 of my wisdom teeth are out. I eventually made a deal with him and had him just smooth out the sharp end of the tooth and set me up for some dental fun when I got back. Since I was headed to 'C' school might as well just wait a week or so.

And yes I swear that our cook made lasagna that chipped my tooth.

8/07/2009 3:28 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Made it thru with all mine. Did have one guy in boot camp that was going to Subs and he had to have a couple pulled. At the time, I thought he was lucky, being able to lay around the barracks for a couple of days.

Did my service week in '77 at Glakes at the Dental clinic. Worked in the area that sterilized the dental tools when the procedures were done. Saw alot of nasty looking stuff that they pulled outta peoples mouths.

As an aside, DDS stands for

"Dey Died Screaming"

8/07/2009 3:29 AM

Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

I ended up with all 4 of mine being pulled while at NNPS in Orlando. As soon as the dentist heard me say I was a sub-vol, he said "I'll have to remove all 4". I told him to stuff it, as my parents had paid $3000 for my braces and other orthodontia work, they were all completely in, and they were issue free (so said all my boot-camp x-rays).

The civilian doc didn't take to kindly to my comments and reported me to my section advisor, who threatened me with de-nuking unless I had them pulled. Needless to say they were pulled the next day during a very painful 2hr operation (all 4 had very long and healthy roots) that saw them come out in 2-3 pieces each. Ended up with severe swelling of the lower jaw and 4 days SIQ with some heavy duty pain-killers.

8/07/2009 3:45 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

In my time, the Academy said, "If you are interested in subs, your wisdom teeth go." Yikes. Quite a few people lost those teeth and never saw a sub.

Anyway, the dentist working on mine practically put his whole weight onto the tooth to break it an pull it. I have never been in so much pain as after that.

Ever see "Little Shop of Horrors"? Steve Martin=Navy Dentists. F^&king sadists.

8/07/2009 4:19 AM

Blogger montigrande said...

I figure since the boat that it happened on has been “recycled” the statute of limitations has about run out on this story. I had my uppers pulled in NPS in Orlando, no problems, no pain meds, back to smoking a pack a day in two days. Several years later at Charleston, the dentist on the AS-40 decided my lowers needed to come out. Both had to be broken and the left one required grinding part of the jaw off to get the parts out. One day SIQ and back to work (on tylox), the funny thing about tylox is that it doesn’t help the pain at all, just makes you not care. I decided that I needed to eat before taking the morning meds so after some mess decks food, dosed up. Feeling much better, wandered into maneuvering just after morning colors to see my pal the SRO. He had apparently had a hard night before taking the watch and needed a head break to get rid of some coffee. Being the nice guy that I am, I relieved him, with the EDO’s permission, of course. After several minutes, I looked around and realized that I was alone and that the label on the bottle did indeed read “do not operate heavy equipment.” All ended well, as I was relived and went back to hang out in AMR2. Later, about lunchtime, the Chief tells me to hit the road and get some rest. The following morning when I got in for duty, he asked me if I was medicated. I had not dosed up and he recommended that I not do that on duty. When I asked him why, he said that he was going to send me home after quarters the day before but that I was too stoned to drive, so he waited until the meds had worn off. He also reminded me that Naval Reactors are indeed “heavy equipment.”

8/07/2009 5:54 AM

Blogger tennvol said...

From the time I had four teeth pulled for braces in middle school, I had been told that the wisdom tooth would have to go at some point. So it was no shock at OCS in Newport when they said it had to be done. Fortunately, they offered me the option of a dentist or an oral surgeon. No brainer there - oral surgeon. They didn't put me under because I was aware of what was happening the whole time, but whatever they gave me, I didn't have a care in the world. Other than that day, I missed no classes and really had no pain at all. It did get me out of PT for a couple of days, though. BMC Goglia wasn't too pleased about that :) To this day, that is still the best 'major' dental experience I have ever had. I had some cleanings from Navy dental techs that produced far more pain than that procedure ever did.

8/07/2009 6:57 AM

Blogger 630-738 said...

I managed to make it through 15 years of my career before I lost one. My upper right one was pulled in 1995, but I still have the other three. They'll be in my head until I croak.

8/07/2009 9:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got all 4 pulled on a Fri afternoon in Pensacola OCS in the mid 90's. Work up Saturday in the worst pain I ever felt till I popped the motrin and lortab. Was back to (almost)* regular training by Sunday night.

*think I still had the red tape thing on the nametag for a few days after that

8/07/2009 9:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was given a choice when in boot camp in GL back in '86. It went like this... You can have your wisdom teeth or submarines which will it be. I told the dentist that they were in and had room and were no problem. He looked at me and restated his proposal.... When I saw the Eagle on his collar I thought it was better not to argue with him and several vials of novacaine later they were gone.
I went to the chow hall and had lunch then back to the barracks for some rest. I was back with the company off SIQ the next afternoon.

Retired NAVET 657B,736G,743B

8/07/2009 9:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

1985 basic saw a bunch of guys all beat to hell after getting 2-4 wisdom teeth pulled. Dentists told me I was good so I was spared the agony.
1986 on SSN-611, HMC tells me if I don't have my teeth pulled TODAY I will loose all my medical privlidges (incluing dependents).
Well... I have an approved retirement date of 1 FEB 2010; no appendix, gray hair, a bum ankle, bad hearing BUT all four teeth. Never had a problem.
I think all the dental folks collect the things for voodoo or something.

8/07/2009 9:49 AM

Blogger I'm Bill Howell. said...

My dad had done 9 years on active duty and was a CPO in the Reserves, so he had had plenty of experience with Navy dentists.

When I came back from my 3rd class middie cruise on the USS ROBERT E. LEE and told him I had decided to go for subs, he was happy since he thought is was safer than flying. (He was an crew chief on P-3s and liked to say "There are more planes in the ocean than subs in the sky.")

Anyway, knowing Navy dentists, he immediately scheduled me to have all four of my wisdom teeth pulled by our family dentist. When I protested, he said: "Those bastards are going to pull them anyway. This way I know it'll be done by someone who's competent."

So I has all four out at once. Less than pleasant, but at least the guy doing it had a clue...

8/07/2009 10:14 AM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

It took two visits, six month apart to get my Wisdom Teeth pulled at Tripler Army Hospital in Hawaii in the late sixtes. I was referred to the dental surgeon when those babies showed up on the routine dental xray as impacted. Since I was in overhaul at the time, the two at a time routine was prescribed. After the extractions I went through the usual "afraid you are going to die" to"afraid you are not going to die" pain in the mouth. My last two were especially memorable because the nerve to my chin was wrapped around the root of one of the teeth and the resulting novicane drip on the nerve resulted in a numb feeling on the left side of my chin for five years after the extraction. It certainly made shaving interesting and I never felt if any food dropped onto my chin while eating. I still don't feel to effectively on that chin some forty years later. Joel, thanks for asking the question.

8/07/2009 10:22 AM

Anonymous EM1(SS) said...

Boot Camp, Great Lakes, summer of 1977. Whatever week it was that your company went to the dentist. Doc told me all 4 had to go because I was a sub volunteer.

8 shots of novacaine and in they went. Had to break out the bottom 2 and pull them out in pieces. The grinding and cracking noises were the worst. I swear the one guy was up on my chest. All I kept thinking was that I was glad I couldn't feel that. Sent me back to my barracks with a mouth full of cotton, Tylenol and a one day bed rest chit. Told me to get some sleep while I could. No problem there.

Woke up the next morning with a pillow full of blood. No worries though since I had my bedrest chit. Chief Castro stops by and asks why I'm not getting dressed. I was the ARCPO. Reminded him of my bedrest chit and he said "I don tink so shipmate."

Had to smash all my food with a fork so I didn't have to chew. As with others in my situation, stole a salt shaker for the salt water rinsing. Did they ever figure out where all the salt shakers went every week?

To robbie: I didn't get an infection so good job on the sterilizing of tools.

8/07/2009 10:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Almost 30 years and they are still there. Must require a big mouth to keep them. As long as there is room there is no problem.

8/07/2009 11:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to have mine pulled before I got in.

While at boot camp though the dentist deceided that my bridge work covering up my teenage mishaps needed to come out. This was to see if it was attached OK!?

This did not sit to well with me and the dentist that put it in told me "If that bridge ever comes out you will lose the teeth it is attached to". I mustered up the courage and told the CDR dentist that I would like to keep it in. A small conference took place over top of me like I was not even there. The choice was made that I get to keep it.

Every time I visisted a Navy dentist I was asked to have my bridge removed. I politey said it was not bothering me and I would like to keep it. I have had this bridge longer than my originals.

8/07/2009 1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had extensive orthodontist work all through middle school and high school. My teeth were in good shape when I entered the Navy, and I had never had any cavities or fillings. I get to my 1st boat, and go to my pre-deployment dental screening. The dentist starts poking around, and tells me I have three cavities. I have to come back to have them filled.

A few days later or so, I go back to the Groton Dental Clinic (Its still in the same place!). I get in the chair and the dentist (a different one) starts poking around. He looks back and forth between my records, the x-rays, and my mouth. He asks me "How many fillings were you told you needed?" Three, I said. "Hmmm. Who did your exam?" He looks at the record. "Ahh. Dr. So-and-So. He's drill happy. I can only find maybe one, so we'll just do that one."

I've never had another cavity or filling since, except to replace the existing one which was knocked out when the intubated me for surgery - 17 years later.

8/07/2009 2:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...I was the only qualified Shift Engineer on my shift and couldn't miss any work. (This situation persisted for 11 months.)"

First of all, that's BS. Nobody is that vital. Sounds like a management problem. Even the POTUS has a backup. Anyway, just a pet peeve of mine.

As for teeth, all of mine were pulled in SUB School.

8/07/2009 2:40 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

First of all, that's BS. Nobody is that vital. Sounds like a management problem. Even the POTUS has a backup. Anyway, just a pet peeve of mine.

It may be a pet peeve of yours, but it reflected reality at NPTU Charleston. I was there, and I witnessed it several times with different SE's. Just because you don't like it, don't make it so. Try telling NR that your Shift Eng just had his wisdom teeth pulled and he's home in the rack.

8/07/2009 3:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I was there, and I witnessed it several times with different SE's. Just because you don't like it, don't make it so. Try telling NR that your Shift Eng just had his wisdom teeth pulled and he's home in the rack."

Just because "that's the way its always been" doesn't make it right.

I agree with the other poster...managment issue or lack of. What if the SE dies in a car wreck or has a heart attack? Is NR ok with that or do they still get mad?

8/07/2009 3:31 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

I agree with the other poster...managment issue or lack of. What if the SE dies in a car wreck or has a heart attack? Is NR ok with that or do they still get mad?

They still get mad. Don't be ridiculous. It's the Navy, get over it or find something else to do. For the record, I never said it's right, it just is what it is.

8/07/2009 4:00 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

So, logtime reader, first time poster and all that jazz.

Back in '86, I was on the Simon Bolivar (SSBN641), in (very) extended overhaul in Portsmouth. A fresh push-button MT3, the doc decided it was unacceptable for me to have wisdom teeth.

They sent me to the base in Rhode Island, sending along one of my buddies as my driver. We arrive at the appointed hour, and I get comfy in The Chair. A cute DT comes in and puts me on the gas. I love that stuff! Next thing I know, I am stoned out of my mind, my 'awareness' floating up around the ceiling.

Then the dentist comes in. Keep in mind (as I said) I am barely 3 years in the Navy at this point. My Captain was a Cdr, and I was terrified of him. This dentist is a Captain. Had I been more aware of my surroundings, the following would never have happened.

He looks at my chart, then at me, and says, "How are we today, Petty Officer Smith?"
For some reason, my mouth moved and some words came out..."Just fine, Doc!"

He just stared at me for a moment, then calmly walked over to the nitrous tanks. He called the tech over and said to her, "See this? You have this set way too high!"

Whether or not he held my disrespect against me, I will never know. I hate the needles, and they were a-plenty. The plan was to take all four teeth that day. the first three came out easy, the last... not so much. This Captain, he was not a small man, and he was not gentle. He wrenched for a while, then stuck something in my mouth that seemed to explode, after which he removed the little fragments of tooth that remained. Who knew you could use a spring-punch in dentistry?

They packed my mouth with gauze and sent me on my way sans pain-med prescription. I guess I offended him after all.

That was a long ride back to Portsmouth, for sure.

Good times!

- MT2(SS)

8/07/2009 4:51 PM

Blogger blunoz said...

I had my bottom two taken out just before I got my braces on in junior high. They didn't take the top two because they couldn't tell on the x-rays if they would do damage to my sinuses (the roots and the sinuses overlapped on the x-rays). The dentists at nuke school in Orlando didn't like it, but they let me keep them.

Fast forward 8 years to my dept head tour and one of the wisdom teeth started coming in, and the dentist at the sub base in San Diego said it had to go.

Man that sucked.

I swear the dude had one foot on the floor and one foot up on the arm rest of the dental chair as he was yanking and twisting HARD with a pair of pliers to get that sucker out. I was in agony. It took me about 3 days before I could stop taking the heavy-duty pain meds, but everything was fine after that.

I still have my top left wisdom tooth in there. If the Navy decided that one needs to go, maybe I should go to a private dentist...

8/07/2009 5:06 PM

Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

Joel, coincidence is I just had to take a supplemental Fitness For Duty training module today.

BTW: my captcha is "dinquall" - kind of like dinq and qual'd.

8/07/2009 9:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading these Navy Dental stories I am so happy all four of my wisdom teeth were removed by a civilian dentist when I was in junior high. First I got the gas (great stuff) and then a shot of something. I don't know if they came out easy or if the guy was using a jackhammer because I was out cold. Left with a script for tylenol with codeine and missed a few days of school. Never got more than a filling from a Navy dentist and that was enough.

8/07/2009 9:22 PM

Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

In a story silimar to sonarman's above, I also ended up with a "Drill-happy" DDS while I was stationed in PH.

I visited the dentist about 5yrs after I got out to get things looked over (I've only ever had 3 real cavities in my life and all were pre-navy). After the tech gets done taking a large run of pics and x-rays, the DDS comes in and starts looking things over on the computer screen and announces "You were on a sub based out of Pearl in the early-to-mid '90s". I guess I looked a little dumbfounded, as I had not mentioned any involvement with the service (and my hair was mid-way down my back in a rather large braid at the time), so I couldn't figure out how he knew.

Turns out he recognized the work done on my teeth from the other 15-20 patients he had seen with similar histories. Apparently in the early '90s, Naval Dentistry was doing lots of things with the now common "color matched" enamel fillings, and they put them in everything. I had no less than 24 "fillings" with the stuff all over my teeth. The DDS said that they had put it on anything even remotely resembling a cavity or pit. He said not a single one really rated a filling, but I had them anyway (and I haven't had a single one in the 8yrs since!)

8/08/2009 12:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My bottom 2 came out during "A" school at GLakes in '84 (85?), because I was a nuc (although non-subvol, I was told "you might go to subs). They were angled toward the next-to-last molars, so it would've caused problems eventually. Watching gobs of my teeth & gums land on the back of the dentist's gloved hands was less unpleasant than the recovery.

Once reported to my ship, the bored sonofabitch dentist there gave me 4 fillings in one day. I've never had a filling before or since, but real dentists do note "pits & fissures". When I told this one, he said it was all the Fritos he imagined I ate. I know, call the waaahmbulance on me, but that was the big reason I turned down the $40K for 2 years.


8/08/2009 2:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had all four pulled in 1 week at OCS Newport. Was a good thing, too. Fewer teeth problems. 20 years in subs.

8/08/2009 6:34 AM

Blogger Sean said...

I made it through boot camp without getting them pulled. However, I didn't make it through power school. Nothing like studying for and then taking an exam with three dry sockets. I had run out of pain killers prior to all this and didn't know I had a problem until after.

8/08/2009 9:54 AM

Anonymous mitch said...

Good Lord! What's the big deal? I had all 4 pulled out at Great Mistakes Naval Base while I was in "A" school, on a Friday morning.

Didn't get any gas, just a bunch of shots of novocain. Took a nap until about 4 pm and then rode a Greyhound bus back to Des Moines, Iowa for the weekend.

It's not that bad, and I didn't have to pay anything for it. Seemed like a good deal to me. A-Gang, baby!

8/08/2009 3:14 PM

Blogger SJV said...

Dentist gave me some Novacaine, and then said "Is it okay if we blindfold you?". Not sure what happened after that, but ended up with two taken out at the same time. Not a very fun recovery, but I remember the instructor at BEE telling me that if I fell asleep again while studying that I might get in trouble. Still have the other two.

8/09/2009 10:42 PM

Blogger bothenook said...

we were getting ready for an extended specop, and every soul on board was sent to the Mare Island dental clinic to have their wisdom teeth pulled.
pulled all 4 in one sitting. 3 were as easy as pulling a sliver out of your finger. the fourth, ah, the fourth. the doc was about to execute what i assume was a taught technique by climbing up on my chest, but refrained. instead, he had the dental tech leave, and called in the DT2 to take his place. she had long light brown hair, beautiful hazel eyes, and one of the biggest non-silicone enhanced pair of ear warmers i've ever experienced. damned if i can remember much about the fourth extraction.

8/09/2009 11:57 PM

Blogger SJV said...

Maybe I got the blindfold because the DT2 in the office in Great Lakes was the hairy troll we used for the Bluenose baby! NO wonder I had all those funny looking short hairs on my shirt afterwards!

; )

8/10/2009 7:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad, Bad, Bad Memories!!!!

I went in to have my 4 wisdom teeth extracted while in "A" school. The dentist used only Novacaine and for some reason my lower jaw would NOT numb. After about 3 shots of the stuff the dentist said "Well, we're just going to have to pull them without being totally numb". WTF???? I hopped out of that chair so fast!!!! I went back 2 weeks later and everything went fine. And NO, the first dentist was not kidding about doing it without being numb. Imagine that!!!

8/10/2009 9:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never had too many teeth problems while in the Navy (6 years as an HTSN on an oiler out of Norfolk). Haven't been very good about taking care of my teeth since I got out. Don't understand all the hoopla over having teeto pulled. I just wait until they get real loose, then wiggle them around until they finally just pop out. I've pulled 8 or 9 this way and get better looking each time one goes.


8/10/2009 12:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had three taken out prior to entering the Navy. The last one is still there - upper left. Throughout my navy career, all the Navy dentist looked at the X-rays and saw that the tooth was buried in my sinus. Every single one said "If it gives you trouble, let us know otherwise lets leave it alone".

8/11/2009 6:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Boot Camp I got my wisdom teeth pulled. The dentist left in a 1/2 shard of tooth, and it started pushing out the side of my mouth. I went to the dentist to say that chunk of tooth was growing out the side of my mouth. He screamed at me that I was a know-nothing E-1 and that it was post-op irritation. Flash 2 weeks forward and I am in A-school, and the tooth shard started to poke out. I had the other set pulled by a doc in orlando that didn't give me enough novacane. So on the break pad I borrowed a buddy's dig-it tool and pulled the chunk out my self. The owned of the dig-it tool nearly hurled.

8/11/2009 2:42 PM

Anonymous DDS Nuke said...

I'm a nuke submariner about to become a Navy Dentist...lovin' this so keep it comin'!

8/13/2009 10:27 AM

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8/16/2009 11:09 PM

Anonymous PapiWideGlide said...

I've still got all mine! The dentist who participated in my exit physical wanted to yank them two or 3 days before I got out. I told him to pack sand. I still catch flak from my dentist every time I go in for a cleaning, wondering if I went and had them pulled since the last time I saw him.

8/19/2009 5:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never had a tooth pulled while in service, or even the suggestion of it being done. Once I left boot at Lakes, the next and last time I saw a dentist was three years later while we were in overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (1973). They sent me three times to the clinic where each time my teeth were cleaned, and I was told that I would get a filling in one the next time. Since this was done during a two week period, my gums were getting pretty worn out. After the third cleaning they remarked about my gums bleeding, and I told them their's would two if they had as many cleanings as I did. They promised that the next time I would definitely get a filling. Never went back. But I did go on sea trials.

9/06/2009 5:57 PM

Blogger Jon said...

I had three pulled in boot during work week in '94. Still have the last one, and it has actually started to poke through now... it apparently is taking it's time in coming through.

When the three came out, they just gave me locals. I think I dumped the drugs after the first night, and was back to work within 36 hours.

12/10/2009 11:22 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

I'm not a sailor but I have experienced having my wisdom teeth removed by a well-known dentist in Hixson. I didn't know it was compulsory for sailors to have their wisdom teeth removed and I wonder how it is a preventive measure. Nevertheless, I'll definitely ask these question on my next visit to the dentist. Hixson, on the other hand have many shopping centers that my family loves to go to.

9/09/2010 2:35 AM


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