December 25, 2013
What does a tooth go for nowadays? I remember getting a quarter for a baby incisor and maybe a dollar bill for a molar. That was a LONG time ago. With inflation over the years, does the tooth fairy dish out more moolah for a molar? Well, teeth are pretty expensive when it comes to repairing them, especially if they’re the permanent kind. I learned that lesson way back in Wilson Elementary School when I was patiently waiting my turn to get on the swing that was being used by Suzy Morreira. I wasn’t paying attention when she jumped off the swing and it came back and the chain link smacked my front tooth. I looked down and saw a small white piece of my tooth in the dirt. My tongue felt the rough edge of a broken front tooth and the cold air whooshing past the nerve endings sent a chill up my spine. The dentist cemented a white porcelain corner onto my front tooth and that lasted a few years before Darius Hao put me in a headlock and popped it out in 8th grade. More glue and I was back eating apples in no time. Finally, in college, I had the corner chip knocked out one last time while trying to start a cold outboard motor before a morning duck hunt on the Willamette River. Pulling on the starter cord time and again, the hard plastic duck call hanging on my neck lanyard swung up and whacked me on the tooth and sinking in the mud was my porcelain corner. Being an Oregon State University Beaver your sworn enemy is a University of Oregon Duck, now I hated them more than ever. A week later I was getting a crown put on the front tooth and saying goodbye to a porcelain corner. I’m sure I helped put that dentist’s kid through college, or paid his mortgage that month or helped send his staff to a Carribean retreat. Anyway, the bottom line is teeth are expensive to fix and we should do what we can to prevent such accidents. This applies to my family as well since I cover their dental insurance. One area that I can address is the food we eat and eliminating any hazards that might be detrimental to their teeth. Case in point…steel shot.
Ever since 1992, waterfowl hunters have been required to hunt with non-toxic shot. There are many different kinds of waterfowl ammunition that one can choose from however, none of them is very forgiving on your teeth. The best remedy for saving your teeth is to go through your meat slowly and carefully following any feather trails that may indicate a pellet has entered the meat and taken a feather along with it. Cutting meat into thin strips is another way to expose pellets trying to hide in a thick chunk of breast meat. Then there is the final precaution, take your time and eat slowly treating every bite as if it might be about to come down on a solid piece of steel. That’s easier said than done especially if you are eating some tasty gourmet waterfowl dish. Another way to rid of the shot pellets altogether is by using a metal detector. You could stuff your pants with meat and go through airport security and leave it up to TSA to find shot pellets for you or go out and buy a metal detector. I started off using one like that pictured below from Harbor Freight for about $39. It runs on one 9 volt battery. I spent a lot of time trying to increase the sensitivity of it by turning an adjustment screw and it still had a hard time finding a steel BB unless it practically touched it. Hmmmm…. not gonna work for BB’s imbedded in meat. So, I went back to the store and returned it for the next higher model ($45) like the ones you would use on the beach combing around in the sand. It was much more sensitive and found a steel BB within 3″ from the sensor. However, I also noted it didn’t detect alloys as well as it does steel. So, with this particular metal detector, if you’re game bird has something other than steel shot in it, be careful.