The El Niño crown (or how I accepted the truth and learned to relax)

In recent times, it has been fashionable, if not politically correct, to worry about the climate and the state of the world now that man is destroying the earth. Before man, we are told that asteroids, glaciers and continental drift destroyed the earth. A hundred years ago, we worried about nitrogen loss destroying the earth. Ten years ago, it was acid rain and nuclear winter. Now, it is global warming and the loss of the ever-present ozone layer.

E. J. Neiburger, DDS

In recent times, it has been fashionable, if not politically correct, to worry about the climate and the state of the world now that man is destroying the earth. Before man, we are told that asteroids, glaciers and continental drift destroyed the earth. A hundred years ago, we worried about nitrogen loss destroying the earth. Ten years ago, it was acid rain and nuclear winter. Now, it is global warming and the loss of the ever-present ozone layer.

Lost in the controversy, politics and scientific-grant applications is the fact that the earth has been through more than anything man could do and more or less survived. Also overlooked is the fact that governments believe that a one-degree increase in global temperature is predicted for the next century ... yet weather computers still cannot predict what the temperature will be one week from now!

The atmospheric HFCs that are rumored to destroy the ozone have been reduced 50 percent [except in dental offices, where autoclaving handpieces requires more spray lubricants]. In spite of this, the ozone hole is increasing in size, then shrinking, then increasing all on its own.

One of the most serious global problems that has reached new levels of popularity is El Niño. It is not a little Latino boy, but a warming pattern in the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean, which causes changes in the weather, anchovy population and other dire phenomena. Unlike the giant asteroid, which hit the earth 65 million years ago and, it is speculated, killed all the dinosaurs and ammonites (but spared the alligators, birds, mammals, toads and frogs), El Niño is very serious. Many in the PC crowd cite El Niño for the long hot summers, dry cold winters, spring floods, cold summers, scarce rain and shrinking toad populations!

Many nefarious calamities are being blamed on El Niño and, with increased repetition in the media, have convinced the public that these folk tales are hard, scientific fact. Millions now believe that if your basement floods or snow blocks your driveway, it`s because of El Niño. If your ADA dues increase again or OSHA visits you or your kids come home after curfew, it`s because of - what else - El Niño.

In previous years, when I visited my physician, he would attribute my aches and pains, bad back and creaking to "old age." Now, it`s El Niño. Everyone knows about El Niño and understands its mysterious doings. And so we are faced with a wonderful opportunity: The El Niño crown!

If the crown you made and charged the patient $600 for falls out in a wad of Halloween candy, it`s not your fault. It`s El Niño`s fault. If the crown doesn`t fit upon delivery ... it`s El Niño`s fault. Our lab man can do no wrong! Impressions will never distort. We are perfect dentists. If anything goes wrong, tell the patient that it is El Niño and we can`t help that. Our patients surely will understand. If El Niño can change the weather in Japan, kill the fishing in San Diego Bay and cause floods in Africa, it certainly can affect one`s crowns.

Think of the possibilities. No longer do we have to tell the patient, "Joe, you are getting old; that`s why your exposed, plaque-coated roots are sensitive." Now you tell the patient that El Niño is the culprit. If someone gets dry socket, it`s not from smoking and spitting ... it`s from El Niño.

There are El Niño orthodontic relapses and El Niño breaks in partial-denture clasps. El Niño loosens the suction in upper-full dentures. El Niño explains it all! It has miraculously absolved us and our patients of any responsibility. Everyone accepts it!

Patients will nod their heads in understanding and resignation when the El Niño crown appears two shades lighter than the adjoining teeth. El Niño causes 10-day-old amalgams to fracture and new composites to leak. El Niño pops veneers like microwave oven pops popcorn. It is the perfect out! And who is to say that it is not? Think of the generations of scientists who can research this phenomenon. Think of the reduction in your life`s stresses. Think of the omnipresent power of El Niño.

So, when you get to the office and things don`t go too smoothly ... think of the El Niño crown and relax!

E. J. Neiburger, DDS, practices dentistry in Waukegan, IL. He is the publisher of Dental Computer Newletter and has written numerous books and articles and lectured on computer technology.

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