Mr. Jim Tate

It was mid April 1988. I was standing in the middle of the computer room holding the entire right side of my face in my hand, grimacing.

"I have some Tylenol if you want some," the lead operator said.

I've taken four already, but they haven't done any good," I replied.

"You need to see a dentist," he suggested.

"I've seen three in the last year and none of them can find anything wrong. It doesn't hurt but about one day a month, but when it hurts it hurts! I wish I knew someone who did a good job of making dentures; I'd have a set in my mouth in a heartbeat."

"My wfe had a set put in about six months ago and hasn't had one minute's trouble with them." Before he had finished speaking, I had my pen in my hand and was reaching for a piece of paper. "How do I get in touch with this person?" I asked. "I'll give you his card, his name is Trizzino," he said.

I filled out the customary form and was just settling down with a magazine when a lady opened a door and called my name. After I was seated in a dentist's chair, a man walked in. He gave me a big smile, stuck out his hand and said,"Hi, I'm Ed Trizzino. I see you want to have a set of dentures made. What are your symptoms?"

I went through the entire litany: wisdom teeth that had to be broken to get them out, periodontal surgery, root canals, fillings that came out, crowns that didn't fit and now this problem which nobody could even diagnose.

"Let me have a look," he said, and started poking around on my teth. In less than five minutes, he had found the elusive problem: a hairline crack in one of my upper teeth.

He had a plan. First, we would have to extract the four teeth that could not be saved. He would then do a "deep cleaning" on the remaining 24 and go from there.

A lengthy discussion ensued with me extolling the virtues of dentures (can make them pearly white, don't have to have root canals, don't get "set on edge" by ice cream and/or coffee, etc.) and he pointing out all the disadvantages of dentures and extolling the virtues of "real" teeth.

I had heard all of that before and was buying none of it; all I wanted was something in my mouth that would chew food and not hurt. I played my trump card:"All that's going to happen is that I am going to spend a lot of money trying to salvage these teeth and finally spend a lot more for a set of dentures that I will have to have anyway."

Without the slightest pause he replied, If that happens I'll give you full credit for everything you've spent up to that point on the dentures." A long silence followed (maybe 30 seconds) while I considered what I stood to gain against what I stood to lose. I accepted his offer.

It is now (as I write this) December, 2005. I still have my 24 teeth. I've had only one toothache, and Dr. Trizzino fixed that one quickly. I eat ice cream (sugar free, of course) and drink hot beverages in complete comfort. My teeth are not even and have a lot of exposed roots, thus presenting a challenge to keep clean, but using the techniques Dr. Trizzino has shown me, my teeth feel and look good.

At my last checkup, Dr. Trizzino informed me that my teeth should be good for another 30 years. Since I am now 69 I suppose that means he is planning to give me my free dentures for my 100th birthday.

-- Jim Tate


Nancy Dillard