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Great job describing root canals. For most patients it is a boring procedure. Many fall asleep while having one. People don't need to fear them.

I think that your link to PZ's post is incorrect. It should be:

You seem to have:

janet vs. jamet

People should crash PZ!


Unique spectral fingerprint my ass. Raman spectrometry works by illumination with monochromatic light (lasers are most common, but not required), and then looking at the down shift caused by the absorption and re-emission after a single phonon excitation. I thought you blogged about phonons once, but your search engine believes otherwise. Anyway, a phonon is the quantized vibrational energy of a chemical bond. So a Raman spectrum is not a fingerprint- it is a record of the vibrational energy of all the bonds in the target material.

Also, drinking battery acid (H2SO4) would turn your teeth into superphosphate fertilizer, so I'd avoid it unless you want to stimulate plant growth in your mouth.

Call when the pain becomes localized or unbearable...yeah that happened to me late one evening. I'd take a night of childbearing labor over a night of excruciating dental pain! And aren't you glad to live in a century when the treatment is better than the problem!

OK, I will try to blog the colonoscopy. Some people are telling me they dope you thoroughly for it, though -- I'll ask for the lightest anesthesia that would be reasonable.

It's not next week, but on the 21st. If nothing else, I'll record it on my flip cam so there'll be something on youtube.

I had a root canal some years ago, too. It was a strange experience; I found the pain exquisite. It was so tightly localized and intense that I didn't find it generally distressing. I wanted it to stop, but at the same time it was a kind of non-threatening sensation.

Lab lemming, the technique is Raman spectroscopy, not spectrometry (although that shouldn't change the basics), and the description comes straight from the university Web page, for what it's worth. Maybe you should take it up with them. :)

I wouldn't call my pain "exquisite," and I certainly found it distressing, especially when sharp shooting jabs of pain started affecting my ears and giving me a headache. But I've definitely experienced something like what PZ describes when it comes to pain -- there's a weird kind of pleasurable sensation that goes along with it -- at least until it becomes quite severe.

There's also a certain mind over matter aspect to pain that remains mysterious. EG, the Spousal Unit took me to see THE DARK KNIGHT, which succeeded admirably in taking my mind off the pain -- barely felt a twinge in the movie theater. It started up again on the short walk home. I TRIED to recapture the magic with other diversions, to no avail. Clearly, I'm not good at fostering mind over matter at will. :)

As the proud survivor of two root canals, the experience couldn’t have been more different. The first was a molar which is a bit tricky because they can have three or four roots and they aren’t always cooperative as they can make some wild twists and turns. The endodontist was old school to say the least. When I first sat down in the chair I noticed, of all things, what looked like a Bunsen burner. Now this guy has been doing root canals for over forty years so no fancy plastics, epoxies other such goops to fill the void. He used a small stick of some stuff that was heated by the Bunsen flame and then filled the tooth with it. God knows what it was but I am certain it has stood the test of time.

The other thing that I found interesting was the “art” of injections. I was really surprised because I anticipated that half of my face would be numb from the serious volume of lidocaine. As I wait there for my flesh to fall off my face he was ready to start the drilling. Panic was setting in and I asked him to explain his obvious confidence since I was no where close, or so I thought. He explained that if an injection is given correctly then only the nerves should be numb. He said that the nerves lie between the jaw bone and some membrane and the trick is to get the needle between them. If the anesthetic leaks out of the membrane then the rest of your face goes with it. They essentially have to “feel” that the needle is in the right place, kinda like Luke using the force. Suffice to say the experience was painless and I was quite happy that I didn’t chew my cheek or puncture my tongue. In the end, all I can say is floss daily!

I found the abstract:
It looks like they might actually be detecting the decrease in crystallinity (that probably isn't a word either) caused by the bugs as they dissolve the tooth, which is way cooler to spotting them directly.

But I guess we'd have to see the talk to know for sure.

I had a root canal done a few months ago. The worst pain struck me after the anaesthesia from the initial operation wore off. At the time, I described it in the following manner:

"Waves of pain ratcheting up through the fading numbness of ebbing anaesthesia, pain strong enough to trigger my synaesthetic response, becoming a camera flare of magnesium light radiating out of my jawbone. Suddenly, it occurs to me that the odd array of mechanical noises I'd heard emanating from inside my mouth whilst I reclined in the endodontist's chair really did denote the removal of matter from my head."

But then came the Vicodin to "manage" the symptoms, and all was well.

See, now that's strange.... I had absolutely zero pain, comparatively speaking, once the procedure was done and the anesthesia wore off. But the pain right before I had it done was EXACTLY as Blake describes, i.e., strong enough to trigger the synaesthetic response. I'm now very interested in the science of pain: not just how the nervous system works, which is fairly well understood, but how all that interacts with our brains/perception....

gutta percha was the Old golf ball insides.
now you know why the movie Marathon Man
reached iconic status.
"is it Safe?"

Pain is a message from the body saying "FIX ME!"

Except a root canal or extraction
do not FIX a tooth
they just deal with the pain.

But hey what are a few root canals
or lost teeth in the great scheme of things.

Jennifer, I'm glad the pain is gone!

lol John of Sparta
Do you think Jennifer knows where the diamonds are

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.