So as I mentioned yesterday, I paid a visit to orthodontist Curtis Trammell this week.
When one of his assistants sat me down in the examination room, I noticed a plaster cast of somebody’s teeth sitting on a counter, which reminded me that I had intended, just for the heck of it, to bring in the cast that had been made on me when I was 11 years old.
Here’s what it looks like; I knew you were dying to see it:
The bottom teeth, which of course you can’t really see here, look pretty much the same now — crooked and crowded — as they did when this model was made before I had braces. If you want a visual for what we’re talking about, click here.
Anyway, at some point during my conversation with Dr. Trammell, I mentioned that I’d intended, but forgotten, to bring in my old plaster cast just so he could take a look at it.
He was amused that I still had it, and then he told me something I found surprising.
“We’re not allowed to give those out now,” he said.
“No. We’re required by law to keep them for seven years, and after that we’re required to destroy them.”
This all sounded somewhat ridiculous to me, so, being nosey, I probed for more information.
“We have to keep them in case a deceased person has to be identified by their dental records,” he said, noting that he had thousands of patient models stored in the space above the ceiling right above us.
“Has that ever happened?” I asked.
“What’s so significant about seven years? That sounds really arbitrary. And why would they then have to be destroyed?”
“I don’t know,” he said with something of a sigh. “That’s just the law.”
Anybody out there want to take a stab at explaining this law?
And while you’re at it, tell me how somebody’s pre-orthodontia model would be of much use in identifying a person anyway.