Orthodontist Gives Sea Turtle Braces – Probably Overbills Him
August 1 | 1 Comment
It’s not the people behind the profession I have a problem with, in fact many give treats, but the invasive procedures required to clean my teeth.
If I want you to pick out that week old piece of barbeque chicken embedded between my molars, I’ll open my jowls and invite you in. If not, stay clear.
It’s as simple as knowing your boundaries.
Dentists? They lack this basic social norm and they’ll go to any lengths to get what they want. In fact, the last time I had my teeth cleaned they put me under. And no, it wasn’t the laughing gas variety, for surely I was not laughing. Shockingly, when I awoke my fur suit was pulled down to my knees! I’ll be scarred for life.
I may have to rethink this. Maybe it really is the people behind the profession that are the problem.
Dogs aren’t the only ones susceptible to dental mal-practice. Check out this sea turtle that’s going to spend the rest of his life paying off the braces an orthodontist just put on.
JUNO BEACH — Orthodontist Alberto Vargas calls Andre, a 171-pound sea turtle that he fitted with a set of braces, a very strange patient.
“I’m not aware of this ever being done on a turtle before. We changed the shape of his shell, just like we change the shape of a patient’s jaw,” said Vargas, who performed the work for free.
Named after the gentle giant wrestler, Andre was found in June 2010 stranded on a sandbar about a mile and a half south of the Juno Beach Pier. Swimmers floated the endangered green sea turtle to shore on a boogie board. They called the Loggerhead Marinelife Center for help.
Boat propellers had gouged two holes in the green turtle’s shell. The bigger gash, about two inches deep and packed with about three pounds of sand, was the size of an adult forearm. The other was as big as a baseball.
Andre’s problems were just starting. He had a collapsed lung. Pneumonia. Exposed spinal cord. Severe infections.
Undaunted, turtle experts at the center gingerly cleaned the wound. They covered it with a black foam and clear plastic to promote healing. Andre’s shell was hooked up to a plastic tube that uses negative pressure to promote new skin growth and knock out infection supplied for free by San Antonio-based Kinetic Concepts Inc.
Using braces like bridges to either side of the wound, the orthodontist pushed and pulled Andre’s shell to promote growth. Each day, caregivers twisted a key that clicked to adjust the braces. He coaxed the shell to expand about one inch.
“We lessened the size of the hole,” said Vargas, whose office is in Abacoa.
And now after 13 months of treatment, Andre is ready to be released. His skin underneath the foam, once fully exposing organs, is now hard enough to survive in the depths of the Atlantic. Green turtles grow up to about 400 pounds and live 80 years.