Friday, August 3, 2012

Vintage Dental Articulating Models... And, why!

When I saw this set of vintage dental articulating models
on a marble base in the catalog for the Carolina country
store auction sale being held this weekend at Mebane
Antique Auction Gallery, I immediately added it to
my list of must-have's! I realize that it may seem like
an odd want... But to me, this find makes perfect sense!
You see, I've been fascinated by dentistry for as long as I can remember. In fact,
I am able to recall, in incredibly vivid detail, my very first nightmare... And, it
involved teeth! I was five years old. The Captain was in Vietnam, which means
my little brother and I spent most nights being afraid of the dark and Kansas
thunder storms, which also meant we slept with my mom a lot! Anyway, while
poking around in her jewelry box one night, I came across the scariest thing I
had ever seen up to that point in my young life... It was a lower partial! It was
so creepy looking - this huge hunk of shiny metal, complete with a pointy hook,
two porcelain molars and what looked like part of my mom's jaw! Of course, I
didn't want my mom to know what I found so I quickly tucked it back in the box,
wishing I could un-see what I saw. But that didn't happen because that night, I
dreamt about my mom's partial. And it wasn't pleasant! Despite all of this, I was
never afraid of going to the dentist. I actually looked forward to it!  I would ask
too many questions and when it was time to pick a toy for being a good girl, I
secretly wished for an exam mirror so I could look at my teeth at home! After
getting braces at 13, I decided I would be a dentist. All throughout high school,
my best friend from 4th grade in Germany and I made plans to be roommates
where she lived in Omaha so that I could attend Creighton dental school...
When I was eighteen, I answered an ad in the paper for a dental assisting position
and actually got an interview. The dentist let me know that it was between me and
another girl I'd just graduated with. Then he asked me to spell fluoride and I got it
wrong. It's not flour-ide, Janet, he scolded. My classmate got the job. And I never
misspelled fluoride again. A year later, I was married and living just outside of
Arlington, VA when I answered another ad for dental assistant. Dr. Michael J.
Collins, DMD hired me on the spot and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I
learned so much working in his office. Dr. Collins was brilliant and besides being
patient and kind, he also treated us to lunch at the Washington Golf and Country
Club and took us to his Rotary Club, where we got to see movies before they hit
theaters. Every time I wear my Rolex I think of Dr. Collins and wince a little in
embarrassment for that naive girl he hired in 1985 who offered to swing by
Kmart for him after he said his Rolex needed a new band. Oh, yes... I did!
Working with Dr. Collins cemented my love for dentistry. He taught me that no
matter how old you are, your mouth is the only part of the body that can be made
to look like you're 16 again. He also taught me that dentistry is as much an art as
it is a science. Immediately upon moving back to Monterey in 1986, I enrolled in
the dental assisting program at Monterey Peninsula College. I did my 2nd year
internship at Stone Dental Clinic with an oral surgeon at Ft. Ord. All I did all day
long was assist with wisdom teeth extractions, mostly impacted, on young soldiers
just out of basic training. Although I didn't make a career of it, dentistry is still
something that interests me. Most people notice eyes. I notice teeth. I can usually
tell, within a few years, how old someone is by the condition of their teeth... Of
course, here in the south that's a bit trickier! Anywho... As you can tell from the
last two photos, I got my dental models at the auction today. But it did not come
without a little drama. You see, the auction going on in Mebane is a three day
affair that began yesterday while I was at work. So I called and spoke to John,
the owner of the gallery to ask where the dental models would fall in the catalog
of more than 4,000 lots to be sold. Luckily, John assured me they wouldn't come
up until 11AM on Saturday. But something told me we should head over there
today to check things out. And, once again, my intuition proved correct because
after a thorough search of the gallery, I couldn't find the models. What's worse,
when I finally asked, I was told they were sold late last night! I almost left in a
huff but then I saw John so I stopped him to tell him how disappointed I was to
find the models sold a full two days before they were scheduled. Turns out, John
was as surprised as I was and incredibly, he vowed to make it right if he could.
Now, this is a man in the middle of a three day auction sale... And yet, he took
time to figure out who bought the models and then told me that if he could buy
them back, he'd GIVE them to me. Of course, I wasn't there to take advantage of
anyone so I told him that if he could get them back, I'd gladly pay whatever his
buyer asked. Turned out, the models were purchased by a friend of John's that
owns a store. So aside from reselling them, he said the models meant nothing
to him so he immediately agreed to transfer them from his bidder number to
mine. Even better, this buyer was making a weekend of the sale so he hadn't
cashed out yet, which meant the models were still in the building! He had to
flip through five pages of items he bought last night, but finally, there it was...
Dental Models/Marble Base - $105. I paid $123, which included the buyer's
premium. After that, I took my patient husband out for dinner to celebrate!


  1. What a lovely story of your love of dentistry and your earlier positions. Love hearing about the Rolex watch band!
    Obviously these articulating models were meant to be in your home and I'm glad that John went that extra mile to ensure that they would.

  2. I loved your dental story very much. I'm so glad everything worked out so you could be the owner of the A. models. Funny story... while I was out of town at my daughter's house her 2 year old son was whinning and trying to get up on her lap while she was nursing the baby. All of a sudden he bit her arm very hard and was attached when she tried to move her arm out of the way. His teeth marks were planted deeply where he bit her. Thank goodness he didn't draw blood. Now for my horror story of the dentist. When I was a young cute shapely thing I had to go for some dental work and one time I was scheduled for an odd time of day for my appointment which I thought was strange but didn't question. Because I was having two molars worked on the dentist said I'd need some laughing gas. Too much was administered so it rendered me nearly motionless and while in that state he raped me. Afterward I notified the police and it was later discovered that he was doing this to several young, divorced, attractive women. The dentist ended up loosing his license and suffered other punishment. Dentists and doctors are not someone I want to see and if I have to go to them, someone goes with me and stays in the room with me. I was 12 when a doctor did something he wasn't supposed to do to a young girl. And so life goes on and we grow up and deal with it. And I am rambling on after getting in so late. I look forward to seeing what you end up next time you go to an auction.


Readers who comment ROCK!