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1067 Major Dental Work

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1,067 – Major Dental Work.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1,067. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at ESLPod.com. Become a member of ESL Podcast. When you do, you can download the Learning Guide for this and all of our current episodes.

This episode is a dialogue between Sadie and Gordon about going to everyone’s favorite destination, everyone’s favorite place: the dentist’s office. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Sadie: Hi, I’m Sadie. You must be Gordon.

Gordon: Yes, I am. It’s nice to meet you. It’s a little strange to be set up, isn’t it?

Sadie: It was nice of Felina and Jaime to arrange this date.

Gordon: It was. Jaime told me that you’re a dentist. Is that right?

Sadie: Yes.

Gordon: That must be interesting work.

Sadie: Well, I think so. Just today, I did a root canal and removed a set of wisdom teeth. Oh, but you wouldn’t want to hear about that.

Gordon: Sure, I do. I want to get to know you better.

Sadie: In that case, since I live in a small town, I do basic dental work, but also act as a periodontist, oral surgeon, and orthodontist when the need arises.

Gordon: Wow, that’s a lot of dental knowledge to keep up on.

Sadie: I don’t mind. One day, it’s cavities and crowns, and the next, extractions, bridgework, dentures, implants, and inlays. I had a very interesting case the other day…

Gordon: Go on.

Sadie: It’s a little unpleasant, maybe not good dinner conversation.

Gordon: Maybe you’re right. It’s not always a good idea to talk shop over dinner.

Sadie: Felina didn’t mention what you did for a living.

Gordon: I’m a proctologist.

Sadie: Ah, I see your point.

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogue begins with Sadie saying to Gordon, “Hi, I’m Sadie. You must be Gordon.” Gordon says, “Yes, I am. It’s nice to meet you. It’s a little strange to be set up, isn’t it?” “To be set (set) up” is to have someone arrange for you to meet another person in whom you might be romantically interested. “To set two people up” is to arrange a situation where both of them can be together and go out, usually on a date. That seems to be what’s happening for Sadie and Gordon.

Sadie says, “It was nice of Felina and Jaime to arrange this date.” “To arrange” here means to plan and make happen this date. A “date” (date) here means a romantic appointment – a meeting of two people who are romantically interested in each other, or who might be. Gordon agrees with Sadie that it was nice of their friends to set up this date for the two of them. “Jaime told me that you’re a dentist,” Gordon says. “Is that right?” A “dentist” (dentist) is a doctor who works on your teeth in your mouth, of course.
Sadie says, “Yes,” meaning yes, I am a dentist.

Gordon says, “That must be interesting work.” Sadie says, “Well, I think so. Just today I did a root canal and removed a set of wisdom teeth.” A “root (root) canal (canal)” is a special kind of dental procedure where the dentist goes in and removes part of the root of a tooth and puts in usually some other sort of substance to protect it. A root canal can be very painful – or at least, if you need a root canal, the pain leading up to the root canal can be quite severe. Sometimes people say jokingly about an experience that was very painful, “It was like having a root canal.”

A “set of wisdom teeth” refers to teeth that are usually in the very back of your mouth. They are called “molars” (molars). I say they are usually in the back of your mouth. They’re always in the back of your mouth – I’m sure. These teeth often begin to grow and “come in,” we would say, after your other teeth have already developed, and sometimes it’s necessary to remove the wisdom teeth in order to have enough room in your mouth, unless you’re like me and you have a really big mouth. But for a lot of people, the dentist will remove wisdom teeth.

Anyway, Sadie and Gordon are on this date and Sadie starts talking about her work as a dentist, and then she says, “Oh, but you don’t want to hear about that.” Gordon says, “Sure, I do. I want to get to know you better.” Aww, isn’t that nice? Gordon knows how to say the right thing, right guys? Anyway, Sadie says, “In that case,” meaning well if that’s true, “since I live in a small town, I do basic dental work but also act as a periodontist, oral surgeon, and orthodontist when the need arises.”

Sadie says she lives in a small town, and if it is a small town, there may not be many dentists there – and that seems to be the case, because in addition to doing regular dental work, Sadie says she also acts “as a periodontist.” “To act (act) as” something or someone is to do a certain service or perform a certain service or, we might say, “fill a particular role.” If you act as someone’s advisor, you are giving them advice and suggestions. Well, Sadie says she sometimes acts as a “periodontist.”

What, you ask, is a “periodontist” (periodontist)? A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in improving the health of the bones and the structures that hold the teeth in place. So, your teeth, of course, obviously go into the part of your body called the “jaw,” which is on the bottom of your face. A periodontist would be a dentist who is very knowledgeable and specializes in taking care of the place where the teeth go into your mouth – your “gums” (gums) – and other parts of the structure of the jaw.

An “oral surgeon,” which is also one of the things that Sadie says she does, is a person who specializes in cutting open the mouth and the jaws in surgery. A “surgeon” (surgeon) is a general term for a doctor that takes a knife and usually cuts a hole in you in order to make you better – at least, we hope they make you better. Because Sadie lives in a small town, not only does she sometimes do work related to the work of a periodontist and an oral surgeon, but she also acts as an “orthodontist.”

An “orthodontist” (orthodontist) is a dentist who make sure that your teeth are straight, that they stand in a straight line – usually so that your teeth look better, although sometimes people need to have their teeth straightened because they’re so crooked it causes other problems. It’s not unusual for parents to take their teenagers to an orthodontist if their teeth are somehow not quite straight, and that just happens naturally. It’s not that the teenager has done anything wrong.

Gordon says, “Wow, that’s a lot of dental knowledge to keep up on.” The phrasal verb “to keep up on” something means to be informed about, to have the latest news about. We of course want our doctors and dentists to keep up on the latest research – the latest and most current information about what they do – so they give us the best possible treatments. Sadie says, “I don’t mind,” meaning I am not bothered by the fact that I have to keep up on all these different areas of dentistry.

She says, “One day its cavities and crowns, and the next extractions, bridgework, dentures, implants, and inlays.” There’s a lot of specialized vocabulary in that sentence. Let’s go back and very briefly explain what it all means. Let’s start with “cavities” (cavities). Cavities are small holes in your teeth that sometimes the dentist has to fill in order to make sure there aren’t further problems in the future with your teeth.

A “crown” (crown) is normally something that a king or queen wears on top of his or her head. However, you could also put a crown on your tooth, which is basically something that covers your tooth. Many crowns are permanent, meaning once it’s on, it stays on. “Extractions” (extractions) refer to when a dentist has to remove some of your teeth from your mouth. The verb is “to extract,” which means to take something out of. Usually it’s a difficult process, but not always.

“Bridgework” is when a dentist creates artificial or, basically, false teeth that are then attached to your regular teeth. “Bridgework” refers to putting in the false teeth, the artificial teeth. “Dentures” (dentures) refer to the actual false teeth. “Bridgework” refers to the work the dentist does to attach the false teeth. The “dentures” are the actual false teeth themselves, and usually dentures are teeth that you put into and take out of your mouth.

An “implant” (implant) refers to something that goes inside of your body, in this case we’re talking about a tooth. Although women ¬– some women, especially here in Los Angeles – have other kinds of things they put in the upper part of their body which are called “implants.” But we’re not here to talk about that. Finally, “inlay” (inlay) is a substance that is put on the surface or the outer part of the tooth in order to fill a hole. That’s one way that a dentist might prevent further damage to your teeth if you have a holes in them.

Gordon is interested in what Sadie has to say. Sadie says, however, that all of this talk of dental work is a little unpleasant – “maybe not good dinner conversation,” she says. Gordon says, “Maybe you’re right,” – maybe that’s true. “It’s not always a good idea to talk shop over dinner.” “To talk shop” (shop) has nothing to do with going out and buying things in a store. Instead, it refers to talking about your work when you’re not at work – when you are at home or with friends or family. “To talk shop” is to talk about work outside of the normal times when you are working.

That’s what Gordon is saying here – that it’s probably not a good idea for them, on this romantic date, to talk about their work. Sadie says, “Felina didn’t mention what you did for a living.” In other words, Sadie wants to know what Gordon does, what his job is. Gordon says, “I’m a proctologist.” A “proctologist” (proctologist) is a doctor who specializes in problems of the rectum and “anus” (anus).

Now, this is one I’m going to let you look up on your own on the Internet, because I know that Dr. Tse put this word in the script so that I would have to explain it, but this is one of those rare cases where I would like you to go onto your computer and put in “proctologist” (proctologist) and “anus” (anus) and you will get that definition all by yourself. I know you can do it, so just go ahead and do it, and then I’ve done my job and you’ve done yours.

But if you really don’t want to do that, a proctologist has to do with things related to your butt – to that part of the body that you sit on. See? Now you know why I don’t want to talk about it.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Sadie: Hi, I’m Sadie. You must be Gordon.

Gordon: Yes, I am. It’s nice to meet you. It’s a little strange to be set up, isn’t it?

Sadie: It was nice of Felina and Jaime to arrange this date.

Gordon: It was. Jaime told me that you’re a dentist. Is that right?

Sadie: Yes.

Gordon: That must be interesting work.

Sadie: Well, I think so. Just today, I did a root canal and removed a set of wisdom teeth. Oh, but you wouldn’t want to hear about that.

Gordon: Sure, I do. I want to get to know you better.

Sadie: In that case, since I live in a small town, I do basic dental work, but also act as a periodontist, oral surgeon, and orthodontist when the need arises.

Gordon: Wow, that’s a lot of dental knowledge to keep up on.

Sadie: I don’t mind. One day, it’s cavities and crowns, and the next, extractions, bridgework, dentures, implants, and inlays. I had a very interesting case the other day…

Gordon: Go on.

Sadie: It’s a little unpleasant, maybe not good dinner conversation.

Gordon: Maybe you’re right. It’s not always a good idea to talk shop over dinner.

Sadie: Felina didn’t mention what you did for a living.

Gordon: I’m a proctologist.

Sadie: Ah, I see your point.

[end of dialogue]

Listening to today’s script was nothing like having a root canal. It was just the opposite – at least, I hope it was.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2014 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to be set up – to have a friend or family member make arrangements for one to go on a date with someone whom one has not met before

* A: How did you two meet?

B: We were set up by a mutual friend.

dentist – a doctor who specializes in the health of the teeth and gums (the skin and material around the base (bottom) of the teeth)

* The dentist recommends brushing and flossing at least twice a day.

root canal – a dental procedure that removes the infected contents of the root of a tooth and fills it with a protective substance

* Mansour didn’t want to have a root canal, but the only other option was to have the tooth removed.

wisdom teeth – the four molars that are the furthest back in the mouth, which usually appear when one is around 20 years old, and which are often removed because there is not enough space for them

* Do you still have your wisdom teeth, or were they removed when you were in college?

to act as – to fill a particular role or provide a particular service

* When Hannah travels, Dave has to act as both father and mother to their children.

periodontist – a dentist who specializes in maintaining and improving the health of tissues, bones, and structures that hold the teeth in place

* The periodontist explained that if the tooth decay continues, it might affect the jaw bones.

oral surgeon – a doctor who specializes in surgeries (cutting open) of the mouth and jaws

* The oral surgeon is removing some of Becca’s teeth, because she has an unusually small mouth.

orthodontist – a dentist who specializes in making a patient’s teeth stand in a straight line, usually to improve the patient’s appearance

* The orthodontist said that Samuel might need to wear braces for four years.

to keep up on – to remain informed about the most recent developments in something; to stay informed

* How did you keep up on the local news while you were living overseas?

cavity – a small hole in a tooth that has been damaged by bacteria

* As a young child, Amanda was taught that she would get cavities if she didn’t brush her teeth after every meal.

crown – an object that completely and permanently covers the entire surface of a tooth, used to prevent further decay and/or to improve appearance

* Wow, that crown looks just like a natural tooth!

extraction – the removal of a tooth; pulling out a tooth

* The dentist said that the patient’s teeth were beyond saving, so she recommended extraction.

bridgework – the creation and permanent attachment of one or more artificial (false) teeth to a patient’s natural teeth

* Shannon lost several teeth in the accident, so she needed to see a dentist for some bridgework.

dentures – a set of artificial (false) teeth that can be removed as a single piece for cleaning and sleeping

* Once Grandma got dentures, she wasn’t able to eat whole apples or carrots anymore.

implant – something that is put inside one’s body, especially when talking about a tooth

* In the future, do you think there will be cell phone implants for the ear?

inlay – a substance that is permanently placed on the surface of a tooth to fill a hole and prevent further decay

* The dentist said that Shelley’s teeth have an uneven surface, and recommended inlays to avoid problems in the future.

to talk shop – to discuss one’s work outside of the office

* When Lester and his co-workers go out for drinks after work, they have only one rule: don’t talk shop!

proctologist – a doctor who specializes in diseases of the rectum (lower intestines) and anus (where feces (poop) leave the body)

* A proctologist can conduct colorectal cancer screenings.

Comprehension Questions
1. What does Gordon mean when he says, “It’s a little strange to be set up”?
a) He thinks it’s strange to see Sadie outside of the workplace.
b) He doesn’t like the restaurant where they are meeting.
c) He feels a little uncomfortable dating her upon someone else’s recommendation.

2. Which of these involves an extraction?
a) Getting a cavity
b) Removing a set of wisdom teeth
c) Keeping up on dental knowledge

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to be set up

The phrase “to be set up,” in this podcast, means to have a friend or family member make arrangements for one to go on a date with someone whom one has not met before: “If you aren’t dating anyone, I’d love to set you up with my cousin.” The phrase “to set a record” means to do something faster or better than anyone else: “Alexandra dreams of setting a record for the 5,000-meter run.” The phrase “to set (someone) straight” means to correct someone, or to tell someone the truth about something: “Somebody needs to set Mitch straight about the problems with not voting.” Finally, the phrase “to set (one’s) heart on (something)” means to want something very badly and be determined to have or do it: “Gina has her heart set on buying that house, even though it costs more than they can afford.”

to act as

In this podcast, the phrase “to act as” means to fill a particular role or provide a particular service: “Jenna will be acting as the CEO while I’m out of the office next week.” The phrase “to act (something) out” means to show how something happened: “The investigators are asking witnesses to act out what they saw on the night of the murder.” The phrase “to act up” means to behave badly: “I would be so embarrassed if my children acted up like that during a wedding!” Finally, the phrase “to act up” also means for something to stop working correctly: “The car radio is acting up again.” Or, “Brittney’s wrist often acts up if she plays tennis for more than a few minutes at a time.”

Culture Note
The Anatomy of Teeth

People who study human “anatomy” (science related to the structures of a body or organism) might learn the names and functions of individual teeth, but in fact each tooth has its own anatomy.

Working “from the outside in” (discussing the outer layers first and then the inner layers), the top part of the tooth is the “crown.” The crown is what people can see. If the crown is pointed, the tooth is called an “incisor” or a “canine.” The incisors are the four front teeth at the top and bottom of the mouth. The “canines” are the pointed teeth immediately next to the incisors. If the crown is more flat, the tooth is called a “premolar” or a “molar” and is primarily used, for “grinding” (making food smaller by rubbing it between two flat surfaces). A “premolar” is a tooth that is mostly flat, but has two pointed parts, used for tearing food. The molars have several “raised” (higher than the surroundings) areas, which are used for grinding food.

The outer layer of the tooth, including the crown, is called the “enamel.” It is a hard, white surface, but it can be damaged by bacteria if the teeth are not kept clean. “Dentin” is the layer underneath the enamel, and under that is the “pulp,” which is the source of pain when there is a cavity.

Part of the tooth is also found below the “gumline” (the place where the tooth meets the pink-colored skin). This is known as the “root” and it holds the tooth to the bone. The root “accounts for” (represents) about two-thirds of the tooth. In other words, we see only a small part of each tooth.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - b