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I thermalled my teeth getting drilled!

I had my teeth drilled this morning and the nice dentist let me point my Seek Thermal camera at the inside of my mouth while she was working. (It snaps on the bottom of an iPhone, and conveniently you can turn it around so it's pointing at you selfie-style.)

I was curious to know if the drill and/or teeth would heat up, and of course they do, rather nicely. You can see how the whole area around where she is working is colder than the rest of my mouth: They are spraying water the whole time, in part to clear debris, but also to cool the tool and tooth. (According to my patient and accommodating dentist, it's bad to let the tooth get too hot as this can damage the nerve, and dental technique has improved over the years to reduce this problem.)

Without further ado, here is my tooth getting drilled, shown in infrared! For reference, the body of the drill is on the right with the spinning bit pointing towards the left. You're looking for the bright flashes and trails of hot yellow embedded in a field of cool blue. Those flashes are the frictional heat generated by the high speed drill removing bits of my tooth.

It looks to me like there are some streaks going towards the left that may be hot debris, ground-up tooth, being flung out by the drill.

This next one shows nicely how the drill itself gets hot at the same time that it's heating up the tooth. Notice the thin, bright line going from the tooth to the tool and lasting for a fraction of a second after the drilling stops. That's the drill.

Oh, and if you're one of those people who complain about vertical video, *you* try taking video of yourself while two people are in your mouth with power tools. I had enough trouble finding an angle where I could see anything without blocking the view of the person who could at any moment slip and drill out my tonsils.

Theodore Gray1 Comment