Tooth docs: Flouride gel for $45 a gyp?

Hygenist convinced me to take a four minute wash, in-office, with flouride gel, for $45. Promises upon the blood of Abraham that it would be worth it. Made me bite down on the trays for minutes, and no food or drink for an hour afterwards.

Was I gypped or was this worth it?

Can you ask your question again without the ethic slur?

Did you mean ‘ethnic’?


This costs $15 at my dentist. Of course, that was last fall. Inflation, you know.

A similar question has come up recently on this board, about re-mineralizing your teeth. Yes, there is some purpose to exposing the enamel to mineral solutions, especially fluoride, it makes the chemical your enamel is made of more acid resistant. Some people on that thread point out that various mineral solutions will help repair slight damage, sort of reversing a pre-pre-cavity, though it won’t fill in a hole that needs a drilling and a filling.

As for the cost of your hygienist’s procedures, that’s a pretty loaded question. Costs vary, across the world, in different parts of the US, from town to town, and from office to office. If someone else paid $35 for the same procedure, are you going to rip your 10 bucks out of your hygienist’s hide if necessary?

I am not a tooth doc, but here’s my understanding of it.

Fluoride has been known for a long time to prevent and in some cases reverse tooth decay. It won’t work miracles and it won’t fill in big gaping holes, but it can prevent damage and fill in small holes and cracks.

I’m a little fuzzy on the exact process by which this happens, but it involves the fluoride acting as a catalyst to remineralize the enamel in your teeth (or something like that). This isn’t exactly rocket science, and the fact that this happens is the reason fluoride has been added to toothpaste and drinking water for many years now.

The difference between what’s in your toothpaste and what the hygenist gave you is a matter of concentration. Dentists and hygenists can give you fluoride treatments in much greater concentrations than the fluoride you get in toothpaste and drinking water. That’s why you had to pay 45 bucks for it. Poking around on google it seems like the going rate for this sort of thing is anywhere between $25 and $50, depending on where you live. So $45 is maybe a bit on the high side, but it’s in the right ballpark of what you should expect to pay for it. It’s certainly not an unreasonable fee.

The question is though, is it worth it? Well, a lot depends on your teeth. I personally don’t take great care of my teeth, but I haven’t had a cavity in over 25 years and my enamel is just fine. Since I don’t have a problem with tooth decay of any sort, a fluoride treatment would be trying to restore enamel that I’m not losing. So for me it would be pointless. We’d have to know the condition of your teeth and how prone you are to losing enamel and getting cavities to know if the treatment was of any benefit to you.

By the way, in case you didn’t figure it out from the first few replies, “gyp” and “gypped” are slurs against gypsies. If you got “gypped” it means you got treated like a gypsy would treat you, with the underlying assumption being that gypsies are all just thieves and swindlers. It’s rather insulting to real gypsies.

I’ve met a lot of folks who use the word and don’t realize what it means.

So apologize to Stevie Nicks right now, mister!

A few years ago I looked over the itemized bill for a dental visit and saw that I had paid $20 for a fluoride rinse – about an ounce of ‘rinse & spit’ in a little plastic cup. Since then, I tell them I’ll pass on the $20 mouthwash and suggest that they keep that $2500 gallon jug in the safe instead of on the counter … my dentist just grins and tells me to eat more candy.

Says who? Definitions of words change with the times. While Gypsies may take offense (although I always understood they preferred to be called Romany) it doesn’t mean offense was intended by the person using it.

ETA: And I will further submit that the stereotype the Romany have been given is not necessarily undeserved.

If I thought the OP had intentionally used the word in an offensive manner I wouldn’t have bothered to explain it.

Most folks around here realize that if you say something like “jew” someone or “nigger rig” something or you give a car a “mexican tune-up” that it is offensive. However, a lot of folks use terms like “jerry rig” or “gypped” and don’t necessarily realize that they are insulting. Pointing this out to folks so that they aren’t unintentionally insulting isn’t a bad thing to do, IMHO. I don’t know why you are having a problem with it. It’s just a bit of fighting ignorance (and it really is taking longer than we thought).

“Jury rig” and/or “jerry-built” are not particularly insulting in origin.

Please explain “jerry rig”. I had no clue it has a base in an ethnic slur. Thanks!

I don’t have a problem with it, although it’s evident you are having a hard time looking past your knee-jerk reaction to the word.

Definitions of words change. We have submissions that “gyp” is an ethnic slur and is patently derogatory (apparently on the levels of the universally-accepted N-word that is not even universally accepted), and yet it finds itself in multitudes of dictionaries, being defined as OP used the term without any reference to it being considered offense. I would tend to rely on a number of dictionaries to offer the current context of the word than the opinions of a couple of posters on an anonymous internet message board.

In any event, this is not GD, I am not sure what there is to debate here, factually speaking the term “to gyp” is not universally offensive and it’s not because of ignorance, it’s because the language changes.

I am sorry you feel the way you do about it, but you are not fighting ignorance, you are furthering it.

“Jerry rig” means to build it like a “Jerry”, aka a German. This dates from WWII when it was common to refer to the Germans as “Jerries”.

According to hogarth’s link the term actually pre-dates that. However, in WWII, a lot of British soldiers would use the term meaning it as an insult to Germans, so the term was at least popularized for years as an insult. The term may not have originally been used as an insult, but a lot of folks even today think it is,

Yes, I find that folks who read racial slurs into innocent terms are usually not niggardly with their criticism.

What’s interesting is that the more common term “jury rigged” had been around for more than 150 years before WW2.

Merriam-Webster dates the term “jerry rig” to 1959 and makes no mention of it being derogatory. While it might have been derogatory once upon a time, it is not seen as such now. Much like another term we’ve been actively discussing. :rolleyes:

In your opinion, it’s factual that it’s not a slur.

Um, no. You’re the one furthering ignorance by your alleged factual position.


But how are Dopers supposed to get their daily dose of recreational outrage?