Dental procedures are often mystifying medical experiences. Patients can’t see what dentists are doing inside their mouths, and, often, they can’t feel what’s going on, either. In Pick UR Smile: Common Sense Dentistry, Teresa Kay aims to demystify some of what goes on in the dentist’s chair while also providing an overview of a wide variety of dental procedures and problems, from different levels of cleaning to dentures, gum grafting, and dry sockets. Along the way, she gives oral hygiene tips that will help prevent the need for costly dental procedures in the future.
The most helpful parts of the book are the sections that note various habits that will make expensive dental visits more or less likely. Readers are presented with arguments against drinking soda, smoking, and eating ice cubes, and they find out just how bad junk food and sugary gum are for their teeth.
The text of this slim book would have benefited from a thorough checkup and polish. Material is repeated unnecessarily—the same instructions for how to floss appear in the book at least four times—and many passages read like notes that should have been used as the basis for a deeper, better organized, and more thoughtfully edited book. Even the book’s title would have benefited from the guidance of an editor.
Another significant problem is the failure of the author to note her own credentials. Although she states that she has more than ten years of experience in the dental profession, readers are left wondering if Kay is a dentist, dental hygienist, or some other kind of dental professional.
Still, the book may be helpful to people who want to know about the basics of a particular procedure or how best to care for a child’s teeth. Readers who are generally curious about dental issues—how braces work, proper procedures for brushing and flossing, what to do about sinus trouble, general tips on tooth care, and how to minimize dental pain—will find brief explanations here. Readers seeking in-depth information about particular dental diseases or procedures should consult additional sources. If readers can get past the misused words, incomplete sentences, and repetitive content, Pick UR Smile: Common Sense Dentistry will work as a general guide.