Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I have an oddball phobia about damaging my teeth, or specifically knocking them out. I'm sure this is because I fell out of my high chair when I was a toddler and knocked out both front teeth. My mother popped them back into place and they survived to fall out naturally years later.

Anyway, this means that I notice missing teeth.

Recently, I've been working with a number of drillers with conspicuously missing teeth. Occasionally, it's because of tobacco use/bad oral hygiene (eew). But it's mostly older drillers who have clearly knocked out one (or two, or most of the front row) and never got them fixed. I've joked about drillers with missing teeth in the past, but it's a standard occupational hazard (along with missing fingers).

At various times, I've discussed my relatively low pay/impression that drillers and their helpers have an easier job than me. That's just me being cranky. In reality, drilling is a tough, dangerous job that exacts a heavy toll on the folks who spend their career on a drill rig. Almost every driller who has been running a rig for more than a few years has had some spectacular near misses if not injuries. Broken teeth, missing fingers, and exceptional scars are just a visible symptom for the many drillers are worn out long before official retirement age.

1 comment:

Edmund Falkner said...

True. Physical work like that has a pretty high risk of injury to the teeth and bones. It's tough to get the maintenance the body needs when your daily schedule involves tough, heavy work. Perhaps it's best to look into the safety precautions, and see what can be done to lessen the risk of injury to avoid missing teeth and fingers.