The process by which a dentist fabricates a gold crown is actually quite a fascinating one. Whether he sends the case off to a lab to be crafted, or, conceivably for the last time, performs all the laboratory duties himself, there is a lot of (for lack of a better term) really cool sounding stuff happening from start to finish. It consists of reversibly blocking conductance of sodium channels in human neurons, removing the hardest substance in the body, initiating an addition reaction during which a cross-linked polymer is formed, hand-waxing a tooth sculpture, melting gold into a liquid with a blowtorch, and fine-tuning the occlusion to appease sensory fibers in the teeth and the musculature of the jaws. At some points in there, high-frequency radio waves (or, cooler still, laser beams) may be used to resect gingival tissues. And the end result? A beautiful, functional restoration that is almost guaranteed to increase in value given the current economic climate. Keep that in mind the next time you’re in a dentist’s chair.