The Well-Prepared Adventurer: Ousland Plays Dentist on Past Expedition

If you think you hate the dentist now, wait until you’ve had a tooth-related emergency in the middle of an expedition. That’s what happened to explorer Vincent Colliard. Luckily Borge Ousland — polar legend and dilettante dentist — was on hand to help him out. Apparently, Ousland carries temporary filling material on every expedition and has repaired “at least” four teeth in his adventuring career.

Just like any other organic matter, your teeth expand and contract in response to temperature change. Extreme cold can cause contractions severe enough to break a tooth or make a filling fall out.

Ousland dug the video of the impromptu procedure out of his archives and recently shared it on his Instagram page.


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A post shared by Børge Ousland (@borgeousland)


Although the video doesn’t specify when or where the procedure occurred, it likely happened on one of the world’s 20 largest ice caps. Ousland and Colliard are in the middle of a long-term project to cross all 20. In Sept. 2022, they completed their tenth — the Devon Island ice cap.

Wherever it happened, it seems Ousland did a competent job.

“Ahaha I still have the repair on,” Colliard wrote in the replies to the video.

Who knows what Colliard’s actual dentist thinks of that. Unless Ousland is Colliard’s actual dentist. We wouldn’t put it past the Norwegian explorer, whose exploits include the first solo crossing of Antarctica, among other things.

Ousland’s proclivity for dental work at the Poles puts him in good company. ExplorersWeb only found one other notable amateur dentist practicing in such extreme environments. We’ve reproduced a photo from this legendary adventurer’s most famous expedition below.

Hermie the Elf

One of the North Pole’s most legendary dentists. Photo: Screenshot

Andrew Marshall

Andrew Marshall is an award-winning painter, photographer, and freelance writer. Andrew’s essays, illustrations, photographs, and poems can be found scattered across the web and in a variety of extremely low-paying literary journals.
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