A long time ago, when dinosaurs were a recent memory and I was in grade school, I went over to a neighbor friend’s house, jumped off his loft, hit my chin on my knee, and knocked out my bottom (permanent) tooth. Luckily, the tooth was able to be re-implanted, preserving my toothy smile.
Well, we’ve had a good run, my tooth and I, but it finally came to an end. I’d had a stretch with little dental care while I was poor and my older boys were little; I was very thankful for the medical card that covered us, but finding a dentist who’d accept it wasn’t easy. When we finally got basic dental coverage, x-rays showed that the replaced tooth was dead and would need to come out. Since it’s front and center in my mouth, you can imagine how happy I was about that news, especially once I got an idea of what dental implants cost.
We eventually got better dental coverage, but the tooth didn’t really give me any problems, so I ignored it while we worked to pay off the ridiculous amount of dental bills we accrued when Jeff needed multiple root canals. And then Nathan had two surgeries, which we’re still paying for, so the tooth never moved off the to-do list. All this is to say that it’s my fault, and not our dentist’s, that things got to this point.
I guess it got tired of waiting, and over our extended Christmas/snow break it developed an abscess. Actually, as it turned out, its neighbor developed the abscess because it had been affected by the other dead tooth, and now I was losing not one, but two teeth. In the front of my mouth. Today.
I’m trying hard to keep my perspective on this. I know there are far worse things that can happen; in fact, people around me are living them right now. Even just in the tooth department, at least they’re bottom teeth and not top ones. But many tears have been cried. It’s taken me 40 years to get to a point where I’m comfortable with how I look, and now I’m very self conscious again.
|Maybe not so much for a little while|
I should only have a few weeks with this new gap-toothed smile before it gets filled in with an appliance, and luckily, with my reputation for falling, people are likely to believe whatever crazy story I come up with to explain my missing teeth. Or just assume it’s something more extreme than a playdate gone wrong.
And in the meantime, maybe I’ll just trade my biking/running time to hang out with hockey players. I’ll fit right in.