First off, I’d like to thank my Bumgardaner (my maternal grandfather’s side of the family) for blessing me with some pretty awesome teeth. Because of those genetics and my mother’s insistence on dental hygiene when I was a kid, my relationship with my dentist has been a pretty good one.
Basically, for most of my life, that relationship has consisted of me visiting the dentist twice a year, him looking at my teeth, giving me a pat on the head, and presenting me with a lollipop as I leave. (Yep. Candy. From a dentist. And I didn’t get one yesterday, but the rest of this post should explain why. . .)
I didn’t have a cavity until I was 29 or 30. I didn’t have to wear braces. I’ve never broken or chipped a tooth.
So, in general, I have good teeth. And I was happy with that and my twice-a-year visits to the dentist for a large portion of my life.
Then, I moved to Nashville. I was about 22, in grad school, and one of my bottom wisdom teeth started giving me a lot of trouble. It had started to break through and after a lot of pain and only being able to open my mouth wide enough to slide in a spoon of soup or pudding for a week, I was done with wisdom tooth pain. I was in grad school at that point and didn’t have time for that! So, I found a dentist—the first type of doctor I found after moving to Nashville—and started going regularly. (He pulled that wisdom tooth, by the way, and showed it to me after it came out. Wisdom teeth are weird.)
This marks the moment when I learned about the one fatal flaw to my seemingly perfect dental situation: I still had a baby tooth.
And this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill, wallflower, hang out in the dark corners of your mouth kind of baby tooth. Nope, it’s two teeth to the left of my front tooth and eventually I was going to have to do something. But the “something” wasn’t all that important at that point. The baby tooth was more of a novelty back then, and I didn’t have to make any decisions because there wasn’t much reason to do anything just yet. The tooth was healthy. So my dentist and I talked about eventualities and possibilities of what to do. (Once, braces to pull down the tooth that never descended were discussed. That wasn’t my favorite idea. Plus, that stupid tooth that never descended is apparently sideways in my gums and has been there forever—including when I was a teenager and took medications for acne that they only let you take after you’ve gone through puberty and have all your teeth because they can discolor them. Oops.)
Well, dear ones, the time is now. There’s a cavity brewing in the baby tooth and I have to make decisions. And the plan of action now includes a consult with a dental surgeon (!), extractions of the baby tooth and unerupted tooth (to use dental terminology), and an implant. Plus a crown on the implant and a fake tooth thing to wear while it’s all healing so I don’t look like a hillbilly.
So, if you’d like to give to the fund to pay for all of this, I’m considering bake sales and other fundraisers. 😉