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As with any organism or engine, parts wear out. If you were born in the 1950’s, chances are those integral components in your mouth will  begin to fail. Our childhood dentist was Dr. George Sullivan who delighted in filling children’s teeth with silver and mercury as punishment for our sins of penny suckers and lack of fluoride in the water. Dentistry has never been a happy part of my life.

Today I had to suck it up, put on my big girl panties and rid myself of a painfully failing part. As I settled into the Tooth Fairy’s chaise lounge, he asked if I recollected my last extraction. “1979, San Fernando Trinidad. I had all four wisdom teeth extracted by a West Indian dentist who at times had one foot braced on the chair that did not resemble this throne.”

The Tooth Fairy tugged his blue surgical mask down to reveal a smile below his raised eyebrows. “OK then! You’ll be fine!”

He is a career-shifter like me; started out in the Insurance world then ditched it all to become a dentist. I asked why the only two parts of the body that aren’t EVER covered under standard insurance are eyes and teeth. He merely grunted and replied, “Don’t get me started…” It’s true. If the insurance companies of America said, “Well, you’re good for everything except your liver and your toes.” There would be an uproar. Teeth and eyes are as integral to the body as toes and livers.

For three years, since my last disastrous trip to a dentist, I have nursed this sorry molar. At that point I was told not only did the molar have to go but restorative surgery required the removal of the perfectly healthy tooth standing guard next to it. Then an elaborate implant and bridge would restore my mouth to it’s less than perfect condition. Needless to say, I looked for alternatives. This involved ‘oil pulling’ (don’t giggle til you google it) and extra homeopathic oral hygiene. I bought myself three and a half years, but this molar and I had reached the end.

This evening, as I sit with my beef broth, arnica montana and Hypericum perf., the anesthesia is leaking away and the sensation is strange. A part of my mouth is empty. My jaw is mildly tight and uncomfortable. Beyond this, the loss of this toe/liver/tooth is not earth shattering.

The Tooth Fairy kept up a softly calming repartee through the whole procedure, apologising for the background sounds of things separating in my mouth, soothingly chanting “Almost done here, you’re doing fine, just one more slight pressure…” In the end, he sat me upright on the beige lounge and said, “Do you want to see it?”

“God No!” I uttered as I glanced quickly at what he was holding. It was old, it was a part of me and now it wasn’t. Sad but not remarkable.

You didn’t really think I would show you a photo of the bloody stump, did you?

Red Astilbe ikebana

13 comments on “The Tooth Fairy Cometh…

  1. jaknisell says:

    I am with you on the subject of dentists! I really dread going to the dentist for anything. I hope you are feeling better!

    1. Thanks Annie. It was remarkably pain-free. I’m just being extra careful to let it heal up. Dentists definitely are not the most popular of doctors.

  2. Touring NH says:

    The last time I went to the dentist, I was told I needed several thousand dollars worth of restorative work. I still have a temporary filling from 2003, some day it will fail and I’ll have the tooth pulled. No caps for me!! Glad all went well.

    1. Thanks Laura. So happy to have found a Dr. who believes in “do no harm” when it comes to my aging mouth!

  3. I’m already dreading my visit this August. I have no pain, keep up with hygiene, but I am sure someone will find something wrong. I love your story about all that re-constructive nonsense. Pull a perfectly good tooth (or two) and rebuild the entire area??? Not for me either, and I have been fine for the many, many years since the one bad tooth has been absent from my mouth. Cheers!!

    1. Thanks Susan. Judging by the problems my daughters have had since their dentist insisted on braces when they were young, I think dentistry has gotten out of hand. I am happy to have found a Dr. who doesn’t believe in heroic measures to put his kids through college on the scene in my mouth.

      1. I remember one dentist, out of frustration with my resistance to braces (our son did have them), remarked that all these kids would need them again for realignment after their jaws grew to adult size. Hrmghhg

      2. Says a lot about the state of health care, doesn’t it Susan? Thanks!!

  4. Beth says:

    I’m still stuck on the 4 wisdom teeth experience in Trinidad. Youch! Glad you’re problem-molar-free and in less discomfort!

    Thanks for keeping me on your Reader, Martha. I’ve always enjoyed your blog and am looking forward to going back and reading some missed posts from these 9 months of absence.

    1. Glad you have popped back up!

  5. Marie Keates says:

    Ouch! I know we Brits are renowned for terrible teeth but, apart from two crowded wisdom teeth and one sorry, cracked molar (replaced at great expense by a porcelain crown) I’ve managed to hold on to mine. We pay a high price here to look after our teeth. The NHS dentists still charge and are very basic so we go private. A lovely place and lovely people, if you can forget about all the poking and prodding, but upwards of £70 a visit for just a check up and clean.

    1. It seems dentists here are usually very expensive and always using scare tactics, Marie. From what I can see in your photos, you have lovely teeth!!

      1. Marie Keates says:

        Thank you. They’re a bit crooked but not too bad 🙂

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