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?