Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Another bit of tooth abandons its filling

Forty-three years ago, when I was sixteen, I went to the dentist for the first time in my memory. (I say it that way because it's possible I went as a young child, during a time when I have no memories.) All my wisdom teeth had come in--I still have them--but I had not yet learned how to brush that far back in my mouth without gagging myself. As a result, I left the dentist's office with five fillings: one in each wisdom tooth, and one in the lower left molar adjacent to the wisdom tooth.

For years, my dentist admired the craftsmanship of those fillings. He would tap each one, verify I had no pain from the contact, and then muse that someday, someday, he would get to replace them.

Alas (and this is no joke), that day did not come, for he died some time ago, a victim of cancer. He was a good man, and I miss him each time I go to his office.

His son now checks my teeth and did my crown some months back. He, too, has marveled at how long those fillings have lasted.

Tonight, I ate a bite of chicken and hit a bone. As I did, I felt a disgustingly familiar sensation, and when I checked to confirm my suspicion, I found that the interior side of that lower left molar had abandoned its filling and my mouth.

I probably should be grateful for the over four decades of service that tooth and filling have given me, but I'm not. I'm pissed. The tooth, like the rest of my body, should have toughed it out.

Instead, when I can grab some free time--not before next week--I will have to go to the dentist and get another crown.

This sucks.

The only up side, as Kyle noted, is that this bit of weakness has fled my body, and after the crown, I will be another bit more bionic and rather stronger in that small area. I have that to look forward to.

I do not, however, look forward to three more hours in the dentist's chair, nor am I thrilled about the rather massive bill I will incur in the process.

I cannot truly complain, because I am fortunate to have both dental insurance and enough money to pay that bill without hurting my lifestyle, but I still don't like it.

After writing all of this, though, I come to one conclusion: I am incredibly grateful to live where I do, have the assets I do, and have access to great dental care that I can afford. I am a very privileged person. Much of the world is in far worse shape, and I would do well to remember that always and to be thankful for all I have.

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