If you’ve been with us a while, you might have noticed that, while I have a lot of health problems, I never have anything to say about my teeth. That’s because, in spite of all the other medical issues I have, my mother gave me perfect teeth. I don’t mean perfect in the way that all the smiles in Hollywood appear — I have some spacing problems, and a couple are crooked. I mean perfect as in healthy. My mom still had most of her teeth when she died (she lost a couple due to gum disease and because she just would not brush), and she was in her eighties.
My dentist always complains that he never gets anything to do in my mouth other than the occasional cleaning. Nonetheless, I am diligent about using my Sonicare electric toothbrush in the morning, my Waterpik and bamboo manual brush at noon (it keeps you from pressing too hard), and my Braums electric at night. By using three different brushing styles, I figured I had all my bases covered.
She Who Must Be Obeyed, on the other hand, received a terrible dental inheritance. It seems like She spends all Her free time going to the dentist and having teeth filled, capped, or replaced. She has my sympathy and support, even though I can’t really imagine how rough that can be…what with my perfect teeth, and all.
So She and my dentist got a bonus this summer. He discovered that age has done what sugar could not. I got three cavities. Oh, not in the enameled, toothy part of the tooth, but above that, under the gum line where the tooth is soft anyway. What happened was: my gums receded (it happens to most old people) and exposed that part of the tooth, and bacteria somehow, in spite of all the work I do, gained a foothold. So the dentist filled two of them and promises to fix the third when our insurance okays it.
Days later my mouth still hurts. And after all the sympathy I’ve given my spouse, do you think She returned the favor? Nope. She just laughed at my two, tiny, almost microscopic fillings, and said wait until the surgery. You see, the only “tooth” problems I’ve ever had have been caused by outside forces. I’ve had two broken teeth repaired. One with a cap, and the other with a root canal. And now they’ve both gone wrong. The capped tooth has a cavity eating down from above and will have to be replaced. But worst of all, the one with the root canal has broken again and will have to be cut out in order to fix the infection growing beneath it. Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, so if you don’t hear from me again, you’ll know I didn’t make it.
I’m beginning to think She and the dentist are in cahoots. I was hoping my old age was going to be a lot less exciting!