Last year I broke a tooth a few hours after coming home from surgery, an ordeal which I cataloged here. The remaining tooth was little more than a fragment, and to attempt repair it was to stretch the definition of tooth “filling”. This would be the third such reconstruction. Each time it’s attempted, that last remaining sliver of enamel is an increasingly small and precarious place upon which a filling must attain purchase.
The repair work was not attractive. It was the color of dirty concrete, a small malformed lump that hunched shamefully between its peers. But it was a back tooth – a molar in your fancy-pants Dentist parlance – and thus I never saw it. Which led to a serious bit of foolishness on my part.
My Dentist fell ill. (And, as I found out later, died. He was a nice enough fellow and already semi-retired. His office was often closed, but when he was working he had a battalion of doting assistants to make his paths straight.) His office contacted me to refer me to another dentist, but I assured them I’d handle it myself.
Which I didn’t.
Dr. Weeser’s ad-hoc repairs worked so well and went unseen for so long that I forgot that the tooth still required attention. I didn’t think of it again until it began hurting, at which point I realized I’d just spent half a year hammering away at the fragile temporary shell he’d given me.
I quickly secured a new dentist. He’s a strapping young man, which means I don’t have to worry about him passing on anytime soon. But it’s also bad because I can’t wrap my brain around the idea of having a doctor younger than I am. I resisted the urge to call him “sonny” or “kid”, but only because he was about to put power tools in my mouth. Yesterday I paid him a visit, and my oversight was at last rectified. About the proceedure I will make the following editorial comment:
After he blasted away the “temporary” covering, he looked at the bits, “I have no idea what this was made out of. It’s nothing I’ve ever used before.” I wanted to make a few suggestions, but my mouth was full of gauze and agony. I know he was working on one of my molars, but if I had to judge where the tooth was based on where his arms were and how far I had to open, I’d say the tooth in question was somewhere between my first and second ribs. I lost sight of him a few times during the process, but I could still hear the deep, far-off echoes of his drilling equipment as he ventured ever deeper into my skull. Sometimes a spray of enamel or Dr. Weeser’s Mystery Filling would fly outward, and he was forced to reassure me that he was not using a pickaxe in there.
When the proceedure was over – that is to say, several days later – he gave me the prognosis: The next time this tooth breaks – which is an inevitable event, he assures me – it will be time for a crown. I’ve never had that done before, but after he explained exactly what was involved it made me feel bad for being such a sissy about the fillings.
The sensation has finally returned to my face, although I notice I’m still lacking a bit of functionality. I can’t curl my lip and my smile is crooked. I know I’ve said before, but I think it bears repeating:
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