One day four and some years ago, when I was going through emotional turbulence of the highest altitude, a tooth broke. It was December and I was shopping when I felt something crumble in my mouth.
I couldn’t figure out what it was; my consciousness and subconscious were both drowning in muck. Reality was a fog. Pain was the only thing crystal clear to me.
At that moment I was listlessly going through a rack of dresses. Pounds were melting off me and I needed a new wardrobe. I continued shuffling through hideous-looking garments till rock-hard fragments made their presence known to my frontal lobe.
I couldn’t believe it. Pieces of a tooth! I joked to a friend that I was so angry my teeth were self-destructing.
It was tooth #13, in dental parlance. It had broken as if it had been sliced in half lengthwise, the outside half still alive and well. My dentist gave me a temporary crown. Well, half of one. She said I had to do something permanent about it. Sure.
Last month that remaining half said goodbye and shortly thereafter so did the temporary half-crown. Thing is, the tooth had broken off, not fallen out. The root remained.
Lately, my rheumatologist has been on my case to start Fosamax. This tooth was a handy excuse not to start a med I truly hate. The dentist won’t touch me I said. And it was true.
Because now my excuse is gone.
I was at risk for infection, I was told. After diddling around with the idea of an implant, one my dentist, a he now, he of bright, compassionate blue eyes, wanted me to seriously entertain. I did. Long enough to call the periodontist.
We start at $1,600 and go up to $2,500, she said. I already knew insurance wouldn’t cover a penny of it, but what really made my eyes bug out was the healing time. Four to six months, she said.
All that plus a metal screw drilled into my jaw?
I went to see Blue Eyes yesterday and he extracted what was left of #13. It took him approximately two minutes. I barely got the chance to enjoy the reggae station they had playing for me.
Unfortunately, I had to go back to him five hours later. It kept oozing, blood-tinged. Where I thought it was draining too much, he said it was “too dry.” He expected more blood to fill, occupy and seal the cavity. So he pulled out his needles again and sutured the site.
Strangely, I feel no pain. Just tenderness.
But then, tenderness is what was offered to me.
Free of charge.