Open Wide

If I’d been a horse, they would have shot me by now. Lots can be told about the total health of a horse by looking at its mouth, which I’ve heard can be said of humans, as well. Remember stories from years ago when potential foreign brides had to pass the cursory test of good health before being allowed to immigrate and marry? Good teeth don’t run in my family. I never would have passed.

As I type this, I’m twenty-four hours post surgery. I’ve got stitches from one side of my gums in the front to the other side. This is the second surgery and fourth root canal — all for one tooth! Last year I lost two important molars due to cracked enamels or roots. I lost three teeth twenty years ago due to the effects of chemotherapy (after successful recovery from breast cancer!). All this, coupled with the four permanent teeth I had removed as a child before braces and four wisdom teeth gone because of impaction. Are you getting the picture? My teeth are getting as thin as my hair. I’m surprised I can still chew!

Between my dentist, my endodontist, my extraction dentist, and my periodontist I have single handedly paid for the wedding or college of at least one of each of their children.

Believe it or not, I’ve always taken good care of my teeth … faithfully performing daily routine maintenance. Despite that care, I’m clinging to my remaining teeth. On some days, I’m all “Take them! Just pull them all out and let me wear false teeth!” My dentist looks aghast when I say this, but it’s just the frustration of so much time and money spent on the less-than-healthy mouth that bemoans my frustrations.

And how is it decided who gets a mouth full of gleaming pearly whites versus a mouth that guarantees a lifetime of dental office visits? I’m sure genetics plays a huge role.

After I catch my breath from this rant, I get quiet, relax, and remember that the effects of getting older are sometimes hard. AND I remember that I have plenty to be grateful for, like a mouth that works and a few remaining enamels scattered about to catch and munch the sustenance of my life.