Archive | 6:12 am

Tooth or consequences

1 Oct

I have been blessed with excellent dental health.

When I chipped my tooth two weeks ago, I was concerned and got into the dentist asap. Expecting a crown, he repaired it like a filling.

Last Tuesday, while eating my lunch, the filling popped off. I called the dentist right away and got an appointment. I also got a better sub than the week before.

The dentist I go to is new to me. My insurance changed and I switched dentists. I’d had my previous dentist for over 20 years and I was accustomed to his ways. I guess that’s why I assumed both times I’d be getting a crown. Dental work was serious and drastic.

My new dentist looked again at the chipped area and surprised me by still opting for no crown. He repaired it using a different material. and then he talked me off the ledge I hadn’t realized I’d been standing on.

“If it breaks while you are away next weekend, it won’t be an emergency,” he told me, eyes sparkling above his surgical mask. “The tooth is still very sound.”

I had told him about an upcoming trip to Vancouver, BC and I think he could tell there were an awful lot of what ifs swirling around in my head.

“If this does fall off, come in when it is convenient. We could do a crown if you want, but we could also just smooth down the rough edges.”

Whoa. My mind was blown.

What I’d thought of as a dental emergency was really not. As educators, we hear about serious dental issues can make it hard for kids to learn. They are having dental emergencies and not getting the care they need. My dental owie, though it could have been worse, was nothing compared to what some students experience daily.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the dental bus that used to come to the school I taught at for over a decade. It’s not that far from my current school, but it is miles away on the socio-economic scale. Kids were get their teeth checked for free. They could have sealants applied and a few had to have some serious dental work done and looked woozy when they returned. A few had teeth so bad they had extra, still free, visits to the dental school.  I had no idea some of these kids had such terrible teeth. They must have been in terrible pain and yet they carried on.

I am taking care to ensure this filling holds. I hope the dental care those former students received years ago holds.

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Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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