Archive | 6:29 am

A tooth story

20 Apr

It’s weird to feel an unpopped kernel in my second handful of popcorn, I thought as I settled in to watch a movie Tuesday night, they don’t usually show up until I am closer to the bottom of the bowl.

Richard was snuggled next to me, expectantly awaiting his share. I spat the kernel into my palm and looked at it. It took a moment or two for me to realize it wasn’t an unpopped kernel – it was a crown. I ran my tongue along my teeth and found a hole. I looked at the tooth again. Felt the empty space again. I repeated the action.

My first thought was – there’s no pain. I figured that was good news. I noticed there was no empty space in the tooth where the crown should anchor to the tooth. Another inspection with my tongue revealed that the nub was mostly gone. That probably wan’t good news. I put the rest of the popcorn in the compost – it didn’t seem right to keep eating it – and bagged the tooth, in anticipation of a dentist appointment.

I haven’t been to the dentist since October 2019, when I had my annual cleaning. I was supposed to go again in October 2020, but, like many people, I stopped making unnecessary medical appointments in the face of COVID. Fortunately, I still had no pain the next morning and, when I called the dentist, they could get me in on Friday morning.

It was curious to enter a medical office for the first time in almost two years. The waiting room was empty, but signage was everywhere. I had to rinse my mouth with a mild mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide before the x-rays. The dentist wore two masks and a face shield. It felt strange to remove my mask in the presence of strangers.

It was a good news bad news situation. The good news that it looked as though there was no infection. The bad news was that I’d been correct in suspecting the nub was gone. There was no way to reattach the crown.

I was given a couple of options and decided on a dental implant. What that means is several months of dental visits. In June they will remove what’s left of the tooth. At that point an appointment will be made to begin the implant process.

The good news is that I have good dental insurance, which a lot of people don’t have. The other good news is that I probably won’t set off the alarm in a metal detector, because that was the weird question I asked the dentist.

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