Combs have teeth. If something is said to have teeth it is thought to be strong, effective. It matters. People covet things and would give their “eye teeth” to have them. People are said to fight “tooth and nail” (i.e.: hard) for something.We clean teeth, floss, brush, whiten, examine teeth. Horses are bought and sold by people who look at their teeth. Floating a horse’s teeth isn’t anything to do with lofty etherea at all but taking a large rasp or file and working them down so the horse stops cribbing or gnawing on the doors or walls of its stall.

Teeth are important.

So when I broke a tooth eating a lot of roasted almonds a week ago I probably should have gone into some kind of panic– will it keep breaking? Is it going to hurt? Have I exposed more of the tooth or just the filling that was in it? I could not see this tooth. It was the last molar in the upper right side. Too dark, and I don’t have one of those little mirrors hygienists and dentists use to see in those dark crevices and corners of people’s mouths.

It was not the first tooth I’d broken, either. Kind of like having more than one child I guess. After the first one things don’t seem so strange and stressful anymore.

So with this tooth.

It broke on a weekend so I had to wait until Monday to call the dentist. I had a lot of things to do that morning– mail Christmas packages to family far away, take my dogs for their morning constitution, take care of some things at home, so I called about 10 or so and at that point it was raining like we needed another ark.

Yes, the receptionist said, it was raining there, too. And thunderstorms. And a tornado warning. Ok, so could I come in that afternoon to have a temporary crown put on?


So I get in that chair and they pretty much inverted it so I was at an obtuse angle, I guess reflective of my stupidity in being so hard on my teeth, with that halogen lamp shining directly into my eyes. They went to work on what was left of the molar. They ground, and ground. They changed the grinder and ground some more. It was about the point where I smelled something burning in there that my body began to stiffen a little.

“This bothering you?” they asked.

“Ahh gnahh,” I mumbled.

Finally the grinding stopped, smoke cleared. The tip of my numb tongue touched where the tooth was– operative word, was. I felt nothing.

“Is there anything to glue a crown onto?” I gasped.

“Well, not much but sure, we can get a crown on there.”

Finally after about a dozen or more questions the dentist walked out of the room, so I harangued the poor assistant. Dentist reappears.

“You got the temp made yet?”

Her eyes gaped. I covered: “Oh, I never let her get to work, so many questions!”

Dentist leaves again.

I apologized profusely to this beleaguered woman. Clearly she just wanted to get on with her job and her day. I was positive I didn’t deserve that much of their time but this dentist is relatively new to me and I haven’t had the best track record with many dentists.

Dentist returns, places the temporary crown, explains payment procedures,exits again. Assistant rights the hyper-flexible chair and I’m so dizzy I can barely move as she wanders out to the lobby where I have to pay for all this entertainment.

Somebody asks me if I say Merry Christmas, I reply in the affirmative, my voice sounding miles away.

So a couple more weeks and this ordeal is finished with a shiny new crown for what used to be a molar.

Does this count as my real tooth? I mean the root is still there…

Oh well.

Happy Holidays  christmas-snow-tooth-cute-cartoon-whiten-75653559.jpg     !