Rotten teeth have been part of my brand since the earliest days of this site, when I live-blogged my way through an abscess and subsequent root canal (while a bunch of regular commenters begged me to stop).
I didn’t visit a dentist until I was almost seventeen, and only inconsistently after that. Either money was tight or the trauma from the previous visit loomed too large or I resented being lectured about stuff I already knew. Combine that with hereditary gum disease and some dentally destructive lifestyle choices, and you’ve got a general picture of where things stood for the past fifteen years.
Every couple of months, another tooth would break and I’d deal with it by changing up my mastication routine and swigging down another can of tonic. Occasionally things got bad enough to require another root canal, which I’d have done before ghosting on the follow-up procedures. It was during the last of those visits that I got a rough estimate of what it would cost to set things right, which was well beyond what I was willing or able to spend at the time.
This pattern held up this past year, when I series of events forced me to reconsider the state of my dental health. My grandma passed away and left me a decent amount of money. I watched my father — whose teeth and health habits were worse than mine — wither away and die. The previously glacial pace of the adoption process began to pick up speed, matching us with a truly incredible child.
And, honestly, I got tired of trying to deal with workarounds that kept me from eating foods I enjoyed yet did nothing to remedy the underlying problem.
I finally had the means and motivation — as well as a pretty harrowing cautionary example — to step and and finally take charge of my dental destiny.
So I spent last Monday morning getting four broken teeth (including a failed root canal on a wisdom tooth) extracted and a temporary partial fitted.
It was…not fun. I bled like a motherfucker and they tore the side of my “unusually narrow” mouth open while getting at the wisdom tooth. A black eye and and ugly bruise developed on the right side of my face. But the painkillers have been doing their job and the constant throb of background pain I’ve lived with since the turn of the millennium is gone.
The temporary denture fits well enough, though it feels weird when I try to chew and it will be a while before I learn to speak properly while wearing it. Three of the “anchor teeth” in front need crowns to better support the plate, but that seems like a breeze considering what I’ve already gone through.
Anyway, that’s why the site hasn’t been updated in a week. There probably won’t much in the way of new content until the start of next month, because we’re getting the house in order for the kid’s first weekend stay with us. Please kind to each other until I return.