Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Paging the Tooth Fairy

Hey, tooth fairy, can you help a girl out?

I wasn't blessed with perfect, movie star teeth. As was the custom in the mid 70's, I left the fifth grade with a mouth full of metal, which stayed on my teeth for six years. In that time, except for the occasional band popping off, the same pieces of metal were cemented to my teeth.


Thanks to my small jaw, twelve teeth had been removed prior those bands going on. The family dentist assumed that I'd need room for eventual wisdom teeth (like my siblings) and took out a tooth in front of one of my molars, leaving a gap. It's hard to straighten teeth without adjacent teeth providing support.

As a result, at the end of junior year, my orthodontist felt that the bottom teeth were the best they would get. That molar still turns in at about a 30 degree angle. It is probably the bane of my existence though. Here's why:

A week after those braces came off, I bit into an ice cream sandwich and felt something hard in it. The hard thing was one of my incisors. See, in the effort to get ALL my teeth straight, many of the others rotted under the metal and cement.

Enter my new dentist. Dr. Fisher was one of the professionals along my dad's postal route. The staff was great, the dentist and my dad struck up a nice friendship in the many years that dad delivered mail. About two months before my braces came off, I'd seen him for my first cleaning and check up and there was a lot he couldn't check underneath those bands.

Dr. Fisher got me fixed up good. Six root canals and that crown in 1983, and all done with such a light touch that I later would travel three hundred miles for him to work on me. I'd fall asleep while he was doing major work, because I knew that he would be gentle. (He knew he had to use extra novocaine, because the regular doses weren't enough). Believe it or not, all the metal and porcelain in my mouth is directly tied to those braces and what they did to my teeth.

In 1993, three days before Christmas, I was at work just before midnight and the crown popped out. So, early on the morning of the 23rd, I was on the phone to Dr. Fisher's office and Patti put me on hold (Ex and I were headed to NY for the holiday). My dentist came on the line. "Can you be here tomorrow at 11am?" Yes, he gave up part of his Christmas Eve to fix my crown, at no charge.

That's the last time anyone has had to work on that tooth. It stayed in my mouth.


Until today.

I was waiting in line at the post office and it gave way. Sixteen years after Dr. Fisher cemented it in, the tooth decided it was done. As a testament to how good his work is, this is the tooth I was complaining was abscessed a few months back. Lately, it had been loose-but I didn't even realize it was the crown that had been bothering me.

So, I'm wondering. If I leave it under the pillow, do you think the Tooth Fairy will leave me enough money to get it fixed?
The offending article, which has spent 26.5 years serving me well.


1 People talked back:

Yasmine said...

You sure had a nice dentist to fix it for you on christmas eve! Sorry it fell out, I hope the tooth fairy gives you a LOT more than a quarter!!:)

Thinking about my teeth or going to the dentist makes me sick. I have 2 fillings that have partially broke along with the tooth they are in. Im afraid of what its going to cost on top of the other things i need to do. My wisdoms need to be pulled plus possibility of braces and few more fillings.
I think its wise to pull out all teeth early in life, get dentures and never pay another dentist bill. again. lol