Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Tooth!

It’s going to take a few days to get used to Gator Wife getting home three hours earlier than she has been getting home from her part time job. She got home before noon yesterday and that left the whole darn afternoon for her to think of things to do. I’d like to say I’m really not complaining but it will take some getting used to. It was good, though, having her home so I’ll adjust.

An incredible ninth inning last night and the Red Sox are off to the American League Championship Series against major nemesis Tampa Bay Rays. A botched suicide squeeze attempt by the Angels and a winning slide by the Sox’s Jason Bay put the Sox into the championship series. Sea Dog alumni Lowrie made the game winning hit.

Last month I had my regular visit to the dentist’s hygienist to get my teeth cleaned and inspected. They were cleaned but I didn’t pass inspection. So an appointment was set for Thanksgiving Week to get a broken tooth unbroken. It’s kind of a critical tooth as I wear a partial plate. That tooth is one of the anchor teeth. I got a call yesterday from the dentist that told me she had a cancellation and if I were interested, I could come in early this morning.

So, I’ll be leaving in just a few minutes to have a tooth fixed. There’s something about having a dentist work on my mouth that brings shivers up and down my spine. When I was just a very young little kid, I went to a dentist who I think was a little sick in the head. It was long, very long, before the modern techniques of high speed, Novocain, and the fancy tools and tooth repair material now available. I can remember like it was just yesterday how that guy with nothing to soften the pain put one of those slow speed drills on a cavity and never took it off until the tooth was clean.

I think I may have been too young to know certain vocabulary or physical things that could cause pain. That’s the only explanation of why I only sat there with tears rolling down my face and screaming whenever I could at the pain that will never leave my memory as long as I have one. But by golly I showed him. I literally let my teeth rot. And yes, I lied to my parents about cleaning them. At that age I saw no relationship between my action and the frequent trips to the Mad Dentist who just inflicted more torture.

When I was about twelve, I was playing pickup baseball with a bunch of playground buddies. This was a time long before Little League and youth leagues and the like. We learned the game by playing it. I wasn’t the best player, but I had fun and was always there. In one game I had reached third base but I’ll be darned if I remember how. It wasn’t a common place for me to be. Listening to a game on the radio the night before, one of my favorite players stole home. Well, well, well. If he could do it . . .

I found out long after that in organized ball, the batter knows when an attempted steal is going to take place. In our game I was the only one. My face and the bat crossed the plate at the same time as the batter attempted to hit a home run with my head. I didn’t cry. Crawling around home plate on all fours trying to find my missing teeth, I had no idea what could be done with them if we found them. We didn’t. But then I saw this red stuff dripping onto home plate. That was more than I could take.

My dad was umpiring a nearby game. He rushed me to the hospital, but the two front teeth were gone forever. I always blamed the Mad Dentist who didn’t know how to fix the problem. I went around with a third tooth that grew in to replace the two for several years. After I returned to Maine following college, my brother insisted he knew a dentist who could fix me up. For the first time in my life I went to a dentist who was just super and compassionate. After he got all the other teeth up to snuff, he pulled the one maverick tooth and the gap was replaced with a bridge.

Not only could I smile easily again, I felt good about my mouth for the first time. I took better care of my teeth than ever before, but they were already so far gone I was in constant need of work. I didn’t mind, though, as Super Dentist had the modern tools and the only pain was that initial pinch of Novocain going in. Unfortunately for me, Super Dentist left us to take care of teeth in a better place.

For the past several years I’ve been going to Super Dentist #2 and I don’t even feel her injection of pain killer. When I fell during my Triple-A a few years ago, I hit the corner of bureau in our room. It broke my bridge. SD #2 replaced it, but a couple more teeth had to go because of the fall. Now, seven years later, one of the anchor teeth lost a little chunk. She’ll rebuild the tooth this morning.


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