A true story

molarIt was a good tooth. It held its important position as First Molar, Lower Left, for more than half a century. Sure, when it was 10 it came under attack and was wounded, but the tooth was strong and it recovered. It bore the scar of its battle, a fine, silver amalgam filling, proudly.

For many years it worked hard every day, doing its part. It never complained. It stood up under the onslaught of Pez and jawbreakers and sour apple bubblegum. It masticated countless hamburgers and French fries, Cokes and chocolate milkshakes. It cracked ice and crunched up potato chips and Cheetos and worked over pepperoni pizza and burritos. Later there were steaks and Chicken Kiev and steamed vegetables and brown rice and tofu, but the good tooth never once complained.

But in its 55th year, it developed a deep crack in its foundation. For quite a long time it said nothing. It just soldiered on, maintaining a stiff upper lip. The crack worsened, however, and finally one day the tooth broke. It died and abscessed. Its long life was over.

Yesterday, with the whole left side of my face swollen up balloon-like and startling, I went to an emergency dentist. He wasted no time pulling that good old tooth right out of my head. It was done in minutes and with a minimum of pain and trauma. Shuddering, I left my old tooth, sawed into pieces, in a sterile silver kidney pan in the clinic. There will be no funeral.

But its memory remains. The gap the old tooth left in my jaw is deep. It feels far larger than the tooth itself. I miss the little fellow. It was a dear and trustworthy friend. Once the tissues heal, I’ll be fine, but chewing will always be a little bit harder. A good memorial.

Farewell, my old friend. And thank you.

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9 responses to “A true story

  1. I don’t know if you’ll think this is funny, but I lost a tooth once and had a deep pit that I kept poking with my tongue. Something got stuck in it and I could not dislodge it, until finally it sprouted. Yes it was a tomato seed. So beware

    • Oh, my, that IS funny, in a weird sort of way. I had no idea such a thing could happen. Thanks for the warning, anet37. I’ll beware of vegetable seeds. With my luck, I’d sprout a sunflower!

  2. R.I.P. Wren’s molar. I lost a couple molars since being diagnosed with RA. The two gaps are evidence. :-) I hope you are back to your old self soon.

    • Lana, I’m sorry about your molars. It’s sort of tough re-learning to chew without them, isn’t it? I do hope one day to be able to afford bridges or implants to replace the lost teeth. This particular molar was the second I’ve lost; the first was a few months back. I don’t think RA had anything to do with their demise; it was simply old age and lots of wear. As of today my jaw is still grossly swollen (it’s embarrassing!), but the pain is well under control. I’ve still a few more days of taking antibiotics to fight the infection. Thanks for the kind wishes, Lana. Here’s hoping all is well with you.

  3. carlascorner

    Oh, dear, Wren. It’s difficult to lose such an old and dear friend. Glad that you are doing well and that there wasn’t a lot of stress/trauma. And hope that this is the last of your tooth adventures!

  4. Me too, Carla! I’ve an old and well-developed dental phobia (which could explain, I have to admit, why two of my molars have gone belly-up recently–along with a now years-long lack of dental insurance). I really don’t want any more emergency dental work!

  5. I’m sorry for the loss, Wren, but I enjoyed your light-hearted story about it. I hope the swelling and the pain, both physical and emotional go away soon. And I just love Cheetos with potato chips!

  6. Thanks, Irma. The after-pain and swelling have both greatly diminished. I’m on my last day of antibiotics, and with luck, I’ll need no more after this. If I ever break another tooth, I won’t wait to go to the dentist. This was a fairly miserable experience.

    By the way, I can’t remember the last time I ate Cheetos, mainly because I gain weight so easily these days. But yes, they were scrumptious!

  7. Teeth loss can really affect us, of course especially if it is a permanent one, it will not be replaced anymore. There would be some cases I regret why I didn’t visit a dentist immediately during my childhood years, of course one reason is fear. Though somehow I eventually manage and overcome my fear, and I am glad it is not too late.