Thursday, June 03, 2010

The story of my two front teeth

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This story begins in, or around, 1965
I was maybe ten, or maybe as young as eight, or maybe as old as twelve; I really do not remember exactly how old I was. My parents had gotten me a new ten speed bicycle. The bike was likely a Sears or a Montgomery Ward's. (Most everything like that my parents bought came from either Sears or Wards.) I was fascinated by how when I shifted the gears on my new bike the chain moved between the front chain rings (of course then I did not know they were called chain rings.) I was so enamored with watching the chain move, I would pedal down the road while shifting up and down and I ran into the back of a parked car. It was there on the trunk of a car I left most of my two front teeth.

My family has a weird sense of humor
The car belonged to my sister Carol's friend, Herbie's parents. Carol wondered aloud what Herbie's parents thought when they went to their car and found two human teeth on their trunk. My dad sang, "all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth." The next day or so a dentist put two 1965 technology crowns on my teeth and told me they would last about ten or twelve years. (At least the crowns did not come from Sears or Wards.) My parents got their money's worth. The crowns lasted about 44 years, give or take a few.

Don't you think you should replace these?
My dentist commented on my crowns a few times. Well, they were not really matching my mouth any more. Finally, I decided to take the dental plunge. I did not know it would be from the high dive. I figured he'd just pop off the old crowns, make some measurements, put on replacements. I thought the process would be like replacing old tires; not! Taking off the old crowns was more like demolishing an old kitchen before a major remodel. In other words, O-M-G!

Then, after what seemed like a few hours of interrogation at Gitmo
I was fitted with a plastic temporary bridge and sent home. The new teeth felt weird so I went back and was subjected to more Gitmo interrogation techniques, I mean teeth filing and grinding. Then, a couple weeks later, I was informed my new crowns had come in!

The new crowns looked perfect to me.
Okay, I suggested, glue them up, pop them in and I am out of here. Don't I wish. I guess my interrogation was not quite over! The dentist fussed over the shape and the color. (My dentist is more fussy about teeth color than my wife is about picking carpet.) This led to two more trips to the dentist, more filing, more teeth grinding and a car trip to the guy who colors fake teeth. (This is a process that involves heating them up to about the temperature of the sun and hopefully cooling them down before putting them in my mouth.) This heating and cooling process took time and happened twice.

I hoped I would never have to actually see my old stubs
I imagined my stubs looking like the mummified remains of King Tut. When I was finally forced to look at the stubs in the coloration process, I found that was actually a good guess. It was during the second of the coloration processes that the guy who colors fake teeth said, "the color of the crown was being influenced by the color of the stubs." Besides telling me this he required me to inspect my stubs with a mirror to see for myself. I did this even though I would have been happy to have taken his word for it. I guess he wanted me to be able to testify this fact to my dentist.

Almost done, I thought
I was given my newly recolored crowns and sent back to my dentist. (This was yesterday, after a whole afternoon of dental fun.) Okay, I happily suggested again to my dentist, glue them up, pop them in and I am out of here. Don't I wish. I guess my interrogation was still not quite over! Perfect, more interrogation. More teeth grinding, more teeth filing; then, I was informed, one of the crowns had cracked, "we will have to start again!"

It's like a sequel to the Rocky Horror Picture Show
I wonder if my dentist's mother had suggested this line of work to him...

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