Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Some of you are familiar with the saga of my shit tooth. Also known, thanks to filmmaker and author Mike Lombardo, as the cadaver tooth. It's too long to go into here, but suffice to say it is the story of me getting my second dental implant.

I went into the dentist's office yesterday to get the implant. (Which didn't happen. They took measurements and levels of bone density. I get it--probably--next month.) It's not my usual guy. It's the guy who pulled the tooth in the first place. I sat down, and he worked in my mouth for a bit and fiddled around on a computer for even longer. He's an attractive man in his late fifties with a full head of hair and a fabulous smile. He advised me to get another bone graft, this time in my sinuses. It's $2K extra. Otherwise we'll have to go with the shorter implant that might not succeed. Fuck. I'm already out of my price range as it is. I can't do it. I'm going to have to roll the dice on the smaller implant.

Here's the thing, though: they no longer use the molds. I'm okay with that. I've choked on each and every mold they've ever tried on me. The taste is too disgusting. My saliva has nowhere to go but dribbling out of my mouth . . . or down my throat, which is even worse. My gag reflex is bad enough as it is.

They have a new method: scanning your teeth into a computer. Sounds easy, right? Well, not so much. Someone has to run a heated scanner (heated so it doesn't fog over) across all of your teeth in all directions several times. It's a longer process, but you don't have to taste the horrible goop from the mold.

It was truly a humbling experience. I had to keep reminding myself that I had to breathe through my nose, and forget about the saliva that kept building up. The assistant who did this was very courteous. She tried her best to be encouraging. To be reassuring. I might be reading my signals wrong, but I think she might have flirted with me a bit. I'm an idiot when it comes to that kind of thing. For years my friends have been telling me that women were flirting with me when I didn't even notice. So maybe I'm wrong.

She is a very attractive woman with a wonderful set of teeth, just like the dentist's.

My teeth suck. I've never been pleased with them. Even as a kid I would look into the mirror and curse that gap in the front ones. It's only gotten worse over the years. I went for more than a decade without dental insurance. When I don't use whitening toothpaste it looks like my teeth are made of cheese. I've had dental coverage for a while. I take very good care of my teeth. But it's not enough. Still, they look pretty good if you're not paying much attention. (And if I keep my lower teeth under my lip.)

I watched as the scanner replicated my teeth on the computer to my left side. I was horrified. It looked through the whitening shit and saw my teeth for what they really were. I saw brown spots. I saw dark spots. I saw black spots where I'm surprised my own mouth hasn't rejected these teeth yet. It was a very humbling experience because I could see it all in 3D. The assistant cut out the unnecessary gum parts with two swipes of the mouse. Even that horrified me.

It was a very realistic representation of my garbage mouth. It didn't look like a scan; it looked like a photograph. I could see all the horrible things in my mouth, and my instant impulse was to have all of my teeth pulled and replaced immediately. It was that bad.

I was reassured that other people have the same reaction. Still. It was an incredibly humbling experience. I expect the rest of my life to be spent dealing with dental problems. A friend of mine once advised me to just pull my lower teeth and get a plate. It works well for her, but I want to have actual teeth down there. I like how they feel, and I appreciate the way I don't have to worry about them staying in the right place. I have nothing against people who are OK with the plates, etc. For me, I would rather have something anchored in there.

When I was a kid, I predicted I would only live to 40. I'm turning 39 this year. I'm sure I was wrong about 40 (that's a story for a different day, as I'm sure I stated here before). But if I make it to 50? Shit, I'd better be making more money than I am right now if only for the dental problems I'm going to have.

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