Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Long In The Tooth

I'm plopped down in front of my ol' Dell at 4:41 A.M., stressed about a front tooth which seems to have gone bad. Hopefully, it hasn't gone bad in a Cleveland Browns kind of way, but it really has me bugged.

This isn't one of the main Bugs Bunny carrot-chompers perched front and center. It's one of those wing man kinds of teeth which flank the main how-do-you-do ones which make pronouncing esses and whistling the entire Pirates of The Caribbean soundtrack completely do-able. It's also something of a psychological horror at the moment.

I've had quite a lot of dental trauma in my life. Not that I've had teeth knocked out, but I've had my share of badly infected molars which required root canals. If someone even mentions the word "calcium" around me, I get the shakes. At present, I feel completely powerless, which has me even more stressed as I wonder whether or not the crown of the tooth in question is actually hanging like the sword of Damocles, or is simply missing a chunk of filling. I pray that it's the latter, as I already owe my dentist enough money to pay the equivalent of the Uruguay Gross National Product of 1977. I really need to pray to God with thanks that I'm not in any pain. Still, I also worry that he will likely be closed for the next few days. If that's the case, then I run the risk of losing this thing.

Now, that wouldn't be the greatest tragedy in human history, but I was able to scrape enough money together, back in '99, to pay for a rather nice partial plate. The problem is, it's of a material which makes adding additional artificial teeth to it all but impossible. That means that I'd have to scrimp for another year and a half in order to restore my beatific grin. I certainly dread entering 2014 with the prospect of looking as cheerful as the couple in American Gothic, waiting for the day when I can smile once again without running the risk of scaring small children and animals. And while it did occur to me that I might be able to put a lit match in my mouth and rent myself out as a jack-o-lantern, I had to nix the idea since that would be considered seasonal work and therefore not subject to the minimum wage law.

I haven't flossed my teeth on a daily basis for some time, mainly because when I do the result is scads of nasty fibrous hairs from the floss getting stuck between the them. I have flossed my teeth recently, which makes me wonder if that contributed to the weakening of either a section of the tooth or a filling. Then again, the Chex party mix I was gobbling might also have contributed. It would break my heart to have to give up that annual indulgence, but there is virtually nothing I wouldn't do to save my smileys.

And so it is that I sit, in fear, on the last day of 2013, waiting until 8 A.M., hoping the dentist will be open -even if for only a few hours. I also look forward to paying for both the last procedure and for this one well within the next week, which I'm pretty sure he'll appreciate. This kind of stress is an odd mixture of terror and endorphins. It's as though it mocks me. "Oh, Adcox", it seems to taunt. "Soon you're going to look disfigured." Frankly, I'd rather have it mock me like Sissy Spacek's crazy mother in Carrie. "They're all gonna laugh at you!"

At least I could be surrounded by laughter at a time when I could use it. This moment is awful. I thank God that it's only for a moment. I've been through this stuff too many times for one person.

You might say I'm long in the tooth.


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