The Tooth Fairy is alive and well and more prevalent than ever. Just ask Google. There are poems, screen savers, coloring pages, stories, movies, costumes, games, mazes, books, charts, graphs, and online dental experiments. You can download Tooth certificates, ring tones, and Tooth Fairy crafts. There are patterns for ‘heirloom quality’ Tooth Fairy Pillows. (I saw a photo and the concept of ‘heirloom’ has seriously gone downhill IMHO). You can order a canvas ‘Tooth Fairy [heart] Me’ tote bag for a mere $19.99 plus S&H.

Most of these items (excluding the last item and some of the kinkier costumes) are for those aged 9 and under. So where do I go? At today’s inflation rate, she owes me BIG BUCKS.

I come by my dental issues the old fashioned way. I inherited them. My father lost all his teeth by his early 20’s. Both sets of grandparents had full dentures. My mother gave hers up to bone loss while still in her mid-forties.

My early experiences with dentists came with pain from cavities, lack of flossing (I thought it was gross and decided they didn’t “really” mean it), and no dental coverage until my mid-thirties. Until I forced myself to follow through with regular bi-annual cleaning visits to the torture den dental hygienist (and that was only because the coverage would only be covered if I did so) well…let’s just say it took a long time to come to terms with most of my dental phobias. Eventually I did not need sweet air to endure the cleanings.
dentalwork
There were the obvious consequences. I now suffer from chronic periodontal disease, the dreaded ‘gingivitis’ which requires deep scaling and cleaning at the surgical level; and quarterly cleanings instead of biannual ones.

They told me that I would also lose all my teeth at some point. It was only a matter of time.

Between jobs in my mid-forties, I put some dental work off longer than I should have and in one fell swoop lost four teeth. Tears rolled down my cheeks as they extracted the abscessed, diseased teeth. The psychological pain was far worse than the physical (which took a LOT of Novocain). I felt old, ugly, undesirable, unfeminine… absolutely horrid inside and out.

I was fitted for a partial denture and eventually adjusted to the change in the taste and texture of food, the alteration in the sound of my voice, the change in speech and singing clarity.

Dealing with the vanity aspect took a bit of time. It still gives me an occasional sucker punch. It could be worse, I tell myself.

I continued to lose teeth here and there, adding the missing teeth to my partial until it got to the point where I was told that if I lost any more, I would have to remove the remaining few and get a full denture.

Or…

Or I could look into dental implants, none of which is covered by insurance. Dental implants require a winning lottery ticket, a MUCH better household income, generous inheritance (ha! none of my relatives qualify on the wealth scale, and thank you, I prefer them alive) or a seriously large donation from the Tooth Fairy.

I put it off as long as I could, but it became apparent this spring that the last remaining upper teeth were losing their grip. I bit the bullet, took out a loan and had the beginning work done today. I spent almost four hours in the dental chair as they cut and drilled into my bone. Regular and frequent Novocain injections made the surgery possible. It also kept me whacked out and sleeping most of the afternoon and early evening.

I now have four more craters holes in my upper palette that will, once healed, be fitted with crowns over the implanted manholes. A combination of bridges and crowns will replace my partial denture and I will feel ‘normal’ again. Impoverished, but ‘normal.’

I go back to work on Monday when the swelling will be at its height, but the discomfort level should be well within copeable levels.

Sigh.

Vanity is frickin’ expensive.

Does this count as a frog?

Advertisements