When I last left you on the edge of your seat, I was about to see Super Dentist to get something done about the lack of a front tooth.
Only I could lose a tooth by eating pizza.
After my dentist looked at the gaping hole, he had good news and bad news. The bad news was there wasn’t enough tooth to reattach my cap. Good news–he could fix it. I was going to need an implant.
Clunk…I may have fainted there.
So I headed back to the dentist the next day—he and I are becoming the best of friends, as I’ll be paying for his next vacation to Hawaii—to get oral surgery.
I’ll spare you the details. The day before the procedure, though, when Super Dentist was talking with my husband and me about the procedure, he brought up an interesting fact.
“And if you happen to need a bone graft,” he said nonchalantly, “we use ground hip bone from cadavers.”
Then he kept talking as though he just hadn’t told me I would have part of some dead person’s hip in my mouth.
I interrupted. I knew I would hear nothing else he said until we talked more about this.
“Um, so with this ‘hip thing,’ they sterilize it and everything, right?” I asked.
Yes, I now realize what a stupid question this was.
“No, Michele,” my smart-aleck husband quipped, “They just dig up someone and chop off part of their hip and glue it in your mouth.”
I’m sure I definitely must have fainted then.
Super Dentist assured me that this was done all the time; it was sterilized, and it was perfectly safe.
This, coming from the same guy who was soon going to put a screw in my head for an implant and also call his travel agent. You know, for the Hawaii trip. Sigh…
Perhaps I’d just walk around without a front tooth forever. That wouldn’t work. I give talks as part of my work. Then I’d have to stick something in there, like a Chicklet.
My friends thought this was hilarious. They said things like, “Does this mean your mouth will be like that Shakira song, but your ‘Tooth Won’t Lie’?” “Will you now have the ‘Toothy, Toothy Shake,’?” and “Do you realize that someone had to go to the pearly gates to help save your pearly whites?”
Ugh…I need new friends.
I have to admit that the procedure was not a big deal. He numbed my mouth, removed my old tooth, and after determining that my bone structure was good (so I didn’t need any hip in my mouth—Yay!), put in the screw that will eventually have a tooth attached.
What I didn’t realize before getting this implant is that after you have the screw in your head, you have to wait three months for the bone to heal before you can get the “tooth part” attached and begin to eat on it.
Um, so I still didn’t have a front tooth.
That’s where the “flipper” comes in.
When Super Dentist told me that I would have a flipper to wear for the three-month non-tooth-having period, I said, “Oh, I know what that is.”
Then I had to admit that once, in a moment of weakness, I had actually watched half an episode of “Toddlers and Tiaras,” the reality show with little girls in beauty pageants. If a girl loses a baby tooth, often she gets a flipper so that she still has a perfect smile.
“I’m not sure I wanted to know that,” said my dentist with a laugh. There was no way I was going to tell him that I may have watched part of something that rhymes with Smardashians.
He showed me how to put the flipper in. It’s easy and looks just like my old tooth. In fact, it looks a little better.
When taking the mold for the flipper, he asked if I wanted the tiny space taken out between my front teeth. “Well, now that you’ve pointed it out to me, yes. Otherwise, I will now be self-conscious for the rest of my life about this tiny gap that I didn’t even know existed. Thank you.”
In less than three months, I will shed my flipper, and flash my new smile to everyone I meet. Sure, it will look exactly like the old one (sans teeny, tiny gap), but I’ll know it’s there.
So will my dentist. Hope he sends me a post card.
Michele Wojciechowski, when she’s not taking out her “flipper” to freak out her friends, writes “Wojo’s World®” from her home office.
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