I've always had some problems with my teeth ever since I was about nineteen or so because of severe overcrowding. It got worse when my wisdom teeth came in and pushed everything forward. About ten years ago I had all four wisdom teeth taken out and that seemed to to help for a while. I had an almost religious habit of keeping up with preventively dental work for years, going every six months for x-rays and cleanings, that sort of stuff.
When I had a really good dental plan when I was living in Philadelphia I must have had over $10k worth of drillings and fillings, even a few root canals and crowns. But those days are long gone until I get back to the railroad with a decent plan again. That's not saying I still don't take care of my teeth, I just can't afford to go to the dentist like I used to.
Don't get me wrong, my teeth aren't rotting out of my head... Just a tad bit crooked and a little caffeine-stained right now, the main reason I'm really not smiling in any of the recent pictures of me. But I've just discovered a new toothpaste that's doing wonders with cleaning my chompers up so you might get to see me smiling again soon.
But I'm still in need of some work in the tooth department... Which is what this little story is about. I joke about moving to West Virginia and having my teeth start falling out of my head, but it really isn't funny.
Well, yes it is... Sort of.
Back it the summer of 04' when I was still working on the railroad I had a little accident. One day when we were digging a stretch of rail between Thurmond & Fayette, WV I slipped off the machine I was working on and fell about six feet onto the tracks, landing face-first on the rail, in the process knocking out three of my lower incisors.
Yes, it hurt like a bitch!
So anyway, being that we were so far from a road and miles from the nearest hospital the chances of having them re-implanted were slim but my superintendent and I decided to take the chance. All three teeth were whole and not broken or cracked so I wrapped them in wet gauze and put them in a plastic baggie. The CSX rail pilot called for a truck to meet the machine down a service road and he drove me to the hospital in Beckley, where the emergency room doctor re-implanted them.
So for a while there I had all my teeth again.
Fast forward a few months. Apparently the teeth were out far too long and the re-implant didn't take. They started to get loose, and after a while one fell out.
One down, two to go...
Then one night I was out to dinner with a certain Kat Woman at a Mexican restaurant having a good dinner, nice conversation... And I took a bite of my burrito...
Looking back on it I should have excused myself and went to the men's room, but I just put the tooth in my pocket and continued on with the conversation... The look on her face was precious! I really wish I had a camera that night to capture the look of stunned disbelief on her face!
"Tom, I can't believe you just did that!"
After the shock had worn off we both got a fit of the giggles. I guess it was the margaritas and dos equis.
That's the funny part.
A few months ago the last of the three that had originally gotten knocked out finally came out for good.
So now I've got this gap in my lower jaw that I really try to hide. Not that I'm a vain person, it just annoys me that I've still got this gap and haven't done anything to fix it. (On an up-side to this, I have been able to stick my tongue out way farther than before though...hehehe!) So this summer, no matter what I'm getting a bridge. I really want to be able to smile again... Because I have so much to smile about these days... It's going to cost about $500 for a bridge, but it'll be well worth it in the long run.
Bridging the gap so to speak.
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden