Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bridging the gap

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


Sherri said...

Yikes! In the pocket?? Very smooth! LOL

Way to go ranger tom, bridge that gap. :D

Red said...

I feel for you, I really do..

My husband has terrible teeth. When we met, the two front ones overlapped and had started to rot in the center. He never smiled, and when someone managed to make him bust into laughter, he always covered his mouth. Just before we got married, he had a lot of work done. In most of the wedding pictures he's smiling like the cat that just ate the canary. It was good to see.. He needs more done now, but sheesh, the cost is outrageous!

Lisa said...

Eeek. That story made me remember how at times, I'll have a dream where my teeth will just start getting really loose and fall out.

Miss Fire said...

Dental work is always worth it. Your smile is most important!

Although, ever since I had my wisdom teeth out and had dry sockets, I abhor the dentist. I would only go if necessary.

Cheryl said...

I've had dreams where my teeth fall out. I wake up in a panic. So, I wish you luck with your bridge.

berly02 said...

Dental work makes me cringe.

DivineMsN said...

Mr. K laughs when I tell him that I love going to the dentist. I actually like having my teeth cleaned. I am going to get all four of my wisodm teeth out this summer (hopefully I will have the money for it) and then I also need a crown. I am actually looking at getting invisalign braces! Yay dentist!

Leazwell said...

I had a major thing for a guy in college many, many moons ago. He had a mouth full of mangled teeth but they had character! I hope he never got them straightened. A cousin had some snaggles, too. I loved 'em. She capped them and I was sooo disappointed.

One of my college roommates and a retainer with a false tooth, her front tooth. I never knew it and one evening getting ready to go out I happend to look in the mirror and saw this gaping black hole. It shook me up 'cause when I looked right back at her it was gone!

Kev said...

Two words, Tom ... Insurance claim.

The teeth were lost in an on-the-job injury that was fully documented. If you are injured on the job, it is the employer's responsibility to cover the expenses. Contact their insurance carrier and then get your bridge.

And if their insurance carrier gives you a hard time, there are two other words ...

Law suit.

Kat_womanx2 said...

GAWDDDDDDDD!!!! You just had to bring that up again didn't you!!!!! It was funny...afterward..but at the knowing the pain I suffered with 3 yrs of braces and extensive dental work...not to mention the nightmare with the abcess and MI I had having that taken care of...seeing you do that almost made me faint right there in my chair!!!

Ranger Tom said...

Sherri: Yep, that me! Mr. Smooth himself!

Red: I never really appriciated my dental plan on the PD until I didn't have it anymore. I can't even afford a damn checkup now.

Lisa & Cheryl: I wouldn't suggest reading Stephen King's "The Tommyknockers" then

Miss Fire: I've heard how painful dry sockets are but even with the four wisdom teeth out and me smoking like a chimney I was lucky enough not to get one.

Berly: It shouldn't if you've got a really good dentist. I had a fabulous one back in Philly. He was so good I'd fall asleep while he was drilling

MsN: I might consider invisalign in a year or two. The look like they are much better than the old metal braces.

Leazwell: My ex had a loose crown when we first started dating. She'd glue the tooth in with denture bond and would never let me see her without it.

Kev: I've seriously considered that, but with everything going on right now it really wouldn't be worth it in the long run. But I have thought about it.

Kat: LOL! Like I said, it really wasn't funny at the time, but the look on your face when it happened was classic! But the giggle fit afterward was even better!

Romancing Simplicity said...

I would have given anything to see you just pocket a lost tooth like there was nothing to it. Lol!

Did those hurt coming out the second time?

I think you should go ahead and smile, even if there is a gap and even if it takes awhile to "bridge"'s part of who you are, right?

phlegmfatale said...

$500 is a small price to pay - totally worth it. Funny story, though, even though it involved pain.