As you may or may not know, I have This One Weird Tooth.
It is, in fact, the oldest of my teeth — my first adult tooth. When it came in, the baby tooth would not come out, no matter how I wiggled it. My parents shrugged and advised patience. The adult tooth did not heed this advice; it came in behind the baby tooth that refused to vacate. The recalcitrant baby tooth was eventually pulled, but the damage had been done.
To prevent a recurrence of this undesirable situation, I had to return to the dentist for each and every loose baby tooth, so that it could be evicted with pliers. This series of unfortunate and painful events led me to a strong dislike of dentists, which meant that I didn’t see the dentist for seven years after graduating from college. Eventually my girlfriend-at-the-time convinced me to mend my ways, and I went back. It took three painful visits to scrape my teeth clean, after which I became a reformed non-dentist-goer. Ever since then I have taken meticulous care of my teeth, brushing and flossing at least once a day and visiting the dentist three times a year. My teeth and gums are in excellent shape.
Except for This One Weird Tooth. My dentists and hygienists have been impressed, indeed amazed, at how well I have been able to take care of This One Weird Tooth and its associate gums, despite the fact that it’s too tight for a brush. I have worked out some gymnastics with floss that have kept it pretty clean, and regular dentist visits have made up the difference. But just about every time my dentist would suggest that maybe I should look into doing something about it.
At my last dentist visit the suggestions ended. “I’m giving you a referral to a periodontist,” she said, and brooked no further temporization. So off to the periodontist I went, where scans were taken and an extraction-and-bone-graft was scheduled.
The procedure is tomorrow. I have drugs to take, including Ativan for anxiety, Zithromax for infection, and Advil for pain. I will be on soft foods for a week or two.
I do not want to do this.
It will be okay.
Goodbye, old friend.