Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bionic Tooth

I love him.
Intuitively he just knew.

The last time I smiled for a camera and allowed my teeth to show was 2006. Since then, it's lips only. 
I have crappy teeth. They're straight. And they're mine. But they are showing wear and tear after 50 years of strenuous eating. And the top front ones don't photograph well. 

Today I had a dentist appointment to get a filling. And as I lay there, all frozen from my nose to my eyebrows, the dentist peeled back my top lip and got a good close look at those front teeth. I was embarrassed, because really? They are not my best feature. I kinda wished he'd unpeel that lip and put it back where it belonged. 

I've had alot of dental work done in my day. 
Most of my molars are capped and all of my remaining teeth have at least one filling. So I am very familiar with procedures, sounds, equipment and timing. But I was confused while he was working on my tooth today. First of all, it took way longer than it should've. And second of all, he was working on the wrong tooth. (Apparently my ex-bro-in-law went in for some knee surgery last year... and when he woke up THEY HAD DONE THE WRONG KNEE. So he got a refund. And had to rebook another surgery date to get the right one done.) THIS is what was going on in my mind when work was commencing on what I thought was the wrong tooth. 

When he was finished, and had taken off the dam, and suctioned out all my excess spit, I ran my tongue over my teeth.
"You did something, didn't you?" I asked/accused.
"Yeah," he answered.
"What? What did you do?"
"What do you think I did?"
"Well I came in for a filling, but it feels like .... like ... it feels like my teeth are longer..."
"Wow, you're very astute."
"ARE they longer? It ... feels... a... bit.... weird..."
"Here. Look. This is what I did." And he held up a mirror. "Smile," he said.
I hesitantly did a small open lipped smile, and OH MY GOODNESS. My front teeth! They were even. Even in length and color. 
"do not cry. do not cry. do not cry." I said to myself over and over.
"Uh, thanks. Why....? I asked.
"Well, I wasn't happy with your smile. These teeth were uneven and this one had a stained filling, and this one was showing some wear. And I just wanted your smile to be beautiful."
"do not cry. do not cry..."
"This looks amazing. And, yeah, I was embarrassed... How did you make them longer?"
"Oh, just a little bondo, no big deal. As long as you don't start chewing gravel with your front teeth, it should be good."
The one on the left is slightly longer than the one on the right. And it's a bit thicker. I just tried to rip open a Ichiban soup bag and that new tooth? WAY sharper than the one on the right. It's my new go-to tooth. It's got special powers; it gives confidence. 

Drew says all dentists do this. "This" being taking time to do some free cosmetic stuff. (I was the last appointment of the day, so after he did the filling, he prettified the rest of those teeth. I didn't get out of there til after 7 pm.)
Yes? No? Does your dentist surprise you with 'above and beyond' service too? 
I've had this dentist since I was a teenager. I'm afraid he's going to retire soon...

Three things I'm thankful for:
1.  My dentist - Dr. Lee. And I'm thankful that I didn't cry in his office. Tears spilled later, in the car. Drew thinks I'm weird. 
2. Volunteers who can help me stuff envelopes on Friday at my house from 10 - 2 pm. Anyone?
3. Mark my local Yellow Van Handy Man... 

After the dentist appointment, I did my grocery shopping.
I was in Safeway's produce section when the apple stacker asked, "Can I help you find anything?"
He was a guy about my age, I'd guess. "No thanks, I'm good."
He must've been lonely for conversation because then he asked, "How has your day been?"
"It's been fine. I was just at the dentist, so I'm a little frozen from here to here." I said, pointing to my nose and forehead," walking towards the dairy case. 
"What did you have done?"
"Well, I went in for a filling, but he sneakily ended up doing some restorative work on all my front teeth."
"Lucky. Think how nice it's going to be tomorrow morning when your husband will wake up and see that beautiful new smile of yours..."
"Yeah," I answered. "Won't that be something..."



ramblin'andie said...

I've been doing the whole closed mouth smile for a while too. Twenty five years ago the dentist put a temporary cap on one of my front teeth - not sure why - but it is not standing up to the test of time. That and no dental for the last thirteen years means my smile could use some work. Maybe I should get the number of this fantastic Dr. Lee who prettified your smile....

valerie said...

The real story about your teeth beats your dream about your teeth. Yippee for good dentists.