Saturday, July 6, 2013

Losing Teeth in My Thirties

I don’t smoke crack; I don’t smoke anything for that matter. I don’t drink alcohol, nor do I chew tobacco. I take care of my teeth; I brush them I floss them and I give them good food to chew on.
So, why is it at the age of 31 I look like one of those guys from Alabama whose only use for teeth is to pop his beer can open?
Well, I fell down. And here’s the story.
It all started when I was ten years old. I was on the way to my bus stop and I forgot my recorder. We didn't have to bring them everyday so I often forgot it on the days I needed it. The kids at the bus stop weren't very helpful either.
"Hey guys," I yelled the few hundred feet from my house to the bus stop, “Do we need our recorders today?"
They discussed for a moment, this should have been my first hint, “Yeah, you’d better go get it."
I turned to run home and I never reached my recorder. In the fourth grade it was very cool to walk around with your thumbs hooked into your backpack straps. It was uncool, however, to fall down while doing this. 
I fell down.
I didn't get my hands in front of me in time and my face smacked into the same ice I slipped on. Now, I’ll freely admit I was a bit of a cry baby when I was 10. Heck, when I was 15. So, when the kids down the street heard me crying they just started laughing. Until, that is, I stood up. Even from down the block they saw that something was wrong with my face. I knew I was bleeding, but didn't know how bad. I walked back home and just as my dad was heading out the door for work he saw my face. My two front teeth were gone. 
I won’t tell you what he said, but it was pretty bad. Needless to say I didn't go to school that day, nor did my dad go to work. Now my dad wasn't usually the person I went to when I really needed something. My mom took me to ALL my doctor appointments, clothes shopping, you name it, so being with my dad that morning was not what I wanted. 
In all honesty I can’t remember what happened with the rest of the day. I remember being taken to the dental hospital in Minneapolis and they gave me Novocain and fixed me up a little. I don’t know if they finished all in one day or if it took awhile. I bet it took awhile because if I want to get my current teeth done again they have to send things to labs and it takes a few weeks.
I do remember looking in the mirror when the teeth were done though. My first thought was, “My goodness, I’m a beaver." The teeth were huge and I was told they’d be huge for several years. Why? Because mouths grow and I still had plenty of baby teeth (lost the last one when I was 16). So, I would have to live with buck teeth for quite a while.
Well, I grow into my teeth and things go well for several years. There was a gingerbread cookie incident which caused me to need a reattachment of one of my front teeth, but that wasn’t too bad. I got braces when I was 15 or 16 and I was about to get them off when I was 17 when, you guessed it, I ate a steering wheel. Now, I’ve told the car accident story in a BLOG before, so I won’t bore you again. Needless to say I lost one of my two front teeth again and the other was in bad shape.
Low and behold I got it fixed again and I was pretty happy. I had a good looking smile again and things were going well. Sure I need to wear braces for 4 more years, but I coped.
One of the things that happened to me during the accident and recovery was that I found out that I don’t heal like normal people do. My bones often Ankylos while healing. That’s when the bones and joints fuse together and restrict movement. I got this in both my jaw sockets and could only open about a half inch for 6 years. I didn't know the joints had ankylosed until I went to my dentist in Minnesota to get a tooth pulled. She numbed me up gave  a pull and nothing happened. She repeated several times until it broke. The tooth had fused to my jaw. She sent me to an oral surgeon and he fixed my tooth and after a while fixed my jaw. He explained what Ankylosis was and how I’m prone to it. So, when my dentist here in Kodiak told me my tooth had ankylosed I knew what he was taking about and was okay when he brought out the chainsaw (j/k).
My teeth are messed up and I’m okay with that. I made some poor choices in my youth and now I’m paying for them. There are options though. Right now I’m wearing a partial that I almost always take out when I’m eating, but I might get implants in a few years. They are pretty costly, however, and I may only get two done instead of the four tooth gap I currently have. Or, maybe I’ll just have them all pulled and wear dentures. I guess I’ll make that choice when it arrives.
My advice to you kids out there who don’t brush their teeth because you don’t care is to shape up. I had a very laissez faire attitude toward my teeth in my early years and am now paying for it (with money). So, yeah take care of your teeth while your young, because when you’re older your parents won’t pay for your tooth extractions.