Teeth have been the bane of my existence from childhood. Our family dentist in Fargo was "old school." He not only did not use novocaine, he also lectured: Stop hollering! or Your teeth are like butter! or Tell your mother you need to drink milk and eat whole grain bread and fresh fruits & vegetables. When I'd tell Mom what he said, she'd get mad, too: Didn't you tell him that's what we eat here? (She was right. I hated those whole wheat sandwiches with peanut butter & honey in my school lunch. Nobody would trade sandwiches with me except once in a while Mary Eide would trade one of her white bread with butter & brown sugar sandwiches.)
And the summer day in 1943 when I came down with polio, I had an appointment with the dentist. His spotlight felt hotter than the sun that afternoon. By the time I got home, I had a blinding headache, and Mom put me to bed. When Dad came home for supper, he came in the bedroom to see how I was. When I got up to go to the bathroom, my head felt heavy, like a pumpkin, and I staggered a bit. Dad knew the symptoms of polio from reading the newspaper, so he called the doctor. The doctor came out, and the next thing I knew, I was riding in an ambulance to the hospital. I got over the polio just fine, but I've never quite recovered from the dentist.
Alas, not only are my own Anglo-Irish teeth wretched, I lost my upper denture when I took it out one day two years ago when it was hurting me. I couldn't find it later. Either my friend's dog found it and chewed it to bits or I zipped it in the small pocket of my rain jacket and forgot it was there. That's the rain jacket I later donated to Good Will. Judging from their hysterics, I brightened Good Will's day a lot when I went back and asked if anyone had turned in my denture.
I lost yet another tooth today. It was one of the workhorses, too--it already had a root canal and a lovely crown. I didn't know it was abcessed until my cheek puffed out last week. It didn't hurt because the nerve was dead. This new dentist is kind, skilled, and gentle--no pain, no strain.
I tend to get emotional when I lose a tooth for good. Bye, little pal. But not this time. I think I'll head for the bead store and buy another tooth for my necklace. If you got it, flaunt it!