One of my teeth broke off last week. All I was doing was eating a pretzel, which didn’t send off any red, or even yellow flags. Worse news yet, it was the last tooth resident on the left side of my bottom jaw. Hence, a few moments of reflection.
The other teeth went their own way over the years by being pulled. This lone remaining tooth did the work of five other teeth as they were pulled, one by one. Now, I’m faced with not being able to chew on that side, at all, really.
Additionally, I became aware immediately aware that there were other implications, as well as costs. If I wished to replace that tooth with a bridge, there would be no other teeth to anchor it to. An implant of even one tooth would likely be too expensive to bear — now or ever.
The tooth that broke was a large molar, the first in the lineup, as it were. Like most of my teeth, it was cratered with fillings accumulated over the years. At one time, about forty years ago, a painful abscess develop requiring a root canal, and a crown of gold. The dentist warned me then that there was only a thin stem of tooth left, and that, inevitably, someday it was just going to snap off. It seems that day has come, but paradoxically, it was the last to go. Sixty-seven years I had that tooth!
To think it survived repeated hard apples, chicken legs, and tough meat. One bad habit of mine that, I believed, was prefigured to do my tooth in, was chewing ice. But no, it was to be a lowly pretzel. That was one pretzel that pretty literally cost its weight in gold.
As I held my precious, severed tooth in my palm, I reflected: I’m going to miss that tooth!