Pharos-Tribune

Columns

June 5, 2014

WILLIAMS: Tooth of the matter

If you happen to meet me on the street and I don’t smile, please don’t assume that I’m being unfriendly. The fact is that I may never smile again, the reason being that I just had a front tooth pulled and I look like Maw Kettle. (Maw may be too far in the past for you younger readers but I can’t think of a modern version. Is there a tooth-gapped little old lady in Swamp People?)

I’ve always had bad teeth and I’m missing several but fortunately, until now, they were all in the back of my mouth. My teeth have been the despair of my dentist. She wrings her hands every time I visit her. She’s filled them and patched them as best she could. She warned me years ago that my front teeth were loose and wouldn’t last much longer. I told her that she had to save them until I retired. Doubtfully, she said she’d do the best she could.

That was five years ago but now her predictions are coming true. The tooth I lost broke off at the gum line. It had to come out. Both the dentist and the oral surgeon recommended having the top four front teeth pulled at the same time since they are so bad.

Sadly, they also informed me that the teeth around those four weren’t strong enough to hold a partial plate. My jaw bone isn’t strong enough to hold implants. So, really, they said, I probably should just bite the bullet and have all my top teeth removed, replacing them with dentures.

My insurance pays for neither extractions nor dentures.

The oral surgeon was horrified when I told him to take out the broken tooth and leave the rest.

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