Root of the Problem


Good news today! The dentist saved my tooth! I am one happy camper because I was not looking forward to living out the rest of my life with a tooth gap the size of Delaware, which, coincidently, resembles a tooth.


I was in the bed-chair for ninety minutes and opted to forgo Netflix and silencing headphones and instead tune into the sounds and sights of my tooth’s repair, thinking I owed my tooth that much. It had been a good tooth, never bothering me, and when it got in trouble and needed repair, I had totally ignored it, making things all the worse. So much so that I had to do a two-part visit. Part A was nightmare so surely part B was bound to be easier. It had to be. Right?


Part B entailed drilling into the proverbial no-man’s land of my tooth’s root. My dentist couldn’t see where he was aiming, and he mentioned that his target was the size of a milli-second, unseeable, even if he could have seen it. Sometimes honesty isn’t refreshing. Without noise-silencing headphones, the drill sounded like a chain saw, followed by a rat-a-tat-tat that was louder than a jackhammer. He alternated among tools and soon I noticed distinct wisps of smoke emanating from my mouth and wondered if I was on fire. I didn’t think that teeth burned, so maybe he was charting new root-canal territory?


But then, both he and the assistant both flushed and irrigated, which I figured was to extinguish the flames. I said OUCH and he jammed in another syringe filled with something and he patted me on the shoulder for the fourth time, “Are you sure you’re okay?” I meant to say, “Just peachy,” but it came out differently, both words starting and ending with FUF FEACHEYF. The assistant blushed, and the dentist asked for another syringe and called for reinforcements. A second assistant entered the room, snapping her gloves, ready for battle and the two busied themselves passing tools and equipment back and forth across my numbed nose. My eyes shifted back and forth as if I were in a tennis match.


Half an hour later, he smiled (had a mask on so I couldn’t attest to a smile for sure) and said, “You must be living right, you’re good to go. That tooth will live for a long time.” He didn’t give me a deadline, but I’ll take what I can get. My new lightbulbs will last 45 years, maybe this tooth, too?


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And please wear a mask until everyone is vaccinated.