the tooth of the matter

back in the 4th grade, some buddies and i were playing an athletic version of follow the leader around the school yard. it was probably based on the idea that we were all planning on being star athletes when we got into high school. or it may have been because we were training to be on a swat team. whatever the case, we were running through the monkey bars, doing chin-ups, balancing while running down steel beams, and jumping over things. one particular thing — a concrete gutter extender for the drains, probably about a foot high and a foot and a half wide — was my downfall. literally. the front of my lead foot caught on it, tripping me forward. i caught my fall on the far edge of the concrete drain. with my face. specifically, with my left front tooth. my friends huddled around me, checking to make sure i was okay. one of them realized part of my front tooth was missing. they gathered the pieces they could find and i was off to the dentist. fortunately, only the bottom third or so of the tooth was broken off so the nerve wasn’t exposed. the dentist checked it out, then put filler on the bottom to finish out the tooth and make it look complete.
this fix has been with me since then. it’s discolored unequally over the years compared to my teeth, but it’s held on. every time i would go to a new dentist, they would marvel that it had stayed on that long. in addition to being discolored, it also wore a bit faster. so for both of those reasons, and perhaps to make some money, the dentists would always offer to put something new on there so it wouldn’t be discolored and would match my other front tooth. i always declined.
a couple of weeks ago, it must have finally worn down to (or close to) at least part of the original tooth. i’m not sure what happened to cause it, but one day i realized i could feel a crack running up the side of my tooth. after about a week or two, i then realized i could feel a whole sliver loose on the back left side of my tooth. it’d been probably about 6 years since i’d been to a dentist, so i decided i should make a dental appointment to have it checked out — along with my teeth in general. the next morning, the sliver fell out while i was brushing my teeth. like last time, no pain or anything, so no exposed nerve, but a chunk of tooth gone.
on monday i went to the dentist, and she found two low-grade cavities on matching upper molars on each side, and suggested i get a crown for my front tooth. other than that, my gums and everything else looked good. (not too bad imo, considering how long it’d been since i got a cleaning or anything.)
so this afternoon i went and had the work done. i’m not really a fan of dental work — especially when it involves them giving you shots in your gums — but i dealth with it. i am currently wearing a temporary crown while they make the ceramic one to match my real teeth and bite, which should arrive in about two weeks. and the painkillers they used are still slowly wearing off. hopefully getting a crown was a good choice. i had kind of hoped they could just fix up the tooth like they did in 4th grade, but that’s not what they suggested. and since my dental insurance is pretty dang good, the cost of what i got done was pretty minimal.
oh yeah. i still have that sliver of tooth, if anyone needs it to perform some kind of ritual.

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