A recent visit from my nephew, who has braces, made me think back on the super-long (and incredibly expensive) process of fixing my own jaw. Braces, pins, brackets, jaw-spreaders – not the fun kind – and more stitches, needles, and metal in my mouth than I ever thought I’d need. I looked back in my journal, and found this entry, rescued from June 29th, 2005, about one of the last steps. I’d had the wires removed, the brackets done, the pins were holding, I still had to have a couple of veneers built over where the teeth had been broken, and – to add insult to injury – I’d gotten a cavity behind where the jaw-spreader was anchored (basically, beneath the metal where it was attached to one of my molars).
So, this morning, while he’s working, the dentist says, “Oops.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I know what I mean when I say “Oops.” “Oops,” roughly translated into common parlance, is “Oh fucking hell!” with a dash of “Hrm, I’m surrounded by customers and/or company in front of which I dare not utter foul language.”
There was, thereafter, a cracking sound, and a sort of pressure feeling. Happily, I was needled up with a double dose, but perhaps my eyes made a bit of a frowny-face, as the dental assistant then said, “Oh no.” She patted my shoulder.
“What the hell is going on?” I said. Given how many fingers, tubes, and bits of metal were in my numb mouth, though, it came out sort of like, “Wha na ha ih ho-nh ha?”
“We’re going to need a little longer,” said my dentist, mysteriously. “One of your teeth just broke.”
I pondered this from my numbed, prone, sheet-of-plastic-over-most-of-my-face position, and shrugged and gave a thumb’s up. Ride on, buddy.
“I’ll need to give you some more freezing, I think,” he said.
The thumb’s up went down, and was replaced by one finger. He laughed, but he did it anyway.
I wonder how the poor people waiting for my dentist after me felt when they were told he’d be another hour.
On the other hand, I have a very white new (mostly fake) tooth where the wrap-around cuff of the jaw-spreader used to be. It’s very hard to brush (and thereby prevent cavities) on a surface that is covered in metal for twenty months, oddly enough. And if you drill it, it might crumble.
That should be the title of a porn movie.