Monday 3 November 2014

My Bionic Mouth

One of my molars broke in half today, freeing a gritty clot of silver and mercury into my mouth which I swallowed, out of habit. So, if this and all future blogs make even less sense than usual, it's probably due to heavy metal poisoning.

In the last 5 years, I've had about 4 teeth break. And they don't do it at times one might expect. One broke while I was sipping water. Another in the middle of a sentence I happened to be speaking, as I am oft wont to do with sentences. Today's tooth broke on a scotch mint... which I was sucking, not chewing.

Why is this happening to me? According to my doctor, age is a factor. Since turning 40, I've noticed that this seems to be the number one explanation preferred by health professionals...

HEALTH PROFESSIONAL: "Go home and take this pill."

ME: "Will it cure me?"

HEALTH PROFESSIONAL (chuckling): "There's no cure for old, but it will help you get used to taking more pills."

Personally, I prefer to blame the dentist of my youth...

*** *** ***

When my father was 16 years old, he walked in to the local dentist in the small town where he lived and asked to have all of his teeth pulled because he didn't want to brush anymore. And that dentist obliged! My father has endured dentures, since that day.

From this, you would think my parents would have been far more suspicious of our family dentist who found a cavity on every visit... for 15 years.

For the purposes of this article, I shall refer to this man as Dr. Rudy Wells (not his real name) for two reasons: First, based on the amount of metal in my mouth I have to assume he's filthy rich with idle time and money enough to sue me, and Second, Dr. Rudy Wells was the name of the fictional scientist who reassembled test pilot Steve Austin and turned him in to the $6M Man, which, again based on the amount of metal in my body, I assume he was attempting to do to me. Near miss.

When we set out to choose a new dentist, I think that among the things we should know about them are their basic beliefs and their hobbies. Ultimately, you want one who values the wisdom of nature at least as much as the cleverness of modern science and who does woodworking, in his spare time.

Dr. Wells had neither attribute. He filled my mouth with so much silver that I have since developed a phobia of prospectors. My molars are weak due to the fact that they are now merely a thin casing protecting a thick inner core of toxic metal. He obviously preferred science to nature because he carved away as much natural substance as possible. And, if he had been a woodworker, he would have known that such a structure would be prone to failure. If he had been a woodworker who read Marvel comics, he might have used Adamantium. That would have been cool and withstood the test of time—though not the test of reality.

My parents sent me to Dr. Wells twice a year. Every time, he found cavities and added more metal. I never questioned the process until I was about twenty years old. That's when I started paying the bill myself. That's also when I made the obvious connection that cavities—and poverty—were caused by visits to the dentist. To test my theory, I stopped semi-annual visits opting instead for a checkup about every 5 years with a different dentist. And guess what? Look ma', no cavities!

In the last 30 years, I've had only two or three small cavities. And, I laughed all the way to the bank— which, fortunately, is very close to my house. I did not laugh inside the bank because, for some reason, excessive laughter inside a bank always sounds maniacal and makes people uneasy.

I have a new dentist now, Dr. Z (Not an alias—his last name starts with Z and is pretty much unpronounceable. I actually call him Dr. Z. Makes me feel like James Bond until he pokes a needle in my gum at which time I become Pussy Galore.)

I trust Dr. Z. to only do work that is absolutely necessary. It might be that he has the right beliefs and hobbies but, just as likely, he simply sees more than enough work ahead, repairing the damage.

The only nice thing about all of this is that fillings have come a long way in 30 years. Now, I go in with crumbling metal chompers and come out with gleaming white pillars of enamel-like polymer. The inside of my mouth is slowly getting a makeover.

And, I can safely sip water, once again.

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