New Choppers

Hair is the first thing. And teeth the second. Hair and teeth. A man got those two things he’s got it all.
James Brown

Oh, well, one out of two isn’t bad.   From the time I can remember I have struggled with my choppers.  As a young teenager the dentist pulled out one of my front teeth to “straighten out” my smile.   It didn’t work.

In my late teens, I dove into a pool, didn’t pull up in time, and drove my front tooth into the bottom of the pool and chipped it off.  My mom took me to a dentist in Juarez, Mexico and he put in a crown.    It only lasted a few short years before it discolored.     After I moved back to El Paso and opened my law practice, I worked out a trade deal with a dentist and traded dental work for legal work.       Boy did he get the short end of the stick.  He put in a great crown that to this day looks absolutely awesome.

Unfortunately, that is the only tooth that has survived years of a constant battle with teeth that chipped, broke, or just rotted away.  No matter how hard I tried to keep up with the flossing and brushing, one by one my teeth kept falling apart.    Little by little, the one thing that everyone said that they liked about me, my smile, went away.  I was just too embarrassed to smile because of the horrible looking teeth that surrounded that one beautiful looking crown.    It even began to affect me at work because I noticed that I would try to keep my mouth from opening too much while I taught.   Lots of mumbling, apparently.

All this time my lovely wife has constantly told me that I did not have to suffer like this.  We constantly would hear commercials about dental clinics that would take care of this for me, but I kept putting it off saying that there were other things I needed to take care of first.  Part of it was fear of the unknown, part of it was not wanting to hear the lecture from the dentist about letting my teeth get to that point.    It’s not like I purposely let my teeth get that way.

The options were not pretty.   I saw my mom and dad struggle with dentures, and I saw how old it made them look when they had their teeth pulled and they waited for their new teeth to come in.   My mom and dad both would seldom wear both sets of teeth because of the pain, discomfort and inconvenience.  I just could not see me doing that.    Dental implants are a solution, but most of them require a full 6 months of healing before they place the final crown.  Taking care of all my teeth would have required several years of work at an enormous cost.   The only other option, I thought, was to let things go as they were.   That really was not an option.  Besides being unwilling to smile, it also affected the way I eat.

Anyway, in October my wife convinced me to go to a presentation from a clinic that specializes in implants.  They will remove all the bad teeth, place implants, and give you some temporary bridges the same day.  Permanent teeth go in 6 months after the implants fully heal.  Not cheap, but well worth the investment.  After a 3D cat scan, I saw exactly how bad my situation was.  Not only were my teeth failing, but I had some serious infections that could have permanently ruined my heart, kidney, liver, etc.  It also explained the constant sinus infections I had that seemed to last all year long.    The extreme fatigue and general feeling of malaise also could be attributed to it.     One good thing – the doctor told me that I was fighting a losing battle with my teeth.  Apparently some people have a genetic disposition to harbor bacteria and infection in their teeth.  I was one of them.

So, on November 9th I go in for my new smile.  It is going to take some adjustments.  For the first 3 months I have to eat nothing but soft foods while my implants heal.  Of course there will be some pain, discomfort and bruising after the surgery, but in the end, I will be able to do what I always have liked to do – SMILE.   It’s worth every penny.

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