Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Gone, my crowning glory

I've finally given in and let the dentist pull out one of my 1st molars (my bottom right). I had been putting it off for months now since my last check-up. I had become complacent as every 6 months I would be given a clean bill of health. This time the dentist took some fresh X-rays (as the last set were getting old) and spotted a cyst under my molar. So instead of leaving with a smile, he wanted to book me in for an extraction and implant (oh, and a filling but that's trivial).

I think I went into shock - partly because the price tag on the implant went into 4 figures but also because this would be the first time I'd had an adult tooth taken out. The only surgery I'd had before was two different visits to the Battenburg Avenue Clinic for extractions when I was still a kid with milk teeth back in Portsmouth. They used gas then - no local anaesthetics and trying to avoid thinking about what was going on. A golden age...

A month passed by and I still hadn't booked myself in. A letter arrived from the dentist reminding me that little problems can become big problems. My wife had a check-up and Dr Greg gave her a printout of my X-ray to influence my decision to come in. Greg is nothing if not persistent. A month ago I emailed him to say I was still interested and asked for a quote for the work, which they duely sent. November came and my tooth started niggling which is usually a good sign that time is catching up with you. So I gave in and booked a session for after my return from Newcastle. Needless to say, any niggles had completely faded away before then...

I was not looking forward to losing that molar - we went back quite a way together and had had a few ups and downs. As a teen, I hardly ever brushed my teeth - I can recall (with horror now) being able to scrape plaque off my front teeth with my nail. So dental work was common for me and the molar needed some work in the mid 1980s when I was living in Swansea (a filling and a few pins to stop it falling apart).
A decade later and I am on my honeymoon in sunny Cornwall, suffering from toothache. On our return, our local dentist in Woodley did some root canal work and fitted a crown - the crown was fitted so well that she had to drill through it later to clean up an infection. (Unlike Greg's crown on one of my other teeth that was defeated by a Christmas Eve Quality Street toffee...)

Now twelve years on from that and the whole tooth has gone (well, almost... there's a small piece still deep in there that, I am told, the body will absorb over time). I was brave - I actually turned up and hardly broke in a sweat the whole time. I must be getting used to this. Of course, I have more treatment in 3 months to start off the implant work and 3 months after that to put a fresh crown on top. Finally, a course of therapy to get me through the trauma of paying bazillions of pounds for the work.


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