The last few weeks have been somewhat challenging. Dental work. Oh yes, teeth. The little bastards. If you fail to look after them properly you’re gonna get problems. As the sign above the dentist chair points out: ‘You don’t need to brush all your teeth just the ones you want to keep.’ Oh so very clever, especially when, out of the corner of your eye, you see the dentist’s hand approaching, holding a needle! Laughed? I nearly shat myself.
Upper left molar
On my initial visit to yet another NHS dentist (gosh there have been so many) I was asked how things are; “have you had any problems?” Kind of thing. ‘No, not really’ was my reply. ‘Except one of my two remaining molars on the upper left side looks and feels a little poorly.’ He took a look and the outcome wasn’t good. “Um, if you want to keep that, it’ll need a grown.” he said.
So a few weeks later; back to the chair, and the drilling commences. If you’re unaware of what’s involved in the preparation for a crown, it basically means having the tooth ground away, to remove all the decay. A small shapeless stump remains. Impressions of this are made and a new cover for the tooth (crown) is then fabricated in a lab somewhere. The crown is made up of an amalgamation of metal and porcelain and takes about two weeks to make. Once made, you pop back to the dentist, and have it bonded on to the stump.
It’s the fortnight inbetween that’s the challenge
Yes, in order to protect the stump, the dentist makes a temporary crown made out of plastic (or something). The only problem being, this little temporary thing is shit and falls off almost immediately. Now, because the poorly tooth has been ground down, and very little enamel remains, it becomes extremely sensitive. To cut a long story short, I’ve not been able to eat on the left side of my mouth, for two weeks. Anything hot, cold, sweet or crunchy must be treated with extreme caution. Stop eating, basically.
Now, I’m sure you’ve come up with the reasoning; why didn’t you go back to the dentist and have the plastic tooth replaced? That is a question I’ve been asking myself. I suppose the answer to that is, I didn’t believe it would have made a whole lot of difference, because you need to be so cautious with it anyway, it’s pointless. And anyway, on my return to the dentist, when I mentioned how the plastic, temporary tooth, had immediately fallen off, he just shrugged his shoulders. Tough titties really. No appreciation of a shitty two weeks trying to deal with eating. And I do love my food.
To the point
I have a new tooth! Hurrah! It feels beautiful. I like running my tongue over it. It feels so smooth. The old one was rough and decayed with two fillings, one had collapsed, and the other felt sharp and protruding. Now though, I have a beautiful new one. I munch with it; I chew; I masticate. I now have three crowns (one either side on the bottom jaw and one top left). How they make these things is remarkable and I’m told it should (provided I look after it) last for twenty years. It might even outlive me, but I doubt it.
When we think of it, a whole industry has been built up on neglect, and our love of sugar. I read just this morning that athletes, even though they look after their teeth better than the average, actually have more tooth decay than most. Apparently, it’s all the energy drinks, gels and food bars they get through. But so what? Just let the little bastards rot and get them crowned I say.
Of course I’m overdoing things a bit there
Prevention is of course better than cure. So don’t go sharing my advice with the kids. Far better to gently teach them how to care for themselves and their teeth and so avoid the distress visiting a dentist can cause. Dentists, bless them, do a wonderful job. However, they are the first to say, how they’d much rather the kids who visited them, had healthy teeth. Having teeth fixed is such an invasive, unpleasant experience, that unless you’re the masochistic Arthur Denton (Bill Murray) in Little Shop of Horrors, who asked for “a long, slow, root canal,” it will always be an unpleasant experience. I feel the more we can avoid stress, and focus on having fun, the better. The healthier we are the better. It’s my belief that our health, mental and physical, is THE most important thing.
Our expertise is in helping people gain greater understanding of the things that matter most
The ways in which we welcome unnecessary stress into our lives is one of these understandings. How we do unhealthy, to ourselves, is not all that well understood. How we neglect our mental and physical health is increasingly overlooked. By raising our awareness, to how we create our own problems, brings magical relief from much of the unnecessary stress and suffering in life.
Proactive healthcare, is always going to be the best policy. Prevention is better than cure. I would prefer to have healthy teeth without crowns. It is nice to have a new tooth, but it will never be the real thing, now will it?
What stress do you bring on through neglecting the self? Could you better know yourself? Could someone close to you teach you how to have increased independence? There comes a time when there is no one to tell us how to look after ourselves, and so we must start doing this, for ourselves. It might put a few dentists, lab technicians or therapists out of work, and yet let’s face it, there are potentially far too many of them enjoying your money right now.