Your Teeth are Old – Keep Up With Them!

This is about teeth…..my teeth. It is also a note for you to make to yourself to begin to pay more attention to your own teeth before they become bitter, angry and twisted and turn on you and bite off your lips. Be careful with your teeth.  They are getting older and older. Don’t let them run away because you weren’t paying attention.

I think I have somewhere between 25 and 30 teeth. I’m not sure exactly because I count them before I go to sleep each night and then I check on them again in the mornings and I often find that they seem to shift around on me in my sleep. They sometimes look different in different lights. I know they have names but I can’t keep the names of my three children straight so my teeth can forget about me knowing their names.

My Daddy used to refer to me as being his child who was “soft in the head” and I think he was right. My teeth are extremely soft and over the years I have broken or chipped six or eight of them on chicken bones or oyster shells and pearls. Through the years I have discovered about half a dozen pearls in raw oysters. They were tiny, about the size of a BB. My poor teeth found every one of those pearls. I have even cracked a tooth or two on streak-of-lean. Katie Mae says, “Stop crunching that fatback before you break a tooth,” and sure enough a piece of tooth will pop right out stuck in an un-chewable piece of streak-of-lean.

I couldn’t stand not knowing so I went to the bathroom that has one of those round magnifying mirrors and I counted my teeth. I have 27. Thanks to the miracles of modern day dentistry and to the fact that Dr. Robert Margeson could work dental magic in his practice all those years ago back in Albany, Georgia. He actually saved several teeth that I’m pretty sure were not keepers.

He pulled my top wisdom teeth as slick as a whistle with no problems at all but when he got to the two on bottom they had foolishly grown roots similar to the gnarled and twisted roots on big mango trees in old Tarzan movies. I don’t think they had mango trees in Africa but Tarzan movies weren’t shot in Africa.

Dr. Margeson had to employ a small leather foot stool to stand on for leverage so he could yank those bottom wisdom teeth out of my head. One tooth took three, one-hour trips to his office before he dug out the last broken root. The other came out intact and he was so excited he drilled a hole in it so I could wear it on a chain around my neck to impress the girls. I never did that. I was pretty slow but I knew a wisdom tooth with roots on it shaped like Dracula’s hand was not a thing attractive to a young girl.

He was the most likable guy you would ever want to meet. He loved his profession and members of my family went to him from the time he moved from Cordele to Albany until he became ill and could no longer work. I must have gone to him for over 30 years. He was the magician who kept the questionable ivories intact and in my mouth.

He saved what was left of my favorite tooth. I was dancing uncontrollably on the top of a banquet table at the old Moose Lodge. Julian Whiting’s Mother and Father had thrown a big high school graduation party for him and I somehow had consumed a fiery liquid that made me think I was a Bird of Paradise doing my first heart-inflamed mating dance.

Unfortunately I was not as nimble of foot as the Bird of Paradise and I fell from the table and struck my mouth on the back of a metal folding chair. The fiery liquid drink rendered the blow painless but the broken-in-two favorite tooth popped off and spiraled into that place where lost teeth go to die. I never saw that piece of tooth again but Dr. Margeson made the top piece well and he capped it and I was as pretty as ever. He even put a certain sparkle in it that seemed to mesmerize the girls.

And now as I get older and I don’t much give much of a damn whether there is a sparkle in it or not, I find stranger and more bizarre things happening to some of my most beloved body parts. My teeth. I eat with them. I eat lots of good food with them.

Katie Mae and I were living in Statesboro when I found that a small tooth on the bottom front was treating me badly. It was abscessed. I went to my dentist in Swainsboro where we had lived before. He seemed frightened by the whole situation and sent me to see a Savannah endodontist. These folks are root canal pros. The man cleared up the abscess and said, “Let’s keep an eye on it, it’s going to abscess again.”

I thought this a little strange but sure enough it did abscess a second time and once again he cleared up the infection and did a root canal on the tooth.

It abscessed a third time so he cleared up the infection. When it abscessed for the fourth time, he pulled the tooth, cleaned up the root and stuck it back in my jaw to see if it would take root, so to speak. He wired it to some nearby teeth so it couldn’t walk away from the kind of rough treatment it was getting.

The wire fell out. I was in Albany, Georgia and Dr. Anna Veilands graciously agreed to see me and being the excellent dentist and fine woman that she is, she wired it back in most competently. It did not fall out again.

Over a year later Dr. Veilands took the wire out again. I had moved to Athens, GA by this time and I never again visited the Savannah endodontist. I figured the tooth had either grown back into my jawbone or it was ready to take a nose dive to the floor.

It has not fallen out but it has never felt really good. It is an ugly tooth and I have never much liked it but I thought it had stuck with me for over 65 years and it deserved a second chance. It feels strange in my mouth and I sometimes wonder if it isn’t trying to form a rebellious abscess once again.

Maybe I should show it to Dr. Veilands again . There are few males practicing as professionals these days that are as good as the women. Women will listen to your sad stories and, almost always, they can fix the problem.

Right now I am self-medicating with a dry mouth oral rinse called biotene. It’s touted as a protein-enzyme system (whatever that means) that refreshes without burning. It’s an oral rinse that relieves dryness of your mouth and soothes oral irritations. I use it in the middle of the night when my mouth gets really dry and I think it may be helping the rebellious tooth. It’s supposed to help damaged teeth.

I believe it can have a dual purpose. If you want to try it and it doesn’t work for you and your life is getting to be a huge bore and you think you need a little action, the bottle this stuff comes in has a beautiful little capped spout at the top that makes it perfect for you to walk over where your wife is peacefully sleeping, about two in the morning, and squirt a good shot of it in her ear.

Your boredom will be relieved for months to come and you won’t have to worry about any of your teeth. The will be all gone.