My Tooth Fairy Was Dracula.

Dracula 3

I’m not sure which of the old Draculas we have here but this guy was pretty smooth. She looks like she might have been having a good time but then when you lose a lot of blood I understand you tend to get a trifle faint.

The scarier ones are always in color. That way you   know exactly where he’s looking and you can feel your jugular vein twitch because you know he needs to replenish his blood plasma and fresh platelets from your priming pump.

Dracula 2 Has it ever occurred to you that you can get an old tooth pulled, have it cleaned and polished up and slapped back in your head and it will continue to flourish and grow and someday it will once again become a  productive contributing member to the rapidly diminishing community of usable teeth you possess. No? Well it didn’t occur to me either.

You too can have an incisor re-implanted in your jaw just as I did. This is a true story with little to no embellishment. It’s too weird to be a lie.

It began with an abscessed tooth on the lower front. It was bad. I knew it was bad because it scared the hell out of my dentist and he said so. He said he was afraid to touch it. The area beneath my tongue was so swollen my tongue was protruding like one on a hungry pig. I tend to watch a dentist’s eyes and I saw fear in this fellow’s eyes. I thought he was scared I had cancer.He prescribed me antibiotics and sent me to an endodontist in another town.

The new dentist said as soon as the infection cleared that it might not happen again and if it did it might be a pretty good while before that happened. He was wrong. It abscessed again in a couple of weeks. Antibiotics saved me again and now the dentist tells me it will happen again and he will try something new.

That tooth abscessed four times before the new man told me he was very successful ten or twelve times each year pulling a tooth and cleaning up the tooth and the socket from which it sprang and putting it back in the patient’s jaw. He said new bone would form around the tooth and it would work once again.

I should have known better. This endodontist was a great guy. I really enjoyed talking to him but I noticed his office staff had at least two kinds of audial pollution blaring in his office. They had a TV roaring out front and some kind of funky rock on a radio. I was beginning to worry that his brain might be somewhat scrambled.

Another thing that bothered me was the guy never wore socks. Rumor had it his partner did not wear shoes when he worked on patients. Maybe I had the best one. At least he wound up with the shoes.

He did his magic on the tooth and he wired the tooth to adjoining teeth to keep it in place while all this new miraculous bone formed around to make it as solid as a rock. For one year I went back and forth to the endodontist who faithfully x-rayed the tooth and told me each time we needed to leave the tooth in a while longer. It was pretty obvious my jaw-bone growth was not cooperating with me and the dentist.

I moved to Athens, Georgia and got a friend in my old home town of Albany, Georgia who happens to be one of the world’s best dentists to take the wire off my teeth. Only a few months later the tooth bit the proverbial dust, or in this case, the corn pone. The corn pone was pretty hard. It was harder than the new bone that was supposed to have formed around the hapless tooth.

The broken off tooth did not come out of my jaw. I had to go see a (guess what) yep a dentist. Then my real problems began.

A cardiologist told me I had afib which is atrial fibrillation. Because the heart valves all become tired of each other they refuse to beat in rhythm. You can help control the thickness of your blood by taking coumadin which is warfarin which is rat poison and is the active ingredient in D-Con (that’s right, rat poison). Warfarin thins the blood.

They have a coumadin clinic where they often check your blood so they can tell if it’s of the proper consistency. Too thin, you can bleed to death. Too thick, you can have a heart attack or stroke from a blood clot.

The new dentist would not pull the tooth until I had just the right amount of thick in my blood. I thought he was being overly cautious. I was wrong. We finally hit his number on the INR chart that guides you through life with bloody warnings of too thick or too thin.

So the first thing I asked the new dentist was does he wear socks to work and he said, “Oh, yes sir, I always have my socks on at work.”

So he pulled the tooth and everything was cool. I went home and I felt fine. The dentist’s nurse called and wanted to know how I was doing and how I felt. I told them I felt fine and I was fine at that particular moment.

Thirty minutes later I was bleeding from that socket like a stuck pig. I bled for eight or ten straight hours and at the risk of being totally gross I can tell you if you bleed like that in your mouth and you continually pack your mouth full of gauze, the gauze will turn horribly black from the old blood.

I was up and down all night .I looked under my bed several times for Dracula. I never saw him but I’m pretty sure he was nearby the whole time. I would have been a feast for him but he could tell I was scared and if you scare me I will beat you half to death with a sharp stake right before I drive it through your sorry heart.

And that’s my sad story. The really pathetic part is I’m about five grand shy from doctoring a tooth I never could stand. It was the ugliest tooth in my mouth and I always hated it. Well it got me back for all that ill will I dealt it over the years. It cost me five thousand dollars to get rid of it.

This should be a good lesson for all of you old timers especially. Chances are you are not going to grow enough new jawbone to securely hold an old ugly tooth in your mouth so don’t let anybody talk you into trying to get the tooth to take root in your jaw again and be damned sure your dentist wears socks.

Ben and Dentist 4

Notice how nonchalant and casual I am in a dentist’s chair. This was shortly before I broke off one of the arms on this chair when he kept poking me in the mouth with that big old needle.

Ben and dentist

I think the offending tooth is gone in this photo but you can easily see how ugly those bottom teeth were. They are still pretty ugly but I have always counted on my natural good looks and other handsome features to carry a person past the first shock of seeing those strange teeth.

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Your Teeth are Old – Keep Up With Them!

This is about teeth… 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.