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Yesterday I got a new tooth. That isn’t the latest in CRISPR technology of growing a new tooth, that will have to wait for a few more years, but a new crown. A couple of weeks ago I unexpectedly chipped the back off tooth # 22, as you can barely see in the beautiful selfie I made. Many people would have ignored the problem forever, but I called my dentist immediately, and she thought the tooth would have continued to degrade because there wasn’t anything holding it together but the front surface. It looks okay in the photo below but it’s all show and little substance. There was zero pain in the whole event because the nerve wasn’t exposed, and there was no pain in the procedure of grinding away some of the tooth to make a firm foundation for the replacement. As horrible as I look in the photo below it wasn’t particularly annoying except that I couldn’t talk in my usual articulate way.

An upside down view as a dentist sees his patients.

This is how my dentist sees me … and you too.

The temporary tooth I have been smiling with all week looked fine, and none of my friends commented upon my invisible imperfection, but the new permanent tooth looks even better. It looks like it belongs in my face even more than the original which you can see above in its last minute of existence in that venue.

My dentist seems to think the fact that most of my teeth have their original roots living naturally is surprising for someone 82 years old, but I am saddened because of their less than perfect general condition. Back in the 1930s and 1940s when I was growing up in Spokane, Washington, there was a controversy about fluoride being put into the water. Many claimed it was a communist conspiracy, or a Nazi plot, to weaken America. Without any natural fluoride, teeth are not very resistant to decay, and Spokane water didn’t have any fluoride, and thus people like my father and mother had dentures from my first knowledge of such things. That’s just the way it was, so no one thought much about it.

It wasn’t until I was off to college, and on my own, that I started even thinking about taking care of my health and my teeth. I made a lot of money over the summer working in Antelope, Oregon, and after a couple of months into my first year of college I went to a dentist and had a lot of work done. My dentist at that time seemed to like me and tried to get me to become a dentist. He was so excited about this idea that he had me watching all the procedures being done to me in a mirror. I remember clearly the visits, my looking into my mouth, about like the picture above, but with this guy’s hands and instruments hacking and hewing away at “me”. At one particularly grueling event, where I overly identified with the carnage going on within “me”, I fainted. I later discovered this is a common event in medical school when prospective doctors start cutting on real people. But this wasn’t other people. This was “ME”.

I enjoyed my dental visit and as I was scheduled for an hour we talked about our personal adventures for fifty minutes.