I kid chew not


I watch in amazement the singers like Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, or Dolly Parton, when they're holding the long notes and their larynxes tremor with vibrato. It's not the dangle-like-a-punching-bag epiglottis that gets my attention. It's the TV camera close-up of their bottom teeth. They're white! I figure they've either had dental implants or they've replaced their silver fillings with caulk.

If I had another cavity, I'd have to carry it in my hand. Some of my fillings are 60 years old. Sadly, when I have a hearty belly laugh, I broadcast how many times I've had decay drilled from my teeth. Eating Oreos and laughing will do the same thing, though. My mother was the smart one. When she had her teeth pulled before she got dentures, she asked the dentist to save the silver. Voila! She went straight to the jeweler and had a pinky ring made. I had a hip replaced about six months ago, and I probably should have asked to take my arthritic hip home with me so I could make a Martha Stewart dried arrangement. Nah.

Several weeks ago I broke one of my historic teeth (stupid Tootsie Roll), and my dentist gave me a choice between a permanent bridge and an implant. Truthfully, I'd rather slide down a razor blade into a pool of alcohol than have dental work. Kill me now. But, nothing lasts forever and an unattended toothache can make a person kick out a windshield . . . even when methodically chewing on one side only and sticking the tongue over the tooth when drinking. Choosing the bridge was an easy decision (cha-CHING).

This morning I completed my "tour" in the oral surgeon's chair as he tapped, prodded, pulled, and yanked out the rest of my tooth. For me, it was like watching a stainless steel ballet of shiny drills, crochet hooks, and sparkling wands that glided and intertwined in a mid-air synchronization. For the surgeon and his assistant, it was probably something between installing a ceiling fan and separating conjoined twins. Then he sent me home, where I sat and drooled into a coffee cup until the feeling came back in my mouth.

I had tongue-in-cheek (right cheek only) fun in writing this article. It will be a long six weeks for the place to heal, since the gap lies within my smile space. Lanny suggested I chew a piece of white chewing gum and stick it in the space to camouflage the hole. I took his advice and put a piece of gum in my mouth to quickly chew and soften it before meeting friends for lunch. Just before I got out of the car, I carefully formed the wad, placed it in my gap, and took a look in the mirror. Huh-oh.

Spearmint GREEN.


  Huntington Beach News

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