Hello, and happy Friday.
I want to tell you a story about my tooth.
The story begins many years ago, when I was working contract jobs, and didn’t have any dental coverage. Due to my lack of coverage, and my irresponsible neglectful behaviour, I didn’t go to the dentist for quite some time. But after I got engaged, I thought I better get my teeth cleaned before the big day. In addition to getting them cleaned, I was diagnosed with a cavity. The cavity was on the molar on the bottom right side of my mouth. Let’s call this tooth Clancy.
Clancy’s cavity got filled, but he was never the same after that. The filling made Clancy a shape that encouraged food particles to get mashed up underneath him, and so he got flossed a lot. That helped Clancy in some ways, but he knew his odd shape made him a target for more cavities.
Which is exactly what happened. Clancy’s new filling was a little better shaped than his last, and so he breathed a sigh of relief, hoping that he would get a break from the tartar build-up that is known to cause cavities.
And Clancy did get a break. He was getting cleaned regularly, and life was pretty good. However, Clancy was too wise for his own good. He had heard that life outside the mouth was getting tougher, and that would mean that life inside the mouth would eventually get tougher for him. Unfortunately, Clancy was right. He was cleaned less regularly, and due to his sensitive nature, he was feeling hurt. When Clancy finally did get properly cleaned, he was also diagnosed with another cavity.
Clancy was starting to wonder “why me?” Indeed. Why was Clancy the target when there were other teeth that hadn’t ever got a cavity. Some of those teeth were even known for biting the inside of the mouth’s cheek, causing pain that Clancy would never dare inflict. Life seemed so unfair. But Clancy, being a “mouth half full” kind of guy, shrugged it off, and was ready to get poked and prodded yet again.
And as the day of the cavity filling approached, Clancy felt prepared. He’d been through this before, and looked forward to getting it over with.
When the time came, the procedure started off the usual way. A large intimidating needle was used to numb his feelings, but when the numbing didn’t work, Clancy was a little concerned. He shrugged it off, though, and figured everything would be fine.
Then came the second needle, the third, and the fourth. With each needle, the rest of the mouth was getting more and more inebriated, but when the drill came for Clancy, he squealed in pain. The numbing didn’t work. He was more sober than ever. “What gives?” he thought. This had never happened to him before.
He felt defeated when finally it was decided that Clancy’s cavity had to wait for another day.
But that day turned into weeks, and then months, and then a year. Clancy struggled to keep himself together, but it was becoming more and more difficult. He ached with despair, and noticed that he wasn’t getting any food to chew lately – the mouth was clearly favouring the left side now. The other teeth didn’t know what to say, which was to be expected considering that they can’t talk.
Finally the time came for Clancy’s cavity to be filled. He was eager to get this taken care of so he could get back to chewing the things he loved. And while he waited to get poked with the large needle, he was shocked to hear the words that no tooth ever wants to hear: root canal.
Clancy was lost, and again wondered, “why me?” He just wanted to be left alone, to do his job, and live his life happily with the rest of the teeth. How could he be happy without his roots? Those roots that kept him grounded, and connected since he was born. He didn’t know, but that was life. He couldn’t do anything about it. He had no choice but to bravely face his destiny.
It was three long and arduous hours of drilling and filing holes. Clancy was exhausted, and just when he thought it was all over, he again heard those dreadful words: root canal.
That’s right. Clancy would have to get a second root canal because the first one didn’t do the trick.
Luckily the second root canal took much less time and was much less painful than the first. Clancy was hopeful. He was even looking forward to being the only tooth with a crown. He imagined being the King of the mouth, and started looking around for his Queen.
But his fantasies were cut short when suddenly Clancy couldn’t handle hot or cold temperatures. Then he started to ache. He ached when he woke up in the morning. He ached when he went to bed. He was sore when he shouldn’t have felt any pain at all. Something was amiss.
Clancy went back to get checked out, and got a temporary filling. He heard that everything would be fine, and they were just going to wait and see. Which also meant the crown would have to wait. Clancy was devastated.
Despite being heartbroken, Clancy resigned himself to the fact that the only thing he could do was wait it out, and hope for the best.
It seemed to work too. Clancy was starting to feel better. He didn’t shriek whenever a hot coffee or cold glass of water came his way. He might actually get his crown after all! Maybe even his Queen! He dreamed of a world with no pain, and could finally imagine a future for himself. He’d been waiting a long time for this, and even though he was feeling a little tender lately, he shrugged it off. This was all normal. He was normal.
But he wasn’t normal. With each day, and each meal, and each brushing, and each flossing, he was feeling more and more irate. More vulnerable. He no longer looked forward to anything. He couldn’t even handle the soft foods, for god’s sakes. Clancy could barely remember a time when he didn’t feel pain.
There was no more denying it. Clancy had to admit that he was ill.
And that’s where Clancy’s story ends.
Clancy will have to get looked at again, and then referred to a specialist for another root canal. Best case scenario: he just needs one more root canal. Worst case scenario: Clancy’s time on this earth is over, and sadly, never get his crown.
I’m not sure what will happen in the next chapter of Clancy’s life, but I do know I’m to blame.
I just wish I could tell Clancy that I’m trying to do the best thing for him, but it’s no use. He doesn’t have any ears.
Moral of the story: Take care of your teeth. They need you just as much as you need them.