The Byron Hillbilly

After work late Friday morning, I stopped to get a few groceries. As a treat for behaving myself with my diet all week, I bought a small bag of soft red licorice – one of my favourite things in the world. I popped a couple of pieces in my mouth and hit the road for home. 

Something felt odd. It was squishy and hard at the same time. And what was that – a breeze in my mouth? I stopped chewing, pulled over and spit, toddler-style, into my hand. There among the mashed licorice it was unmistakable – a tooth. The mirror confirmed that it was also a smile tooth. With a couple of bites, I suddenly qualified for a walk-on role on Duck Dynasty.

my outstretched hand holding a tooth

I placed the tooth in my cup holder and drove directly to my dentist’s office. My tongue discovered the tooth hadn’t fallen out, it broke off, and the base of it and the roots were still intact. What the heck was going on here?

My dentist was finishing up with his last patient of the day. I’m glad I had thought it best to walk in and show them the damage instead of going home and calling. I didn’t realize Dr. Edwards’ office closed at 12:30 on Fridays and it was almost noon. Still, he didn’t hesitate to bring me in, repair the tooth and consult on a plan. He could have sent me to someone else and I wouldn’t have blamed him. But he’s a caring, sweet man. He gave me my smile back and so far, chewing on the right side has kept the tooth in place, for now.

So why did it break? We don’t really know, but it’s almost certain that it snapped a while ago, perhaps weeks or months, and didn’t let go because the crack was below the gumline. It looks like an implant is the best solution, although it’s a months-long process and quite pricey. I won’t complain. Anything is better than this gaping hole in my grin.

The toughest part of the whole, painless visit was choosing my sticker as a reward for my good behavior. I went with the zebra from Madagascar 2, Escape Africa. Who says they’re only for kids? I didn’t cry or fuss. I deserve that sticker, dammit.

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