At some point in my hippie adventures, I broke a molar. It was 1995, shortly before I returned to Ohio. It wasn’t painful, since the root wasn’t exposed (or was dead, whichever), so I ignored it for the most part. That was an extremely rough time for me anyway, and dental insurance was pretty far out of my reach.

Four years later (on my 24th birthday, to be exact), I got the remnants of that molar extracted. Apparently it was pretty gruesome, and my dentist wouldn’t even let me see what he’d pulled out of my head. Disappointing.

Time went on, as it does, and the gap between my back molars didn’t bother me much. Fixing it wasn’t a priority, even though I’m a stable married lady now and dental insurance is a part of my life. But at my last-but-one teeth cleaning session, the dentist pointed out that the lonely molar in the back was starting to drift, and was I interested in getting a bridge?

That’s when I decided I was elderly.

Instead of a bridge, I opted for an implant. Way cooler and much more permanent. After seven months of waiting, my appointment was this morning.

Now, I’m no stranger to pain. I fall down a lot. I refused pain medication after I had a c-section because I am that kind of rock star. I once got six cavities drilled in the same session. That was a bad idea, actually. But pain is really no biggie to me, so away I went.

My periodontist jabbed me with novocaine and started digging around in my jaw. After about 90 minutes, I had a little screw-type thingy in my head and a numb face. He warned me that the pain would arrive shortly after the numbness went, and whoo boy, he wasn’t kidding.

It doesn’t hurt unless I move my jaw, which means talking is a challenge, and chewing even more so. Mashed potatoes for dinner, yeah! The talking thing could be a problem, but I find that if I just go a little slooooowwwww, things are all right.

In four months, I’ll go back and get the actual tooth-thingy stuck on top of the screw-thingy and it will look like a regular tooth. I wonder how it will stand up to my furious teeth-grinding? I really do grind my teeth a lot. Always have. Various doctors have prescribed different relaxation techniques to help me not do that, but I’m just really tightly wound (this should not be news to anyone at all), and that’s how my body deals with tension.

It’ll be interesting to have a full head of teeth again.

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