Monday, February 13, 2012

Getting your teeth stuck in

My mouth continues to be a source of pain and suffering for me.

My nose dripped like a knackered fridge until midday yesterday. Blowing it, taking mysterious Japanese medicine and stuffing tissue up my nostrils haf all failed to abate the tide of mucus, but for no apparent reason, other than that it was satisfied with ruining my weekend, my nose stopped running, just as I was getting ready to leave Tokyo.

I can't be allergic to Tokyo. Otherwise it would have started dripping when I arrived, and stopped when I left, rather than doing both early. I can only assume my nose hates Japan, for some reason the rest of my body can only dream of. I'd cut it off, but the rest of my face would complain that I was acting out of spiteful ignorance. Nobody knows what my nose knows, after all.

But whereas my nose is mysterious and mutable, my mouth is consistent and cruel. From the moment the dentist began fiddling with it a week ago, through all the spray of blood that wouldn't stop spurting, right up until today, it's been a source of pain and discomfort. My gums have never stopped hurting, and I assumed until today that it was because my mouth was stretched and sore from the operation.

But no. I arrived at the dentist for my crown today, and a gentle tap on the top of the tooth with a dentist's pick and the ensuing agony in my jaw made it clear that there were lots of other things wrong. My dentist prodded the tooth a few more ways. Some more blood appeared in my mouth. He hmmed and hawed for a while, and then declined to crown the tooth, because there was a reasonable chance the whole thing would have to come out in a couple more months.

I was aghast. It's not the waste of time and money, spending day after day being drilled and filled in this saga of malfunctioning molars, that gets me. It's the talent of my tooth to never be put right, always to be dancing on the cusp of correction before falling off and smashing another delicate piece of hope.

First we thought it would just be a filling. Then we thought it might not require a root canal. Then we thought a root canal might be the end of it. And now we have the worrying situation where there might be another, invisible fracture deeper in the tooth, and another two months to wait to see what happens.

Teeth, it seems, are not an exact science. You can brush, you can floss, you can chug Listerine by the gallon, and sometimes they'll still desert you. Or you can fail to maintain them properly for the first few decades of your life, like me, and they'll still decide they're going to dick you about. I begin to wish I'd been born a shark. On the downside I'd always be worrying that some Chinese berk was going to cut my fins off to make soup nobody actually likes the taste of, but on the other hand I'd always be able to grow some more teeth.

Still. I've got all the rest. For now.

The crowning irony of this, I imagine, will be when one of my wisdom teeth decides to erupt, and in doing so pushes all the healthy and fixed teeth right out of my mouth, and then requires extraction itself, leaving me toothless and raging.

And then my nose will start dripping again.


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