One of the things about aging no one ever mentions is the inevitable transmigration of one’s teeth. For the last 50 years or so, my teeth have been slowly but surely jockeying for position. A position, I might add, they have absolutely no business being in.
That’s because my teeth are unrealistic. They are plus-sized bicuspids, molars and fangs trying to squeeze themselves into a size-4 petite mouth.
When I was ten, our family dentist and my parents made a secret plan to make my teeth straight. It didn’t involve braces. Instead, it involved pulling out five of my permanent teeth.
I remember several visits to the dentist wherein he grabbed a tooth with his pliers and pulled with all his might until my tooth would finally be uprooted and go flying across the room and hit the wall.
He seemed to think this was a perfectly normal occurrence (which I’m sure in his case it was) and, since I didn’t have anything to compare it to — I thought so too.
That is until I had my wisdom teeth removed years later and guess what? Nothing went flying anywhere.
Anyway, getting five of my permanent teeth extracted did the trick. My teeth were tolerably straight for a good portion of my life.
Then suddenly one morning, one of my front teeth began to stick out farther than the rest. At first, it was hardly noticeable. That’s because this rebel tooth did all its traveling when I wasn’t looking.
If I were to smile into a mirror at any given moment, this tooth would freeze and stay in that exact position until I closed my mouth and then it would continue on its mission which, obviously, was to become a Hillbilly Tooth.
Over the years, slowly but surely this hillbilly tooth wannabe has made a miraculous migration from sitting straight-in-a-row with all the other front teeth — content to be an all-around team player — to Class Clown of the Mouth.
So that today, this tooth has positioned itself in such a way as to stick out way beyond all the others making it appear as if I just have the one.
A couple of years ago I decided I would do something about my problem-child tooth. I looked into getting cosmetic dental surgery. The dentist made a mold of my mouth, and we went into the conference room to discuss what could be done.
It didn’t help any that the dentist had tears in his eyes when he set the mold of my wayward teeth in front of me.
This is the consultation that followed and to quote Dave Barry, I am not making this up:
To lighten up the mood, I remarked, “Those are my teeth? Gee, they’re pretty crooked. In fact, I’ve seen straighter teeth on the 20,000-year-old skulls they’ve excavated on the Discovery Channel.”
To which the dentist replied solemnly, “I know.”
“Well is there anything you can do about it?”
“Not really . . . unless you want to get braces.”
“Braces! But I’m 55 years old!” (although I was wearing my hair in a ponytail that day so maybe he thought I was younger . . . emotionally anyway.)
“There are a lot of OLD PEOPLE LIKE YOU who get braces,” he assured me. “In fact, I had a patient in here the other day who just got his braces off and his teeth looked great!”
“How old was he?”
So I went to an orthodontist. He informed me that I can get Invisiline braces, (the removable, see-through kind) for somewhere between $5,000 to $7000 dollars.
Needless to say, I’ve decided to wait because who knows? Maybe my hillbilly tooth will come into fashion one of these days. And if that doesn’t happen?
There’s always mouth modeling for the Discovery Channel.