Lately, I’ve been having a bunch of dental work done, cuz I have the time and am finally covered by Oats’ extended health benefits. I last had my teeth checked and cleaned by a professional around four years ago, also known as the last time I had extended health benefits (at that point, it was because I was still a student at the university).
As a side note, isn’t it completely weird that dental isn’t part of the Canadian universal health care? There’s so much data out there about how maintaining healthy teeth prevents all sorts of other illnesses, and yet we’ve got to pay out of pocket for dental work… Which means people like me try to squeak by with just flossing and brushing.
(For more on this topic, please check out the awesome Leah Lakshmi Piepzna Samarashina’s piece “Things to do if you are a hustling class artist or other person with no trust fund or much of an economic safety net“.)
Considering how long it had been, my teeth looked pretty great, or so said the dental hygienist who gave them a thorough cleaning. However, that wasn’t enough to save them all. My old dentist, who was friendly and cheap and had an office right out of the 1970s (or so I imagine… I wasn’t alive yet in that decade), didn’t believe in removing wisdom teeth until they were infected: I had one that got all swollen and so he took it out, but said he’d rather leave the rest. My new fancy dentist barely glanced at the remaining three before simply stating that they were collecting cavities like nobody’s business, and it wasn’t really worth it to keep them in.
Now looking at two of these teeth, a couple days after the extraction, I see what she means: I had no idea how completely disgusting they’d be. I’ve got one left, but it’s impacted so requires me to be put under by an oral surgeon. For these two, my dentist simply numbed my gums then yanked like hell, with some twisting thrown in for good measure. Once she saw them, she laughed and said that if she’d know how curved the roots were, she’d have insisted on the oral surgeon taking them out too. I’m glad my teeth are so amusing… I’d like to continue to be amused by them, by making them into pendants that I could wear on a chain around my neck, but Oats thinks it’s too strange. I don’t know… I first thought of it when she was taking me home after the surgery, a time in which I admit I was in a bit of a haze, but after two days of sleeping I still like the idea.