A long saga comes to an end


It was the summer of 2008 when it started. First it was just a little hint that something might be starting to come loose, and then one day, while eating an Icelandic pylsur, it happened. The false tooth that had been cemented in place since I was 16 popped out. A few months later, the same tooth on the other side fell out.

Thus began a very long process that is culminating today in a 2 hour visit to the dentist's office.

At first I tried to salvage the teeth the dentist of my youth had given me, and while I was living in Iceland, that seemed to work pretty well. The dentist in Keflavik did a great job cementing the tooth on the right back in place, but was not so successful with the one on the left. It fell out again a few months later, unfortunately while I was having lunch at the Culture House in Reykjavik. An archaeologist 400 years from now may find it underneath the floor boards; I however could not.

So then I went to the dentist I had through the Coast Guard insurance, and he made me a new left I-tooth. Unfortunately, he did an unbelievably bad job: not only was the tooth aesthetically unpleasing, it also fit poorly and ended up pushing all my other teeth out of alignment. It was however free, which was a big advantage over the dentist in Keflavik.

A little over a year ago, the tooth on the right started to come loose again, and I decided it was time to give up on trying to keep cementing the same tired tooth in place over and over and over again. So I found a dentist that specialized in prosthetic teeth, not implants, but bridges and crowns and such. He took his time about it, made various moldings of my teeth and carefully went through all my options. I liked him a lot, and he did a great job with my bridge on the right. Unfortunately, that process took so long that he could not get to replacing the tooth on my left before I graduated. And of course, this being the United States, once I graduated, my health insurance changed.

So then I had to scramble around to try to find a new insurance plan (as a part-time lecturer at UC Berkeley, I don't get dental insurance). That took a few months, but with the help of the recommendation of a friend, I found a new dentist. I went in for an exam, and then a cleaning, and now today, they are going to shave off the enamel of the teeth on either side of my missing tooth, and fit a temporary bridge in place. Two weeks from now, I will get my permanent bridge.

I am not looking forward to it.

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