Monday, July 25, 2016

the reverse tooth fairy

There was a time, it seems not so long ago, when people gave me money if my teeth fell out.

Ours was a household that scoffed at superstition and secular icons. Santa Claus? The Easter bunny? They were for neighborhood kids that found their amusement by hiding inside wicker baskets. Not for the Cotton boys steeped in Hegelian reality.

Well, there was one big exception -- the tooth fairy. A baby tooth that had made its successful escape from our childish mouths was ceremoniously placed under the pillow of the newly gap-toothed boy, only to be replaced with a shiny dime in the middle of the night. (It is a bit ironic that it was also a dime that was baked in our birthday cakes to enrich a lucky child's pocket, and, if fortunate in the biting, to loosen a tooth. We called it a twofer.)

I am not certain why my very rational parents simply did not sit us down to negotiate the market rate for baby teeth. But that is even too creepily Trumpish for my imagination.

But there are no more tooth fairies in Mexpatriate's life. Now, when teeth fall out, I pay others to replace them.

When we last left this story line, in the situation comedy that is my life, back in December (my bite is worse than -- almost anything), I was about to undergo the first steps of a dental implant to replace a molar lost to the ravages of age.

Around Christmas, I spent several hours in a dentist chair being sliced, pricked, and drilled. The foundation for my new tooth did not have an adequate base. So, the young dentist opened my jaw to insert a cadaver bone that would lift my nasal sinus and provide something for the post, which would support my new tooth, to latch onto.

With the bone nestled in its resting place, he installed a temporary post. And then we waited. For six months. To see if madame nature had smiled on me.

Early last week, I drove to Manzanillo for another adventure in the chair. You can see the results at the top of this essay.

What looks like a weather map of a heat dome is my mouth. You can see the post -- along with the new bone surrounding it. I imagine F. Murray Abraham's mouth in Insurrection looked something like that.

Some time this week, I will return to the chair for the second half of this oral narrative -- and surgery. The dentist will take out the short post and add a longer one -- to be followed by impressions. Not the Rich Little type. Impressions of my teeth. That cast will then be sent off to a laboratory to create a new tooth to join the Rockettes in my mouth who have not yet had their last kick.

I am certain someone is going to ask. So, I will ease your inquiring minds. This stage of the implant will cost $12,000 (Mx) -- or about $639 (US). Not a bad price. Even with all those hours in the chair.

I was thinking of slipping the peso notes under a pillow in the dentist's office. But I am not certain how that would translate culturally.

Maybe I will just bake them in a cake.

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