Missing In Action/ The Tooth of the Matter

The other side of the story is:

Speaking of my mission trip to the mountains, there were a few undercurrents that I now feel emotionally calm enough to jot down for your amusement or "not."

I think it happened three or four days before our leave taking. I have good reason to know where it happened, at the dinner table. For a couple of weeks, I had noticed a strange fork in our flatware drawer, something we had picked up during the summer's follies I supposed. We didn't like it; it didn't fit correctly in the mouth or on the tongue. It was rather "tinny" and light, as though it came from a child's camping gear; it had no feel of permanence. However, we kept it (we throw very little away), and it kept showing up at our meals, sometimes we would exchange it sometime not.

The trauma of this meal has completely erased from my brain what we were eating but actually, that has no bearing on the outcome of that fateful bite! The fore mentioned fork twisted in my mouth. Chomp! Oh, oh, something happened! A loud snap startled my husband... he just stared at me. I knew something momentous happened. I did a little tongue to tooth reconnaissance and headed for the bathroom mirror.

Watching my reflection, I gently taped my right FRONT tooth with my pinky and out it fell, snapped off, straight as an arrow, at the gum line. I decided to remove my upper partial plate to see if it was injured; it held only one tooth the left canine. Looking at myself, I had a glimpse of "Gravel Gertie" (look her up). Two larger than life black holes filled the image of my smile (make that a grimace!)

With trembling knees, a sinking heart, and thoughts of "I must surely forego my mission trip," I moped back to the kitchen table, when I reached the room divider bar, I flashed a wan, but wide grin at my husband. His response, even though it was almost reverent, lacked the assurance I needed in the moment of my panic. "Oh…my…lord! (little "l")

A quick call to my dentist and I was on the road headed to her office, wondering if at this speed and I had an accident, would my picture be in the paper? My dentist dug the root out (the crunching, grating sounds made for "memory keepers") and her tech, by the next morning, had quickly made me a temporary tooth. It was added to the pre-existing partial plate. It was Friday and we were leaving after church on Sunday, Wheee! All was well; I would get my new permanent tooth when we returned.

You just knew this was not the end to the story, didn't you?

About halfway to the mountains, two and half hours into our trip, I bit into a chocolate sweet thing. When I removed the bar my right lateral tooth (fake, due to an earlier "root canal") was embedded in the candy as well as the gold cantilever (a sort of backing) that connected it to the next tooth. I didn't even break a sweat. I just saintly, shrugged and smiled at everyone, immediately the church van filled with shrieks of childish laughter!

So I was headed to the mountains with one ill-fitting temporary front tooth, and the one next to it was missing in action. Everyone assured me that it only showed when I opened my mouth, and not very much at that! We traveled on.

The week, of course, went well, it was filled with explanations and excuses, but I did my job with determination and did it well if I must say so. I saw my same smile reflected in the faces of many of the older impoverished mountain women, and I loved it. I will be ready to go again next year, no matter what excitement ensues. God blessed in all.

Arriving home I was at the dentist early the next morning, it seems in removing the front tooth root the one next to it had been inadvertently loosened, sad, for it had only been there twenty-five years or so. I had determined if the teeth had to be replaced, I was going to use all of that gold to pay for it and I am sure it would have taken every bit! Luckily (?), a little scraping and glue took care of the job. At the same time, my new fake front tooth was added to the partial-plate, and I was "good to go."

I went.




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