The Tooth, the Whole Tooth, and Nothing but the Tooth!


My tooth was killing me. I had never really had a toothache, so I didn’t know what I was missing. I know now.

I called my dentist’s office on a Thursday. They said that I could be seen the next Wednesday. I was not sure I could make it until then. And, we were just beginning to understand that with this COVID-19 virus coming on strong in the United States, we must begin to stay at home and have social distancing. I made it through the weekend and was looking forward to Wednesday to visit with my dentist.

Then, the call came. The ADA was suggesting that dental offices close and my dentist, an upright and outstanding guy, was going to follow directions and the office would be closed for the foreseeable future. No! Don’t leave me! I need help! I knew that others throughout the world were suffering more than I was, but the thing hurt like hell.

Tuesday came and I could stand it no more. I was tired of treating the pain with Advil and cheap liquor. Plus, that couldn’t be a very healthy combination. I called my dentist’s answering service. Within 15 minutes my dentist called me back and said he would meet me at his office at 3:30 or so. Yep, he should have stayed closed, but he would risk it for me. I have never been so grateful to see a doctor in my life.

Long story short. He was not sure but thought I had a cracked molar. He sent me to an endodontist who could see me if I could get over there right away. I ran over to his office. He said the tooth was cracked but he could not be sure how bad until he began to do a root canal. He could do that the next Tuesday and sent me home for a week with a dose of antibiotics. In the meantime, the pandemic stormed about us as businesses closed and as I kept watch, hoping that the “emergency dental surgery” was still an essential thing. I went back…”it is cracked badly” he said as I was holding on to the armrest of his chair. I wanted to suggest that he use some nitrous oxide or at least give me some ear plugs to block out that drilling!

Well, to make the short story a little longer…I had to wait a few more days to go see an oral surgeon to extract the tooth. That was hell. Yep, they used local anesthesia, shot into my gums, but that dang pulling and rocking was too much. Anyway, they got the thing out and sent me home.

I am truly grateful for the three dentists as well as those who worked in their offices with them to help people like me while schools and other businesses were closed. And, ya’ll, there is no such thing as “social distancing” when working on teeth. Thanks.

Then friends begin asking: How is it? Are you in pain? How do you feel?

My answers were: “The pain I have now is certainly better than the pain I had before.”

And: “I’m getting used to having nothing there where there was always something before.”

You see, I had this tooth almost all of my life. Now. there is a hole, where something I was used to had always been.

I can’t help but think that we will all have to get used to the pain. The pain of all that our world is experiencing with this horrible pandemic. I also can’t help but think that the pain will always be there, but that it will get better with time.

I also think that we will have to get used to having a hole where there was something. This thing has changed our lives.

While I am looking forward to having a bridge or an implant in a few months. I am hopeful that this change in our world will bridge us, too.

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