Monday, April 3, 2023

B is for Baby Tooth

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter B

When I was about 12, our family dentist retired and we started going to Dr. Dickson. He was  both new to us and to the world of dentistry, and he was earnest and dedicated to all things teeth. 

Dr. Dickson discovered, after looking at my dental x-rays, that I still had a baby tooth and there was no permanent tooth under it, and he immediately launched into an elaborate and expensive plan to remedy this. It involved pulling the baby tooth, braces, and a bridge, and the more he talked, the more excited he became, the more my mom looked like she was going to hyperventilate, and the more I wanted to bite him and run.

I don't know if dental insurance even existed in the early 1970s, but if it did, we didn't have it; my dad was a blue collar worker at the Gas Company, and my mom didn't work outside the home. We had enough money to get by, but there wasn't extra for things like braces and bridges.

"Wait, wait, wait," my mom said. "How long will this tooth stay in her head?"

"It could stay until she's an adult, or it could fall out tomorrow!" he replied dramatically.

"Well, then, we'll just let her husband worry about it," my mother said, and we left the dentist's office.

Eventually, I left home for college and adultish life, and the tooth stayed with me. Every first visit to a dentist's office went like this:

Dentist (counting teeth to the dental assistant): 26...27...28...T...30...

Dental assistant: wait, what?

I got married. Had dental insurance for the first time (whew!). The tooth stayed. It had a filling in it. It had turned kind of gray. But T the Tooth was still in my gums, and I vowed to take it to the grave.

T, however, is beginning to have different ideas. It doesn't HURT, but it feels...weird.

Last week at the dentist, Dr. Ed said I would know when T needed to be put out of its misery as gently and humanely as possible. And instead of braces and a bridge, it would be an extraction and an implant. 

My husband's reaction to this news? "This sounds way more expensive than the braces and the bridge would have been. Can't thank your mom enough for that 'we'll just let her husband worry about it.'"


  1. Heeheehee! Yep, dentistry hasn't changed much in that "we can't afford it" aspect.

  2. Ha! I hope your dental insurance covers most, if not all of it.

    1. Oh, let's hope so! My alternative is a big ol' gap in my teeth, and I'm not keen on that!

  3. LOL, what an way for your mom's words to come back and... bite... :D

    The Multicolored Diary

  4. That is funny- let her husband worry about it. :)

    1. Oh, the look on that dentist's face when she said that!

  5. An interesting anecdote. Everyone has a baby tooth story to recollect. Glad you the insurance and it takes care of requirement in future.
    B for Barium

    1. I hope the tooth hangs on a little longer, because even with insurance, it's going to be expensive to fix it! But if it doesn't, we've had a good run together of 60 years!

  6. I've heard that the tooth fairy's going rate is higher than it used to be when we were kids, so don't forget to put that tooth under your pillow! The payoff could help offset the cost of the dental work! :-)