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Protect Your Teeth from the Future



I have to warn readers up front: This will be a very personal post.

In this book I read recently (The Story of the Human Body by Daniel E. Lieberman), I was especially interested in the information on teeth. Early bipeds apparently had wonderful teeth because they spent most of the day chewing food that was very hard to break down into digestible form. No tough chewing for me, though–not for a while anyway.

My teeth are currently confined in the transparent, protective shield of “invisalign,™” a very advanced form of braces. Why? Because I live in an era when the grinding of teeth is creating a dental crisis. And here’s a tip: If orthodontia comes up with a publicly traded stock, invest.

But back to me. My wail rises to the heavens: “Why me, God?” I do not deserve braces. Due to an early and impassioned dentist, I have always taken wonderful care of my teeth. In fact, this whole thing launched after I made an appointment about a cracked filling soon after my regular cleaning. It would have been a second new filling within a few months, though, and that sent up an alarm.

My dentist is a young and brilliant practitioner. He was recruited from south Florida and was happy to move here, in part I think, because the land down there is getting very squishy. But more about climate change later.

After a new kind of photographic exam, Dr. Rogoff told me that there was no point in repairing the filling until my whole bite was corrected through orthodontia. I know what you’re thinking: He would make more money from that. But he isn’t also an orthodontist and referred me to someone else who is an outstanding practitioner, Dr. Daniel Meyers. If Dr. Rogoff hadn’t done this, he would have made a lot of money from regular filling replacements.

I was a little doubtful until Dr. Meyers took all sorts of X-rays that revealed everything oral that’s wrong with me–including the fact that my mouth is too small for my tongue. Who knew? So on we go, two years and thousands of dollars to be invested in fixing me up.

Me in Two Years

Me in Two Years

But where is my mouth going? Back to my dental best, or to a better place than I have ever known? Whatever. I’ve decided to reward me with tooth whitening when I’m done. And as I go through this, I also need to minister to my psyche to ensure that the tooth-grinding that caused this abates.

Now this is going to be difficult. I’ve written before about the stress of living in a time of constant, radical change. Now some of that is going on in my mouth. I get a new set of invisible braces every week, so my bite is always in a state of flux. And this is very close to the brain, you know, and the unfamiliar sensations are a perpetual source of distraction.

The orthodontist told me that I might lisp a bit, but that wasn’t true, until I got my motht rethent thet of bratheth. Now I not only lithp but altho occathionally thplutter. And I have a rubber band attachment. Yawn or laugh widely, and Kapow! It turnth into a thlingthlot.

The dental unease adds to all the other things that cause me anxiety and exasperation. For example, here we are on the threshold of the sixth great extinction if we don’t do something about it, and yet one of the biggest controversies day to day is who gets to use what restroom. When thousands and thousands of us are confined in refugee camps due to sundry weather catastrophes, an unlabeled port-a-potty is going to look mighty good. That experience will belatedly put us in touch with what’s important. There will be a benefit, though, in stronger teeth due to all the chewing on bark and wild turnips to avoid starving.

It’s hard to be positive when every day there is something new to worry about. I’m sure you’ve heard that eagles in the Netherlands are being trained to capture drones that may be a security risk. This makes me sad because I personally feel that eagles have better things to do. And because of our technology mania, a future looms of drones buzzing around this country like swarms of mosquitoes, way too many for the American Eagle to monitor for the mini-nuclear weaponry that could soon be on board.

As you see, I have psychic abilities that contribute to concern. Here is another thing I foresee: No matter how this presidential election turns out, there will be good reason for all of us to continue grinding our teeth day and night. So this is my public service announcement: You should check in with your dentist right now, get a baseline assessment, and be ready to get braces to ensure that you won’t be wearing dentures by 2020, the next presidential election year. That’s also the climate change tipping point, by the way. Just so you know.

And that’s it from me for now. No, I forgot another important tip: Cut back on the news–way, way back.

You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure to serve.



6 Responses to “Protect Your Teeth from the Future”

  1. Judyth A Scott

    I really enjoyed this, Ellen. Hooray for your using Invisalign! It was metal braces for me at age 60. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? Aging and needing orthodonture don’t seem to go together.

  2. Peggy Leitch

    Well…as one of your dutiful hygienists I have to say I loved this! Always good to have a clue into how our following is thinking. Thank goodness for you and me that Josh Rogoff made Santa Fe his home! Peggy

  3. Yvonne

    So very funny – but not so much for you dear Ellen! Mith you!

  4. Paul Karlstrom

    Dear Ellen.
    Well, I for one am not surprised when you honor your readers by sharing the personal. I am infamous (well, not yet) for doing just that. As for dentistry, and your confessed feature of a tongue too big for mouth, I hurry to tell you that we are similarly disadvantaged. In my case the teeth are too large for my mouth, therefore making difficult access by dentist and the instruments of my own improving hygiene ritual . Not sure about my tongue.
    I did improve the situation before beginning my ongoing bisphosphonate regimen (weekly pills) preceded by required removal of bottom wisdom teeth almost three years ago. (I think it was bottom; the top were painfully removed while at UCLA–insufficient novocaine, I refused for years to subject myself to the routine procedure. I know the aftermath and recovery were long and painful, another consequence of advancing years. All of this in preparation for treatment for osteoporosis.
    And the intimate sharing goes on. Good for you to give permission.