The Saga of Number Nine Ends

On December 16, 2009, I had one of my front teeth extracted, #9 to be exact. Ole Number Nine bore the brunt of my collision with a brick wall while riding a bike at age 7. The accident was caused by my pant leg getting caught in the bike chain – I’ve been very careful to avoid that since the day I staggered home, blood pouring from my mouth. It’s hard to say when #9 actually died, but it was dead by the time I turned 40 and had a root canal on it. That sufficed for more than 10 years, until the bone around the tooth eroded, requiring a bone graft, then an implant, with many months of healing in between. So, for the first half of 2010 I had a gap-toothed smile. I was only self-conscious around some strangers, in particular, when I was teaching a class. Eventually, I got a mis-named “flipper,” a temporary denture, something I would have done sooner had I realized it was more than cosmetic and actually preserved the space between my teeth. More than a year after the extraction, I got a temporary crown. And as of 3/4/11, I have my permanent crown.

In those 14 and a half months, we went to Guatemala, got a new dog (Luke!), drove from Miami Beach to Albuquerque, camped in Colorado, travelled to DC. And I wrote a book. An eventful year, in which I saw one dentist or another more times than in the 10 years before.