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Health Life Personal self-improvement

It is Better to be Toothless and Healthy than to Suffer for Vanity

If anyone ever tells you that working a public job, running an online business, attending college, and getting all of your teeth yanked simultaneously is a good idea, please tell them that they are being incredibly stupid.

I can now say that from experience. I just tried it and it wasn’t fun. I highly advise you to take at least a week off from everything should you decide to get all of your teeth pulled at once, unless you happen to enjoy masochism, that is.

That said, I sincerely hope that the misery is completely behind me. I just looked through the maudlin posts I’ve been publishing and ended up depressing myself.

To summarize what I was trying to explain in my previous posts, living an intentional life is determining what you really want, making sure that it’s something you want and not something that society says you should want, and then living your life accordingly as you give the middle finger to the mindless masses who happen to disagree.

On to the story…

As all of you know, I decided to fix my painful visage once and for all by having every single tooth in my head removed. I decided that my health was far more important than my appearance and made my decision accordingly.

Society would like us to believe that the people who choose to have their teeth removed are all illiterate hicks. We either didn’t take care of our teeth or we destroyed them by using drugs as we showed off the car collection we keep on concrete blocks in our front yards. As a result, those of us who decide that it is best for our health to remove our teeth are stigmatized by society.

Oddly enough, it seems to be the poorest of the poor who hold that belief most often. I’ve had several obviously middle and upper class customers who actually praised my decision to forego immediate dentures, citing the pain they suffered from their personal decision to select vanity over comfort, while my less fortunate customers now sneer at me in disdain or tease me about my condition.

As one so eloquently phrased it, “I’ve got more teeth than you now. Guess you shoulda brushed!”

One of my neighbors decided to come through my line during the height of my misery.

“What happened to your mouth?” she asked with a laugh. “You look funny!”

If I hadn’t felt so bad I would have reached across that counter and slapped her into next week. It was obvious that she was determined to make me feel even more miserable than I already did from the expression in her eyes. It was typical behavior for her but I wasn’t in the mood for her attitude.

“When it comes between choosing between my teeth and my life, I choose my life every time,” I sniffed, outraged that she would attempt to humiliate me in the middle of a rush. “I plan to get dentures once my mouth fully heals.”

“I wish more people were as smart as you,” Mr. Mild Mannered Gentleman chimed in from his place behind her in my line. “Most people would rather poison themselves with rotten teeth than have the courage to accept the inevitable.”

Once my neighbor left with a splutter my defender continued the conversation. “I wish I would have been brave enough to not go with immediate dentures,” he confessed quietly as I scanned his purchases. “Those things are absolutely horrible.” He gave me a glimpse of his beautifully fake smile as he walked away.

For the record, I brushed my teeth faithfully. I flossed and did the other little things I could to take care of them to the best of my ability. Based upon the decade’s worth of posts I’ve written for this blog, I also believe that it is safe to say that I am far from illiterate. While I will own the fact that I’m a hillbilly, I know for a fact that my vocabulary can run circles around the more pompous I’ve encountered1.

But let’s face it, folks. Shit happens. We make a false step and end up scarred for life. We get in an accident and we lose a limb. In my case, I didn’t discover the dangers of soft drinks until my teeth started shattering in my head. It wasn’t common knowledge back when I was a child.

If a limb is gangrened, do we hold on to it or do we get that sucker amputated, attach a prosthesis, and get on with our life? Having your teeth removed is no different in the grand scheme of things.

Society is wrong for stigmatizing people who have made the intelligent decision to choose their health over their smile. What does it matter if your teeth are real or fake, if you have a complete set or not, so long as you are healthy?

It doesn’t matter one bit.

To the person out there in the world who is suffering because you are terrified of what society will think of you if you have your teeth removed: Ignore those idiots. It’s none of their business anyway. If they don’t pay your bills they don’t count and if they don’t like how you look you tell them where to kiss.

If you aren’t comfortable enough to do that you tell them I said where they can kiss. While they’re at it, they might be well-advised to tuck that stuff back in.

Their ignorance is showing and it’s ugly.


  1. For those that are wondering: Yes, I talk rings around them for fun. I find pomposity annoying. 
Categories
Health

The Reality of Aging

I woke up to a face filled with pain the other morning. I sat up with a moan, trying to figure out what was happening when my daughter entered the room.

“Oh my God! What happened to your face?” Katie exclaimed.

I staggered to a mirror. My upper right lip had swelled to the size of a sports ball.

That would definitely explain the pain. Poking around the area I determined the source of my agony:

I had another toothache.

Shit!

I thought I had sorted all of my teeth. I choked down some pain meds, applied an ice pack to the swelling, and waited until my dentist office opened.

I spent a week on antibiotics to reduce the infection before my dentist felt safe removing the tooth. I am now teaching myself to speak with my upper lip covering my remaining teeth to conceal the gap and aid in pronunciation.

It is time I faced reality. I could end up killing myself if I continue with the misguided notion that I can save any of my teeth. My dentist has urged me to at least remove all of my top teeth and advised that I may want to have the remaining bottom teeth removed as well. While they may have a few years of life left in them, their removal is inevitable.

I’ve known this time was coming for years even if I didn’t want to face it. I’ve spent the past few years asking people who have had all of their teeth removed about their experiences as I sought their advice.

Interestingly, while those in the lower and middle-class income spectrum all recommend getting an immediate denture, every single wealthy person I’ve questioned has informed me that I would be wasting my money. Immediate dentures rarely fit right so they are uncomfortable to wear if one is able to wear them at all. Even the people who recommend them have told me that they only wore them on rare occasions if they could wear them at all.

One distant relative, a very wealthy businessman, had all of his teeth pulled at the height of his professional career. His research indicated that dentures would not fit properly until his mouth settled so he dressed in his business suits, taught himself to conceal the issue while he spoke, and waited three years for his mouth to completely settle before investing in his first set of dentures.

Other wealthy people have told me a similar story. Almost every single one of them decided to throw vanity aside and wait three years before acquiring their first set of dentures. Not a single one of them had any regrets over the decision, and every single one of them told me that I would be throwing my money away if I didn’t wait at least a year before acquiring my first set of dentures.

My auntie has suggested a middle-of-the-road approach. Have them all pulled and wait until at least Spring of next year to evaluate the condition of my mouth and decide if it has healed enough to justify the expense. She believes that, while I may have to replace that initial pair in a few years as my gums continue to shrink and the bones readjust that it would offer a reasonable compromise between vanity, health, and expense.

I’ve got to do this. If I don’t, I could end up killing myself. This last infection came completely without any warning. While I had noted that I had less energy over the preceding week, I did not make the connection between my energy levels and my mouth.

I have no desire to regain my freedom just to drop dead from a tooth infection.

Despite what society tells us, losing our teeth is not necessarily a sign of poverty. Even multi-millionaires have removed their teeth to avoid health issues and have opted to go without dentures for a time to allow their mouth to properly heal. As one wealthy lady informed me, it makes no sense to spend thousands of dollars trying to save something that will have to be removed regardless or to spend a thousand dollars on a set of dentures that will be useless in a few months to a year.

I happen to agree.

When my dentist office opens today I intend to call and make arrangements. I will set my vanity aside and allow the world to think what it wants about my toothless demeanor; my health is more important than societal beliefs.

To answer the question you may be asking: no, I am not completely comfortable with the thought of eliminating my teeth. I am definitely not comfortable with having to walk around toothless for an extended amount of time. It has to be done, however, so I may as well get it over with. Procrastination serves no purpose.