Saturday, October 30, 2004

imminent disaster

My mother has tough teeth. As is true with many Koreans, she has no trouble simply biting through a crab's shell to get at the tender meat. The whole notion of using a nutcracker is foreign to many Koreans, who in many cases also find such shell-biting quite entertaining. Mom-- and most other Koreans-- could probably chew through a car's roof to save an accident victim, if need be. Like I said, tough teeth.

Mom didn't get her first cavity until she was 40. I, on the other hand, appear not to have made it past the 35 mark. I haven't been to a dentist in a long, long time (not since, oh, 1992, when I had to get a checkup before starting two years of hell as a high school teacher), and two of my teeth are now showing their age. One in particular, my upper left wisdom tooth, has reached an almost hilarious state of decrepitude: a couple years ago, I noticed a small cavity had begun to form on its cheekward side; now, that cavity seems to have practically hollowed out the entire tooth, like a slow-motion sideways explosion. The tooth's exterior-- assuming my tongue probe isn't lying-- seems fine, but today, as I scratched the edge of the enormous cavity with a fingernail, I felt and heard a slight crack. The tooth didn't give, but I know it's been compromised. It won't be long before I'm blogging the loss of this tooth for your entertainment, but I'm wondering whether I shouldn't see a dentist before the inevitable happens. Do I put myself at the mercy of Korean dental care?

Stay tuned. I might even have photos later.


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