Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bad Teeth

I'm thankful for modern dentistry, because without it, my middle-aged teeth (such of them as remained) would be in hopeless shape. I inherited bad teeth from my father. But thanks to the dentist, my teeth are quite functional-- thanks to the dentist, that is, and also to a piece of bridgework, four crowns, and more fillings than I could possibly count.

One odd feature of the remote rural area where I live is that many people, and many of them far younger than I, have appallingly bad teeth. I know plenty of people around here, in their fifties, in their forties, and even younger, who have gap-toothed smiles, missing teeth, rotting teeth. Some people (again, some of them younger than I) who have numerous missing or rotting teeth.

I can't figure it. To some degree it seems to be cultural, "Why bother?", a "class" thing, a lack of vanity. But I suspect also to a large degree it's a matter of finances. People around here are not wealthy, most of them, and would rather spend such spare cash as they have on a snowmobile or a pickup instead of dental work. And so they tear down the road with a mighty roar, and with several teeth missing.

I know one neighbor who had a number of bad teeth, and getting them fixed was financially beyond him. So he got all his teeth pulled instead. All his teeth, good or bad. A set of dentures, that he could afford.

Me, I'd rather have all my teeth, or a reasonable simulacrum thereof. I'm not wealthy either, but I make a reasonable living, I have no dependents and no debt, and overall I live simply, resisting the siren lure of snowmobiles and pickup trucks. So I am able to afford such dental care as I need. And so I have no appalling gaps in my smile.

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