If I could relive my life over again I don’t know I’d do much differently. Things have worked out pretty well so far. However, one thing I would most certainly have done is take better care of my choppers when I was younger. I’ve probably spent $25K or more on repairing them in the last decade and a half.
I think I went about six years without seeing a dentist and when I finally did, it was because my teeth were cracking from the stress of shitty old metal fillings done by this old coot who was probably a Confederate dentist. I have fillings in about 18 of my teeth and they all had to be replaced.
It’s not like I didn’t brush my teeth, but many nights I would pass out drunk with whiskey and coke seeping into my teeth, rotting them slowly. I hardly ever flossed, and when I did, it was like that scene in Fight Club where Tyler Durden spits blood all over Lou the mobster’s face.
When one of my front teeth started to break, it was time to get serious. No one looks good with a broken smile. My first dentist in San Francisco was this young Russian woman who was surprisingly hot, but not very good at being a dentist. I let her destroy two of my teeth before I gave up the fantasy of having sex with her in the office.
What really caused me to switch dentists was she suggested pulling two of my lower from teeth because of severe gum recession. When someone wants to yank a tooth, you should get a second opinion. I went to a different dentist and he recommended a skin graft surgery to repair the recession.
For many people, gum recession is just genetic. The deterioration can be exacerbated by poor dental hygiene. My case was worsened considerably by having a tongue and lip stud. I thought I looked cool in the 90s, but those stupid little metal bits ground my gums down about a half inch on both sides of my front lower teeth, causing them to almost fall out. The 90s were fucking stupid.
When I had my first skin graft done they had to harvest tissue from the roof of my mouth using a razor edged scoop. The Dr. cut two meaty chunks out and then sewed them into place. The grafts healed well, but the harvest site took forever to get back to normal. I can still feel scar tissue on the roof of my mouth. It was so painful that I refused to get the other recession sites in my mouth looked at for years.
I had four other major recession points from shitty genetics, years of smoking, and brushing too hard. The first two repairs were so gnarly I thought about just letting them go, but the procedure now uses cadaver tissue as an option. This is truly the way to go. Instead dealing with heinous open wounds, the Dr. just peels your gums back and sews in this weird white material made from the tissue of the recently deceased.
Today I finished the last of my four cadaver grafts. I did them over about 18 months at a cost of $8K. The original grafts were $5K, so I’m about $13K into gum surgery at this point. It’s considered cosmetic surgery so my insurance doesn’t really do dick, which is stupid since if you don’t take care of it your teeth can fall out.
These days I have impeccable dental hygiene. I floss every single day, often more than once, I never go to sleep without brushing, and I use a special extra fluoride toothpaste (it does not do anything to your pineal gland morons). I’ve had no problems and no recession since starting this regimen. If I had done this from the start I’d have a lot more money and would have gone through a lot less pain.
It could have been way worse, though. Just two hundred years ago my various dental issues would probably have killed me. I listened to a podcast with a guy named Dr. House who specializes in disaster dentistry. He says that if the world collapsed into a Mad Max situation right now, as much as 30% of the population would die within a few months from untreated accesses and dental diseases.
Your teeth can kill you, so take care of those little bastards.