I inherited my Oma's strong teeth: when she died at age 91, she still had most of her natural teeth, despite having lived through two world wars, the Berlin Blockade, and a career as a restauranteur. While I had lots of orthodontics when I was a kid, and had to have all four widsom teeth removed in 1990, I have never had even a single cavity.
Until now. When I went to see my dentist this afternoon for a routine cleaning, a bit of sensitivity and an X-ray showed a tiny amount of decay on the front surface of the last molar on the top left side of my mouth. I'll set up an appointment to have a filling next week.
Since my teeth have put up with almost 40 years of abuse so far, I can't really complain. Especially considering how minor a cavity is compared to the other shit I'm dealing with these days. A few years ago I would have been pretty disappointed by tooth decay; now it's almost laughable.
In fact, there's a good chance the only reason I have this cavity is because the chemotherapy and other cancer treatments I've had over the past couple of years are pretty hard on my immune system and the rest of my body, teeth included. My dentist said my gums are actually in surprisingly good shape, considering. My Oma-teeth are still holding in pretty strong.
Not only that, but after all the surgery and stuff I've experienced recently, and all the heavy-duty painkillers and other drugs I've had to take, a bit of dental work is about as threatening as a mosquito bite. I'll drop in for 45 minutes, have my jaw frozen, listen to my iPod, and head home. From my current perspective, it's a piece of cake.
Labels: cancer, chemotherapy, family, fear, pain