A shadow tooth has cursed my brilliant smile for decades. The dentum in question is the right upper canine. It disappeared behind the right front and first pre-molar about 20 years ago. Spotted the culprit when I looked at a photo of Yours truly from a film set where I stood in for the handsome leading man.
It looked as though I had the tooth.
I hadn't, but I accelerated into the dental agony of having a "dead" tooth pulled; a base constructed; and an implant screwed in so the Huck Finn Look-Alike contest trophies would take up less space on a bookshelf.
Instead, Dr. Schulz, the SF Dentist to the Stars, informed me of the tooth's movement over the years, and that a veneer or straightening regimen was in the future.
Bravery just nipped vanity at the decision-making finish line, and 20 years passed.
Now, nine months into the dreaded Invisalign, results have been significant. And so has discomfort, annoyance, and a monthly purchase of toothpaste, floss, Denta-Picks, denture cleaner (Brite Aligner for those of you interested, is the non-abrasive solution), and baking soda.
What caused the change of heart?
Gum surgery. At least avoiding gum surgery.
An unexpected benefit of getting your teeth to line up perfectly is, after years of chewing them into rows resembling the crackerjack military forces of your average Banana Republic, the enamel chiclets in your mouth are shoved back up into the gum line via Invisalign. Gum surgery is described as taking tissue from part of your mouth and grafting it over the exposed parts of your teeth. It is expensive, painful, and slow. Those are the best qualities of the procedure.
Aligner #21 of 27 now sits in my mouth. Due to the stupid pandemic, the wimpy medical professionals of the world fled their offices like drunk teenagers caught in a parking lot by the police. More than 20 EXTRA days passed on aligner #21, which had the consistency of a newspaper rubber band by the time the dentist updated the regimen.
The urge to tear #21 out of the mouth and melt it down is only tamped down by images of Laurence Olivier peering at a scalpel during gum surgery and asking;
"Shall I take the tissue from the roof or the sides?"
Just six aligners and 63 days to go.