Mind the gap

Somebody lost a baby tooth in our house last week. Normally this would herald much excitement at the arrival of the tooth fairy, but unfortunately the somebody who lost a baby tooth was me.

What is the going rate for the tooth fairy when you’re over 40? I think I deserve more than a quid.

So I know what you’re thinking – Yes, adults can still have baby teeth. It’s not that common, but it happens. Or, as my dentist helpfully put it: “it’s a mind the gapfreak of nature”. Oh, well I feel much better about looking like a pirate now.

It’s left me with a 7mm gap in my teeth. That’s not very far if you’re running a marathon or leaping a hedge, but when it’s at the front of your gob it’s pretty frickin huge.

I went for a 3D head scan to ascertain the damage.

“It doesn’t look good” said the dentist – not a phrase you really want to hear from a medical professional in a white coat. Then he threw in the “freak of nature” quip, and charged me £100. Nice.

The problem is that the adult tooth that should have grown into the gap is wedged sideways into the gum above where it should be, over the two teeth on either side – sort of like an internal, toothy Stonehenge arrangement.

And there’s no real solution, just a series of crap options. I could have a dental bridge, but that would involve knocking down the teeth on either side which are currently perfectly OK. This could damage them, the nerves could die and I kind of zoned out at this point.

The most horrible sounding option involves getting the sideways tooth removed from the gum under general anaesthetic, and getting an implant put in once the wound heals. This would cost around £2K. Oh, and it could also damage the surrounding teeth and make them fall out too. So, essentially an expensive, painful process that could leave things worse than they started.

The down side of having this gap is that it’s making me very self conscious when I meet and talk to people. It makes me want to meet and talk to people less. I have a couple of blogger meetups coming up and I’m nervous about them in a way I never have been before.

It puts me off smiling, and when I do, I go for the closed mouth, Mona Lisa option. I’m aware of it all the time.

So is that worth an unreliable, painful and costly procedure? I honestly don’t know.

At the same time I feel bad because, in the scale of things that could be wrong with you, it’s pretty minor. I know people who’ve lost body parts and been more dignified about it.

Ironically, also over the last week, the world has been considering what it is to be so beautiful that Twitter shits itself. But I am going in the opposite direction to Samantha Brick, towards looking so bad that strangers recoil. Hey, maybe there’s a feature in that? Just as long as they don’t want pictures.

Right now I’m waiting for an appointment at the dental hospital, to get a second opinion. Until then, freak of nature look it is. At least I’ll be OK when it’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day. It’s the rest of the year I’m not so sure about.