October 1: the history of my teeth

My teeth are going through a barren phase. That’s unusual, and good for me. Mostly with my teeth it’s a roller-coaster ride. I am driven from one crisis to the next, but for the last couple of years things have settled down. It all started when I was eight and smashed my just sprouted new second front tooth into Patrick Mangan’s head in the playground. We had gone up for a header and my tooth snapped straight across into his head and left him with eleven stitches. My mum took me to the dental hospital in Manchester and they gave me a silver tooth, waiting till the remaining stub had grown to fit a crown when I was eighteen. From that day on, people called me silver tooth, as though I were a gunslinger in a Western. In those days dentists drilled with gay abandon. They almost drilled the teeth right out of my head. When I went to Paris and opened my mouth to my first female dentist the first thing she did was laugh and say (I’m translating from the French) ‘Now that’s what I call filled!’. With your mouth open, prone on a dentist’s chair, that’s an uncomfortable position to be in. Things came to a head in London and I decided that my one luxury in life would be a fancy private dentist. I did not want them all to gradually disappear. I had some implants, let them drill into the bone, which is not as bad as it sounds, closed my eyes as the blood flowed into my mouth and got sucked up by the sucker. So, you see, having a barren phase in tooth work suits me just fine. The worst, for teeth at least, is over.

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