It Has Come To This

receeding teeth

I mean, I knew that aging wasn’t going to be easy, that things would begin to droop and sag.  I was clear that hair would turn white and appear in places it’d never been before.  But, I never imagined this.  Yes, I want everyone out there struggling with the same issue to know… don’t be embarrassed, I’m owning it…

My gums are receeding.


Well, actually only one – gum.

I have prided myself on great dental hygiene.   The first time I spent a weekend with Lisa we climbed a mountain, and at the top, I flossed.  And she married me anyway.

My mouth has always been my most attractive feature.  And now this.

I went in to have a simple teeth cleaning and made the mistake of complaining about tenderness around number 21, the left bottom canine.  Dr. Helms came in and started poking around with his fancy fish-hook.

“Looks like you have a receding gumline.  We’ll just drill a little and fill that right in with some epoxy.”

Epoxy?  Isn’t that what we made ashtrays out of in high school?

Two weeks later I found myself horizontal in his chair, with a flurry of folks dashing about my kisser.

I began to have heart palpitations.

“Am I going to get a shot?  In my mouth?”

I’d never had a cavity, never experienced Novocaine.  Needles and mouths are not compatible!  You wouldn’t put butter beans in your underpants, it doesn’t make sense.  Why in the world would you ever stick a needle in your trap?  It’s for eating, kissing, talking – not stabbing!

The doc assured me it wasn’t going to hurt.  “you’re going to feel a slight sting.”

“I don’t like slight stings!”

“It won’t hurt, I promise.”

He was pretty much right.  The actual prick didn’t cause much pain, but I could feel him digging around my gums with his prickly apparatus.

Once he was through, the left side of my lip stuck out like Fat Albert’s friend, Dumb Donald.

Iba couldn’tba hardlyba talkba.  Slobber was falling down my chin and neck.

He finished the procedure and told me that number 21 should be good to go by dinnertime.

I jumped into my car and began to stretch my lip in and out to see if I could feel anything.  I bit it, nothing.  I hit it, nothing.  I pressed down on it with my fingernail – if I hadn’t seen it in the rear view mirror, I wouldn’t have known my hand was anywhere near my face.

If I wanted to I could have pulled my lip out and stuck a grapefruit between the outside of my gum and the inside of my bottom lip.  It was like Stretch Armstrong.

I actually sort of liked my lip in limbo.  Next time I want to do my eyelid.



Leave a comment


  1. Mel Ham

     /  September 10, 2014

    Are you kidding me…seriously never had Novocaine. Most people experience this by age 8…needless to say you have all wisdom teeth too. Oh you have missed so much. I had two wisdom teeth taken out without the “juice”. Wide away (military dentist) standing on the chair striding me yanking pulling with all his might. Very traumatic. So many shots (didn’t feel a thing). For 6 hours i walked around like our dog heidi that had caught a frog in her mouth…strings of pink saliva hanging down without my knowledge.

    on the receding gum line…if you are like me and brushing is so may be brushing to aggressively. I have place on my right side like start point that i get busy with brushing..i’m getting a bit of that too….but mine was NOT that bad….guess you are really getting close to 49…..49! Love regardless.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  September 10, 2014

      I did have wisdom teeth out but they just gave me an IV. Much easier!

  2. So they drilled away part of a healthy tooth to apply the epoxy at the gum line? Is that like a veneer? Can you see it on the tooth or does it blend in?

  3. CHall

     /  September 10, 2014

    Oh my…can’t believe you’ve lived this long without a shot of novocaine. Consider yourself initiated. Have been going to a dentist since age 3…a looong time ago. Had cavities in my baby teeth (in spite of regular brushing), had 6 (!) wisdom teeth removed, practically every tooth in my mouth is either capped/crowned, have had 2 root canals (now there’s some real fun), and 1 dental implant. But I’ve yet to have a gum procedure such as you’ve described…guess I can look forward to that. Yep, I know all about needles in the mouth.

  4. Aunt Susan

     /  September 10, 2014

    butter beans in your underwear???? really?

  5. My gums are doing the same thing, and it is truly my worst nightmare! It turns out that I am clenching and grinding my teeth. I practically had to cash out my retirement plan to buy this dental appliance to keep from grinding my teeth at night, so they will not eventually FALL OUT OF MY HEAD! I was freaking out when the dentist gave me the worst case scenario.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  September 10, 2014

      I don’t think I grind. i wonder why mine are doing that.

      • mel ham

         /  September 12, 2014

        you don’t know when you grind most times. I have been awaken with the release ..that ah…almost like after a sneeze. I’m grinding too. Just went to the dentist today. If you do grind you run the risk of cracking teeth and gum damage. Maybe you don’t…I attribute mine to hectic life….bridling hostility toward ignorance etc……in that case…you grind. no question.

  6. Too funny. But was there any after effects with you messing with your lips? When my son had his first filling he was playing with his lip because he couldn’t feel it and in a no time it was busted and swollen. That was funny wish I had thought to get a picture.

  7. *shudder* I’m due for some serious dental work & this ain’t making it any better 😳


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