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The Worst of Times, the Best of Times

Posted on February 5th, 2011

In my last post, I neglected to mention something that happened to me at the end of 2010 that has very strongly influenced how 2011 started. The first night when I came back to Toronto, I went out with some of my friends from high school. As things were winding down and we were all on our way back home, I was inadvertently pushed from behind on the subway. In what felt like an instant, I shifted from standing by the doors to hunching over and clutching part of my front tooth; I had hit my mouth on plexiglass and almost half of a tooth chipped off.

This was one of those freakish accidents that we all think wouldn’t happen to us. More than anything, I was in shock; over and over, I just kept on thinking, “did that really just happen?” This happened in the wee hours of Christmas Eve, so finding a dentist at that time would prove challenging. When I woke up early that day, I started calling around and found a dentist who could fit me in at noon. There was no real discomfort so I was hoping that everything will somehow turn out fine.

X-rays of the tooth suggested otherwise; there was pulp exposure, which means that the area where the nerve is in the tooth was compromised. As there were no immediate sensitivity issues, the dentist cemented the chipped part back on and proceeded to offer no guarantees about any sort of recovery. The tooth may die. I may need a root canal. I can’t bite anything using my front teeth. The cement can break off.

Five weeks later, I went to see a dentist in New York to check if/how things had progressed. I didn’t feel any pain or anything, so I was optimistic that my little nerve hung in there and was on the road to recovery. But, again, x-rays suggested otherwise. It seemed that the tooth was, in fact, slowly dying. He proceeded to reiterate many of the things the dentist in Toronto had said.

It seems, then, that I have little choice: go on without biting and with the knowledge that, one day, the chip will fall off again and that I’d be back at square one, or get the root canal and put a crown in. The latter would mean that I could bite and be somewhat normal again, but I’d have to replace the crown every once in a while. Oh, and that I’d lose the nerve forever. It’s amazing how the most minor of events could have such lasting impacts.

Despite not being able to enjoy many of my favourite foods so far this year, there has been much to celebrate as well: an amazing snowboarding trip out to Killington, fun trips back to Canada, seeing many great friends in concert, being diligent at the gym, and generally having a good time in New York. There’s always a silver lining, huh?

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