#Inktober Day 7 - Tooth
Today's Inktober prompt is Tooth.
This took me in a couple of directions.
First, from my brief Google Image searches of groundhogs yesterday, I saw some of the results show them with really gnarly teeth! I had wondered if those were a special species of groundhog/woodchuck, but instead I learned that malocclusion is a common disorder that occurs in mice and other rodents, due to their incisors being open-rooted and growing their entire lifespan. Due to traumas at a young age, such as from gnawing on hard things, teeth become mis-aligned, the tooth dentin grows at odd rates, and eventually it kills the rodent.
Anyway, it sounds pretty sad and painful for the animal! Here's an example of the gnarliness.
I have a powerful jaw
According to my dentist I have pretty good teeth; I try to take care of them.
But I unfortunately don't have all my teeth. All 4 of my wisdom teeth were removed when I was a teenager, after I got my braces out.
In adulthood, my jaw has single handedly killed 2 more molars from grinding them down while sleeping.
There have been several periods of life in the past decade where I may have been stressed out more than usual. I would clench my teeth at night without a nightguard on, to the point that my tooth would eventually grow a hairline fracture from the pressure. Once the fracture goes below the gumline, it's too late. Bacteria get in, and infect the root. You get the worst head/toothache ever and you feel like dying until you go to the dentist. I don't recall why a root canal is not enough, but they had to remove the tooth because it's beyond repair.
The methods of removal are quite barbaric. While the tooth is dead, it's still sucked into its hole. While the assistant presses me down to the chair, the dentist takes a pair of pliers and has to pull on the tooth, bracing himself against the chair as not to fall backwards when it pops out.
I've gone through this twice in the last decade.
One of the occasions, the dentist ended up fully breaking the tooth into two pieces so they'd be easier to pull out.
It's really sad. Makes me really sad just thinking about it. 😢 Those were some sad times in my life.
In addition to me being sad, I can imagine my tooth being sad as bacteria eat at it before it dies and leaves its friends because I killed it.
So I am now pretty good at wearing my nightguard every night.
But there are still occasions when I'll fall asleep without it on. The next two molars have gone through 2 rounds of fillings, each. Not because I got cavities, but because they've been chipped, and then I've chipped the fillings. So now they both are living under re-enforced crowns. They're the last two molars on the bottom row. I hope they'll survive a few more decades.