It all began as a tiny whole beneath the gum line.  Undetected for an undetermined amount of time, little did I know the enemy was within. Eventually, I began to notice a small space between two teeth.  Food particles began to pack the vacancy.  Floss and pick often interrupted the dark fellowship.  Neglect turned into pain and pain finally aroused some action.  An x-ray would reveal the truth of the tooth. The damage was worse than seen. The inside had decayed to the point of disrepair.  Dr. Louge said it could not be saved since there was not enough good to rebuild upon.  Then he said the word, “extraction.” My face went pale, my countenance fell.  It’s the beginning of the end. Crowns, bridges, canals, wood teeth or no teeth; all danced in my head. 

            “How soon do we need to do this?” I asked in my dread. “The sooner the better, we need to make sure to stop any further damage, it could be worse,” explained the man who had nothing to lose. After a few more painful questions, I swallowed my pride and made the next appointment.

            The day arrived, October 31, time to put on a new dental costume. Soon they will call me “bubba.” I lay in the chair staring at the bright light hoping Christ would return, now. My mouth was loaded with cotton, wood, and fruity paste that began to tingle me numb.  Then, the needles came out for an oral epidural.  Doc said, “You shouldn’t feel much.” Tell that to my wallet, my image, my spirit, and my soul.  

            Why is it that dentists put all this stuff in your mouth and then want to get funny with you?  Do they really expect to have a conversation?  There they stand over you with perfect teeth and stainless steel tools, mask, and gloves. It’s all very condescending.

            My heart was pounding; feeling flush, I asked what tool he was using as he and the assistant locked in on the task. Through the sucking sound of my now uncontrollable saliva glands, he took the vice grip in one hand and the pulley in the other.  He clamped down and began to speak code to the assistant.  I felt faint and began to sweat in many different areas. Back and forth, tighter and tighter, I could hear a cracking sound, a grunting sound, more code talk and finally something left my body. The ordeal was done.

            It took some time to regain my composure.  I asked for my tooth in a case so I could later examine the little devil. It came out in one piece which surprised the doctor. Half the inside of the tooth had hollowed out.  Sin had done its work and the only cure was to eradicate the enemy. I asked the doctor what he thought caused such a ruthless death.  “I don’t know, sugar maybe,” he glibly replied.  I took my autographed x-ray and rotten tooth home that day and sat in my chair in humble contemplation while trick-or-treators held out their sacks for candy. I thought about smiling to show my new look with swollen jaw and gauze filled mouth but why ruin their fun.