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Problem – #19

By March 22, 2018August 30th, 2022Devotional

God has blessed me in many ways throughout my life, but I can’t say that having great teeth is among them. In fact, although I went without cavities through most of my childhood, I was one of those people who ground their teeth at night and eventually, that took a toll on me that has haunted me throughout the years. In fact, I could identify with Paul and the thorn in his flesh as I lived with this issue for many years.

After Janet and I moved to Carmel, back in 1982, we started a company and moved into a small office on the north side of Indy in a relatively old, but very well maintained, office complex named Winterton. It so happens that our next door neighbor was a dentist and I quickly became friends with him.

Dr. Clayton was well ahead of me in his career but we, nonetheless, became great neighbors. And when I needed my teeth cleaned, it was natural that I tried him out. So I didn’t think much of it when I had a large cavity in 1983, on the lower right side, second from the back – they call it tooth #19.

All went well until 1984 when Doc Clayton let me know that I needed a root canal – tooth #19 was infected and the nerve was damaged. So… one afternoon I walked next door and he did the job. I remember it to this day. After my mouth was numb, he went to work, talking the whole time, and several hours later, I was being fit for my first crown. The tooth needed a post – that is, he had to hammer a small metal peg into what was left of my tooth to provide enough support for the new crown. Not pleasant by any means, but bearable. Two weeks later the crown was delivered and that was that – or so I thought…

I guess that I should mention that before Dr. Clayton retired in 1992, he crowned at least 18 of my teeth and put veneers on 10 more. I trusted him. He donated his labor, thank goodness, but the lab bill was still more than I care to reveal. All those years of grinding my teeth had finally taken its toll and now I was paying the price – literally. Four visits – almost 20 hours in the “chair” – more than 50 shots of lidocaine and twice that every tooth in my head was worked on in one session.

Fast forward to 2006 and I once again had an infection in my jaw near that area. Dr. Lewis, who had taken over Clayton’s practice after he retired, let me know that another root canal was in my future. But it turned out that the post from the original root canal wouldn’t come out and so I had to make several visits for them to drill it out before another root canal was performed – on the same tooth. Another new crown and I was good to go – so I thought…

In 2012, x-rays showed another infection in my bone under – you guessed it – tooth #19. This time I had to visit an oral surgeon who drilled through my jaw after carefully removing my gum tissue from the immediate area. This was a scary procedure – several holes in my jaw, the amputation of part of the tooth from below, the replacement of my gum with many sutures and a long recovery period. At least the crown didn’t have to be removed – yet…

By 2014, many of the old crowns were falling apart and had to be re-made. Thankfully, Dr. Lewis was, and is, still my dentist and it was a great comfort to know that she was the one who would do all the work. This time it was 28 more crowns and hours upon hours of time in “the chair” – four visits of at least three hours each.  With all the replacements throughout the years, I have had at least 56 crowns and 3 procedures – 2 root canals and a surgery – on tooth #19. What else could happen?

Well, earlier this week I found out. Remember that first root canal in 1984? Well, throughout the years the tooth became more brittle and earlier this week, during a routine exam, Dr. Lewis let me know that, after reviewing a set of x-rays, it had finally cracked. With no options left, an extraction was the only thing to do.

That’s what happened late yesterday afternoon. Tooth #19 was finally removed, chipped out in pieces, during a procedure that I wouldn’t want to go through again – God willing. The good news is that I shouldn’t have any more issues after the bone graft heals, the implant is installed in my jaw and a new, yes new, crown is put on sometime this fall. It’s a seven month process with my particular jaw and the damage I have sustained throughout the years.  Thank God for Dr. Lewis. So tooth #19 is a thing of the past.

I can’t help but be reminded of all the biblical references to teeth. There are the verses on the gnashing of teeth, the references of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth – and many others. But I chose Psalm 3:7 for our verse of the night. The psalmist tells us, “Arise, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.”

Having just been through the “breaking of teeth”, this verse has taken on new meaning. The psalmist is petitioning God for retribution on his enemies. And a horrible punishment that would have been. I can attest to that! My encouragement tonight is that God is our protector and our salvation. My prayer is that we never forget that Christ assures us that whatever we ask for in His name will be done in accordance with His will for our lives and He will eventually vanquish our enemies and those who don’t believe in Him will be eternally separated… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

One Comment

  • David Toussaint says:

    Wow, I knew you had a number of problems with your teeth, but not that many!! Ouch. Praise the Lord you had good dentist and it was all done as well as could be expected.
    And also a praise, HE will vanquish our enemies one day.

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