Lately, I have been involved quite a bit with weeping and gnashing of teeth – my own! As I reported several months ago, I had a great amount of dental work done 22 years ago – 17 crowns and 11 veneers. That means that every tooth in my head had work done and it was no picnic. There were at least four visits to the dentist and each session was more than four hours long. And being a younger guy, I never thought about ever having to get those crowns replaced when they wore out. Well, guess what? Back in the day, the average life expectancy of a crown was 20 years; and that means the last several years I have been on bonus time.
That never really occurred to me until I started having more dental issues several years ago and that meant that sooner or later I had to go through the trauma of once again spending a huge number of hours in the “chair.” So, this spring I decided to take the plunge and get it done. Thankfully, the technology has become much better and the new crowns they use today have a much longer life expectancy than they did years ago. In fact, I was told that I could live to be a VERY old man and never have to go through this process again.
I have learned several additional things this time around as well. For instance, after each session it took me much longer to recover than it did 22 years ago. In fact, on the days that I had work done, I pretty much spent the rest of the day working from home. And there were multiple days that I needed more than 14 shots in various areas of my mouth and gums to deaden areas that were being worked on – and even that didn’t do the trick. On two different days, I needed each tooth shot up with additional anesthesia to even stand the necessary work. I guess I have built up something of a tolerance for this stuff throughout the years.
Anyway, today was the day that the last 8 crowns were delivered and cemented into place. You would think that I would be celebrating but I am too tired to do that. And there is a little bit of a let down. It’s kind of like being in alert mode for more than 10 weeks while the doctor methodically works on each section of your mouth. Then, suddenly, it’s all over and the adrenalin rush is over and you kind of crash – just incredibly thankful it is almost done.
I say “almost” because I still have several more visits – a full cleaning to make sure that there isn’t any cement in places it shouldn’t be – and then several visits to do adjustments to my “bite” now that I have a full new set of chompers. When you add up the work done the first time around, and add the 28 new crowns I have now, in addition to one that had to be replaced along the way, I have had more than 47 crowns, 11 veneers and three root canals (all on the same tooth) including one time when the doctors had to drill through my jaw to get to the problem area. This ought to be some sort of record!
But tonight, it’s time to relax and realize that the worst part is behind me and I am now on the mend. Oddly, the new crowns feel “natural” to me, which is kind of weird because it’s been so long since I have had a normal bite. And I was sure that it would take some getting used to. I have even been advised that I will chew differently and my digestion should improve – although I don’t have any problems that I know of. But let’s face it, I have had plenty of weeping – from discomfort – and gnashing of teeth in this whole experience.
You can probably guess that the verse for this evening highlights what will happen when those people who aren’t part of the kingdom get banished by God’s angels. We are told, in Matthew 13:41-43, “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
My encouragement this evening is that while there will be times in your life when you have struggles, there is a plan for you to come out the other side better than before. That has certainly happened in my case. My prayer is that you will continue to trust God and that you will spend eternity with Him – where there will never be weeping and the gnashing of teeth! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…