I broke my front tooth a few days ago. How? Well, how do you think I did it, given that I live in a ski resort, I love the half pipe on my snowboard, I prefer to attack moguls on my alpine skis, and I’m only just getting the hang of telemarking. Any of these would provide a great story to accompany the stitches in my lip and the jagged tooth I picked up after my accident.
Actually, I tripped over the shoelace of my snowboard boot in a car park and landed on my face. Yep. I hadn’t even touched the snow before my day was done.
My lip needed two stitches according to the doctor who looked, and acted, about ten years old. He started by ousting my friend from the room, then he sprayed some sort of numbing spray on my lip and said: “Just let me know if you can feel anything and I’ll give you an injection instead.” I’m not sure which bit of “ARGGHHHHH” the doctor didn’t understand while he pushed the needle through for the first stitch, then continued to pull the string through. Instead, he said: “Oh, that’s not very good because you moved: I’ll have to do it again” and pulled the entire length of string back through, which snagged on my flesh and stung every millimetre of the way back out. He did give me the injection after this, but he really couldn’t have made my experience much worse. After Doctor Pain’s actions, I was prepared for some sort of hell at the dental surgery.
But wait, I have to wind back a bit here, because the first person to help me when I tripped over was actually a dentist. He found my tooth, prevented me from fainting, and gave my friend the number of a good dental sculpter friend of his. His wife handed me tissues to sop up the blood spurting out of my lip. As my friend went to make the call to the dentist here in La Clusaz for some emergency patch-up work, a skier walking past stopped and said: “My dad is the dentist here, but he’ll be at lunch now. The appointment was arranged for me while I tried to slow the fountain of blood from my lip. So, that’s two dental connections in the car park alone. While I mourned the breakage of my otherwise strong and previously presentable teeth, I did feel a lot of gratitude for all these lovely people who had stopped to help, and I was just lucky that they had suitable dental knowledge. Okay, we can fast forward to the dental surgery now.
So, a few hours after the trauma of Doctor Pain and a stitched, swollen lip, I headed to the dental surgery. I have never met a nicer dentist than this man. Well, the one in the car park was pretty nice too, but of all the dentists who have worked on my teeth in various countries, this one was definitely the nicest. While he sculpted a new, improved-shape front tooth for me, we had a chat about a different son of his, who I know to look at, but who I don’t know personally. But this is the joy of living in a village. He knew the (only) other Australians in town, and we found common ground. I explained (with a numb tongue and probably lots of saliva) that I was still waiting for my Carte Vitale (as described just a few days ago, here), and he was very sympathetic and charged me less than he could have. In fact, he charged me less for sculpting a new front tooth than Doctor Pain charged me for stitching me up and splashing some Betadine around.
I would love to have my old front tooth back, but if I were to use a cheesy wedding speech cliché: “On this day, I don’t feel like I’ve lost a tooth. Instead, I’ve gained a dentist.”