"The Miracle of the Broken Tooth", a very unlikely title for a Christmas story, but one for me nonetheless. The past hour alone has allowed me to contemplate and discover this miracle and has brought me once again to write.
Anyone who has known me for a long, or short for that matter, time knows that I seem to constantly have problems with my teeth. I feel comfortable in claiming that I have the worst teeth ever. Ok, so maybe not like those in a 3rd world country, but amongst us tooth-brushing, flossing, "flourided" water drinking, regular dentist attending Americans, I am a solid contestant.
So over the past couple of weeks I have been in real pain once again with one of my teeth. It always seems to be worse when I am pregnant as the baby seems to suck all the calcium out of my teeth, but I have been a real diligent milk drinker this time despite the potential for that to cause kidney stones- a story for another time that no one wants to hear. This pain increased severely until I could not chew or even tap my tooth without sharp, shooting pain. So a call to my buddies at Dr. Curley's dental office got me a same day appointment. To save some of the long details it seemed as if the problem with my tooth was beyond their expertise so off to an endodontist, a root specialist I found out, I had to go. No surprise to my husband or I. We could probably put a nice down payment on a house with the amount of money we have spent in my mouth.
After a consultation with the endodontist there were a few possibilites with my far back molar: my old old dentist could have left instruments in my tooth during the root canal, he could have not drilled far enough into my root or he could have drilled a hole in the bottom of it, or it could be none of these. Exciting isn't it?! What was not so exciting was the potential $1500 it might cost. I prayed and prayed for a miracle in the days proceeding my appointment. Tears and tears later I was there with Dr. Roe. She didn't even get as far as drilling into my tooth before I heard "oh, that is unusual". Not something you want to hear, but I told her that "usunusal" was my middle name. I always managed to fall into those unusual circumstances that lucky 1-2% of the population seem to fall into. She proceeded to tell me that my tooth had broken off below my gumline with my crown. She said that this never happens and apparently it was so rare and intriguing that she asked if she could show my tooth around the office.
Next came the whisking of me off to an oral surgeon because apparently my tooth needed to be removed right away. Are you kidding me? I laughed one of those laughs that is a mixture of disbelief and a cynicism derived from certain likelihood and delirium. I was then very anxious as I realized that normally this procedure requires being "put under". The oral surgeon explained that due to my pregnancy only local anesthesia could be used and I would only be able to take tylenol for the pain. He was very sensitive to my situation as his wife was pregnant as well.
As I sat in the OR I began reading a book I had brought, "Raising Up a Family to the Lord" and had decided to listen to Christmas music on my I-Pod. Despite my anxiety for the safety of my baby and the anticipated pain I would feel, I felt a peace. As he began to poke me with needles to try and numb me, I felt more shooting pain. It was at that time that a song that is very special to me came up on my playlist, "Once in Royal David City". Owen used to sweetly sing along to the children's choir in this song when he was two. It tells of Jesus Christ as a baby and his mission on this earth. As the surgery continued with horrible pain and pressure in my jaw and horrific sounds of a saw and the crunching and cracking of my jawbone and tooth, I asked my Savior to be with me, over and over. Although the pain did not decrease, I felt his Spirit and love and a presence close to me helping me get through it. I suddenly felt a gratitude for the small, tender mercies of that day: kind and fast-moving ladies in both offices, a caring endodontist, a sensitive, sweet oral surgeon, generous family and friends who cared for my children, and the Christmas song that played.
Perhaps the miracle I had prayed for did come in the most unlikely way. The tooth extraction although extremely painful only came to be $30 versus a retreatment of my tooth and a crown possibly totally $1500. Yes my tooth is now gone and the after pain has also been very difficult. I will need a bone graft and possibly a dental implant after the baby is born, but those are not immediate and can hopefully be planned for. What has come now is not a burdening dental bill but a lightening of my heart. A recognition of my Father in Heaven's love for me. And although he can't take away all of my pain and trials He is with me to love me, to give me peace, and to send others to help take care of my and my family. So there you have it, this year's Christmas tale "The Miracle of the Broken Tooth":-).