I was punished for my virtue while I was flossing Saturday night. One of my crowns popped off. I spit it into my hand, and though I was relieved to see that it was a crown and not a tooth (I wasn’t thinking quite straight, or else I might have realized that a tooth would have hurt, though fortunately I don’t know from experience), it was still not good. This is close to the least convenient dentist week imaginable for me—I’m in a different city every day from Sunday through Thursday, and otherwise unavailable on Friday and Saturday.

First I cussed; then we discussed. We decided that the best strategy was for me to wait until today and call my regular dentist here in New Haven first thing. I’d managed to wedge the crown back on and it seated rather securely, so I wasn’t worried that it would fall off again too easily. The wife was a bit worried that it’d fall off in the night and that I’d aspirate it, leading to horrible consequences of the sort she was studying for her pulmonology test today. Me, I was more sanguine, figuring that I was more likely to swallow it. This claim was not reassuring to her.

In any event, I called the dentist’s office this morning and, happily enough, they were able to fit me in in late morning. Since my first visit ever with them involved having a crown reglued, I knew that I could trust them to do it well and that it was a quick and basically painless procedure. Both statements held true, and now I once again have a bionic jaw. There’s something about having a freshly-crowned tooth that makes you feel like you could chew through I-beams.

One other bit of praise. I have a fairly well-developed gag reflex; even having a straw (on which I was expected to bite down while the adhesive set) protruding too far into my mouth was enough to set it off once the saliva started pooling. The technician, noticing my distress, started telling me soothingly to focus on breathing through my nose and touched my arm reassuringly. It was quite effective, and quite thoughtful. It’s touches like that that make a difference between pleasant and unpleasant trips to the dentist (and to the doctor more generally—I had a good experience with a checkup last week, for similar reasons). Well done, and I am deeply grateful for the humanity involved.

If you need a dentist recommendation in New Haven, I’d be happy to tell you where to go. Just ask.