When I was ten years old I killed a tooth.
I was playing football and my friend George’s head hit my mouth, sending one of my front teeth into the – well, wherever teeth go when they die. The tooth turned grayish-brown, but held firm. And it is still there, a discolored reminder of the gridiron game I love so much.
Over the years many dentists have tried to convince me to “do” something to it, usually involving a medieval procedure that involved digging out the insides and replacing the pulp with cement. They called it a root canal.
I called it torture, and wished they would just leave me and my tooth alone.
It all became clear to me when I got stationed on a carrier. The dentists were good guys – they were my friends. I went in for my annual check up and once again, the dentist (my friend) suggested a root canal. I asked him why. Why not just leave it alone?
He said, “I need the practice.”
Which is why I don’t trust dentists.