The first got cut in half by a puck when I was ten, playing street hockey in New York. The second got angle-chipped at fifteen in Minnesota while driving my friend Scott’s Gran Torino without a license. I hit a pole at 5 MPH in the parking lot of my apartment complex.
Both got capped a month before Senior Prom. The dentist ground down both teeth to roots and glued on enamel crowns. His grinder felt like a piece of road resurfacing equipment. He used a lot of gauze to soak up the blood.
34 years later, both teeth are being replaced. My new dentist has a computer-controlled mini-robot in the back that mills custom teeth. At the moment I have temporaries, after she sawed off the old ones. I came home a few weeks ago feeling like a beaver who’d been shot up with Novocaine.
Those teeth were among a few belongings remaining from high school: A Merriam-Webster dictionary with a coffee stain on the cover, a blue cross-country ski hat made from indestructible synthetic fabric. That doesn’t count the letters and pictures stashed in boxes upstairs.
I suppose this tooth replacement thing feels resonant and symmetric because my son Solomon attended Senior Prom recently and will start college in Minnesota this September. The other resonance is the understanding that this is probably the last time I will have my two front teeth replaced.
L’dor va d’or, as they say in Hebrew. From one generation to another.
Front Teeth by Elizartyrrell