"Brush your teeth and comb your hair!"
I heard it every morning growing up. I was brought up with fairly good oral hygiene habits. But I'm paying the price (quite literally) now for one slight problem. My parents rarely took me to the dentist. My much older brother had terribly crooked teeth and had to have braces, so all of their money and effort was poured into him. So while he had years of appointments with the Orthodonist over the years, I was never taken to the dentist again. Now, I'm not blaming them for the fact that I didn't go as an adult either, but...
But. It was just a few years ago that my aching teeth drove me to the dentist's chair for the first time in... well, let's just say Gerald Ford was probably in the White House the last time a dentist saw me. By that time, despite my best efforts to brush every day, I had to have four wisdom teeth yanked, 16 fillings, and two root canals. Despite their best efforts at salvaging a front tooth that I chipped as a kid, it finally gave up the ghost last December. My tooth was infected, and they yanked it.
So today, I'm off to Gaylord for step two of a year-long process that will eventually replace the big gap in my smile. Today's procedure includes drilling a long screw into my gum that will hold the new tooth in place. Oooh, fun. As I understand it, I'll be waiting three more months while my mouth adjusts to it before they attach the new tooth. *Sigh* $3,600 later, I'll be able to smile again without worrying that the temporary tooth will fall out of my mouth.
I wish I could tie this experience to some deep theological truth, and perhaps someday I will. If I can encourage you at all through this rambling diatribe, please understand this: A little discomfort in the dentist's chair today will save you a world of hurt tomorrow. Take your kids. Set the example by having regular appointments yourself.
Oh, and don't forget to floss.