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Losing your first tooth as a child is always a joyous occasion. You get to smile proudly, lisp without any repercussions and best of all, you get to put that little white piece of enamel under you pillow for the Tooth Fairy.
 

Losing your first tooth as an adult is anything but wonderful. Instead of getting a visit from the Tooth Fairy, you visit the Tooth Doctor. In place of a shiny new coin under your pillow to add to your Piggy Bank, you get a rather painful bill that will put a significant dent in your bank account. And once that permanent tooth falls out, that’s it. There isn’t another waiting to take its place.  

I had always prided myself on having good teeth. Brushing, flossing, cleaning were part of my regular regimen. And apart from a few teeth shifting a little to the left, everything seemed to be fine.  

That is until the other day. When disaster struck.  

What I thought was a potato chip stuck to my molar turned out to be a slight crack. And as I worked on getting this supposed chip out of my mouth, I was in fact, helping my tooth break apart. Imagine my surprise when I held a piece of my tooth in my hand.  

My blood pressure rose. For a few seconds, okay, maybe longer, I couldn’t think clearly or talk to anyone. This could not be happening. Not to me. But it was.  

And so several days later, there I sat in the dentist’s chair waiting for his verdict.  

Sure enough, I needed a crown.  

The procedure itself was not so much painful as boring. While waiting for my crown, I reflected back on my life. To all of those “firsts” that were cherished events in my youth. And about those “firsts” later in life that are quite the opposite.  

For instance, my first period. Oh, how excited I was for that to happen. Of course, I didn’t know about all the times that I’d be unprepared and have to stuff toilet paper between my legs. But that first menstruation cycle meant something special.  

Now, the first time I missed my period (other than due to being pregnant) was also a special event, but this time it meant I was entering menopause. The loss of one’s eggs along with the prospect of hot flashes, mood swings and a dry vagina, is nothing to celebrate.  

The first time I shaved my legs made me feel so grownup. I used an electric razor and afterwards, rubbed my mom’s moisturizer into my smooth skin. I couldn’t wait to show off my new, womanly calves.  

But the first time I noticed a few hairs on my upper lip and realized that I needed to have them waxed off, made me feel old and ugly. Every time I talked to someone, I was sure their eyes were focusing on the manly whiskers growing on my face.  

When I first learned to read, I was thrilled. However the first time I realized that I needed reading glasses in order to see the words on the page, I went into denial.  

Finally, the dentist came back, interrupting the philosophical discussion I had been having with myself. After putting in my crown, it was time for me to leave. But not before he informed me that I now needed a deep cleaning. This not only entailed getting deep into my gums, but deep into my pocketbook as well. Again.  

I glanced up at the sign on the wall.  

IGNORE YOUR TEETH AND THEY WILL GO AWAY.

Losing this first tooth was enough. There was not going to be a repeat performance. I immediately booked an appointment for that deep cleaning.  

I’m not looking forward to this experience, but I don’t have much choice. Smiling without any teeth is not something I want to add to my late-in-life “first” events.

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