My streak of foul fall luck continues this week with an annual dental checkup resulting in the sad, sad news that I will need a root canal before Christmas. I was gently informed of this by a dentist putting my x-rays up on a light board and saying, “Whoa! Look at that tooth! You’re gonna need a root canal! Whoa, you don’t have ANY pain on the left side of your mouth?! Look, most of the tooth has rotted!” Upon investigation she said, “Hm, it looks like a perfect tooth from the outside, but it’s only a matter of time!” She was so taken with this awful tooth that she offered to fix it before Thanksgiving. My stomach sank lower and lower with each of her exclamations, ending up somewhere outside floating down the gutter with the pouring 48 degree rain. Le sigh. I only had one cavity my whole life until my 20s. Then two years of constantly sipping hot sugary tea—first in my senior year in college staying up late writing journalism papers, followed by my first job staying up late writing articles—destroyed my teeth, a previous dentist told me rather more kindly then today’s. So after those costly dental repairs and the costly wisdom teeth surgery required to get family entry approval to move to Japan (which hurt so bad that I have NO recollection of March 2008), I always brush my teeth and even occasionally floss. I’ve been to FOUR dentists in the last three years—in Pensacola, Jacksonville (plus an oral surgeon for the wisdom teeth), here last year and today. The dental cleaner lady looked at my x-rays and said, “Eh? This is the tooth? Spots that big take two or three years to get so bad. And here you have some inflammation in your gums (stab stab) right here (stab stab) and a little bleeding (stab stab) so it might hurt (stab stab).” Why yes, how astute of you to notice my grimacing pain when you prod my gums with that small sharp point. Anywho, I’m surprised none of those many dental people noticed my tooth rotting out of my skull, which reminds me of this reoccurring nightmare I have where my jaw cracks off and crunches back into place, shattering all my teeth so I can feel their sharp, broken remnants and taste blood. But I heard before I moved here the lack of fluoride in the water can mean more cavities this tour. I just didn’t think it would apply to me. 🙁 Now I’m adding fluoride gels, flouride toothpastes, extra floss picks etc. to my lengthening dental routine. And how ironic that the picture above that Chris took of me in May in Kyoto would prove to be so very useful. Le sigh.