Then I fell off.
I flipped over the handlebars, landed on my face, and skidded along on that for a few feet before coming to halt in a whimpering bundle of patheticness.
I did TRY to break my fall, but unfortunately I didn't do very well - I broke my wrist, and still I didn't manage to stop my front teeth coming into painful contact with the road. I burst my upper lip open, chipped one front tooth, and cracked the other. It's fair to say I was a bit of a mess. Once my mum and dad got over the shock of seeing my messed-up face, they took me to Accident and Emergency and I got patched up (I also bit the doctor when he tried to find out if I'd damaged the roof of my mouth). I got a cast put on my arm, my upper lip healed perfectly, and the dentist put a veneer on my tooth to cover up the missing chip.
Then, about 3 years ago, I noticed a lump in my mouth, in the gum above the tooth that had been cracked when I fell. My dentist told me the root of the tooth was infected, probably because some bacteria had gotten in through the hairline crack. Over the course of the following year I saw more of my dentist than I did some members of my family, as he gave me root filling after root filling, trying to get rid of the infection. Eventually he admitted defeat and referred me to the Edinburgh Post-Graduate Dental Institute. I then spent the course of the NEXT year going back and forward to the Dental Institute for increasingly unpleasant root treatment. It didn't work. The last resort was an apicectomy, which I've talked about here before, and which was possibly the least fun afternoon I've ever spent. But it did the trick - my tooth is now infection free.
After all this trauma, I've been left not only with an obsession for flossing, but with a discoloured front tooth. Which is awkward because, as the more perceptive of you may have picked up, I'm getting married in September. I'm one of those people who runs away whenever a camera comes out, mainly because I'm so self conscious about my teeth. I figure there's little point spending lots (and lots!) of money on a photographer if I'm dreading the pictures being taken, so I'm going to splash out on some cosmetic dentistry before the wedding.
I plan to have either crowns or veneers fitted to my two front teeth, but I thought I might as well go the whole hog and get them whitened too, so to this end I went to see a private dentist on Friday to ask about tooth whitening. She was, to say the least, a little odd. I explained why I was there, and she had a look at my teeth. She then spent a good 10 minutes going 'hmmm' and 'errrr' and staring off into space, apparently thinking, while I sat watching my lunch hour ticking by, and thinking about the £25 I had paid just for a 15 minute consultation.
Her conclusion was that my discoloured tooth could be whitened using a different bleaching method, which involves opening up the back of the tooth and inserting hydrogen peroxide, thereby bleaching it from the inside. This doesn't sound like something a sane person would volunteer for, but she assured me it wasn't so bad. She said I could also bleach my teeth in the usual way (using trays filled with bleaching gel that you wear at night), so my poor, delicate front tooth would be getting blasted by bleach, both inside and out. I'm a bit dubious about this - it's taken the combined efforts of my own dentist and the Dental Insitute two years to get rid of the infection - is it wise to go opening it up again and stuffing it full of chemicals for cosmetic reasons? Weird Dentist assured me this wasn't a problem, but went on to say that the treatment would probably end up costing somewhere in the region of £500.
I did say I would splash out but I hadn't imagined it would take quite as much... splashing.
Weird Dentist also said that just sticking a crown onto the problem tooth could weaken it even more (to fit a crown they have to file your own tooth down to a point). So now I'm even more confused than I was before, and worried that whatever option I go for is going to weaken my tooth. However I refuse to have my picture taken without having this tooth fixed - I want to look PLEASED about getting married, not sulky and self-conscious, which is how I look in every picture of me that's been taken in the last 20 years.
Nothing's ever simple...