One of my recent challenges has been having some dental work done. Now, as you can see from any photo of me smiling widely, I have strange teeth.
I was born without any lateral incisors, a huge gap between my front teeth, extra cartilege, etc., and had to have quite a bit of work done as a child, including surgery and braces. In fact, my teeth have on at least two occasions caused me to be recognised. Once was at a reception, where a man came up to me and said, “You had a blah-de-blah-de-blah-plasty done at the Oregon Dental School didn’t you? I recognise your mouth!” The operation (when I was 12) was filmed and showed to dental students. Fame at last!
Another instance was when I was staying in hostel in France as a teenager. A young woman came up to me, with a letter: “Are you Christine?” “Yes, how did you know?” “They told me to look for the girl with gaps in her teeth.”
My funny-looking teeth have never really bothered me, for some reason. There are worse things to be saddled with than gaps. But the less noticeable thing I have inherited (my mother blames her French-Canadian ancestors for all this) is very soft teeth. Unlike my mother, I do have enamel on my teeth, but despite being a dedicated brusher and flosser I think almost every tooth in my mouth has had to have some kind of filling.
So you would think I would be well used to the dentist’s chair and all that it entails. However, recently I have had new dental adventures in the form of crowns, for molars that had been filled to within an inch of their lives. I was fearing getting these crowns, but when one of the molars broke apart just before Christmas, the prospect of having them fixed became somewhat less horrifying than the prospect of them crumbling in my mouth.
And so I went in three times in three weeks: for a temporary fix, crowns Part 1, and crowns Part 2, on two molars. And here is the best part. My dentist had seen me knitting in the waiting room. She’d told me (during the temporary fix) that her mother had been a knitter, and had kept all six of them equipped with Aran jumpers. I was trying to uncurl my toes while she worked, humming my alto part for the blessing that we sing at church that goes “Courage in Every Endeavour”. (Only afterwards did I think of “Crown Him, crown Him…”) My dentist said, you should knit while you’re in the chair, if it would help at all.
And so I did, for the second two appointments (50 minutes and 25 minutes). Nothing fancy – no Aran cables, nothing requiring counting or looking, just garter stitch. But it was hugely, hugely helpful!
During the third appointment, the dentist and the nurse said, “We’ve been telling everyone we have a patient who knits in the chair!” I said, “I’ve been telling all my knitting friends that I have a dentist who lets me knit in the chair.” My dentist said, “They should ask their dentist if they can knit, I don’t see why a dentist would refuse if it helps them.”
So there you go, if there are any fellow knitters who need dental work (I almost wrote “needle-work”!), a little tip for you. You can refer your dentist to this post if it helps!