I have a fake smile now. Sort of.

This is the latest with my bike frame:

Yup.

Severe weather conditions where? Balmy Illinois–where it was last scanned–or here? I rode to work in -3º C weather yesterday morning. This was not a new experience for me as it was colder than that on average for at least three months straight in Montréal. Somehow, in just a year and a half, I’d forgotten how cold -3º C felt. I guess I’ll always be a Fraser Valley Girl.

My commuter outfit yesterday was more or less this:

Jan 17, 2020

Under all these layers, specifically the face layers, I look like a million bucks!

Holding up a gypsum cast of my former mouth. (The cast is about 30% smaller.)

It cost me only a very small fraction of a million bucks! Some of you have looked up the cost of dental crowns. If not, then you probably will now.

Yup.

I paid for seven porcelain crowns in full without insurance coverage, and it wasn’t because I started selling photos of my feet on the world wide web. I give credit to the pandemic: I stopped spending money.

For starters, my travelling plans were cancelled and won’t be happening this year. I wasn’t going to restaurants nor getting food delivered. The car didn’t need gas if I wasn’t going anywhere (and now I don’t have a car anymore!). When I give in to the temptation of online shopping, I end up abandoning my cart 90% of the time because upon reviewing my orders, I always ask myself, “Do I need this? Or do I just want it?”

As a rule, I do not spend money I don’t have. Before I paid for this dental work, I learned via Reddit (r/LifeProTips) about the pay-in-full discount. This way, I was able to save 5%, which was a lot.

That being said, after having paid for my bike frame and components, and this dental work, my savings have been depleted. I’m counting on another year of pandemic-related savings.

Did I need the crowns? Yes, but not this soon. Acid wear is irreversible, but my former smile was unremarkable in that nobody commented on it, either positively or negatively. Of course, I got teased about my teeth as a kid because kids are fucking evil, and let’s be real, having teeth this big on a child-sized face is a little jarring. So, I could have waited a few more years, but would I have still had the funds then?

For the past few years, I stopped eating and drinking specific food because it hurt my teeth. I stopped drinking pop (not a bad thing, really) and could only drink watered-down juice. In fact, diluting my juice with club soda was how I got into drinking club soda straight up–but not too cold, because that hurt too. I couldn’t smile in Montréal in the winter because it was too painful! Cold wedges of oranges with the rind were the evilest food you could offer me.

Now that the nerves are shielded by porcelain, I’m floored by how sensitive my teeth used to be.

The whole process took about two months, beginning with the impressions of my teeth for the cast and then having the lab create a mock-up in wax:

Behold, the teeth of the future, today!

Then, I had two appointments lasting two and a half hours each to shave down the teeth. It involved so much lidocaine that it gave me a Muppet-like upper lip for five to six hours following the appointments:

Mahna! Mahna!

Did I get the chance to take a photo of my nubbins before the dentist covered them up? I sure did! It’s simultaneously hilarious and horrifying! Even though it’s not close to being the least attractive photo of me in existence, I’d prefer to share it in-person so that I can enjoy people’s reactions.

So far I’ve gotten:

“You look like you’ve had little too much fun with crystal meth.”

“Liverpool Laura.”

“HAHA!.. Show me again… HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

“Haha! The best part is that you look stoked about it.”

Ask nicely, and I will be delighted to share the photo of Podunk Laura, getting amped for a jamboree with her fellow inbreds in the Fraser Valley.

The most attractive photo of me is–and I shit you not–is my ID (Thanks, ICBC lady!). I look hot and successful. I would also be pleased to share that with you.

It took three weeks for the lab to mill the crowns. In that time, as I’d already mentioned in a previous post, I had a one-piece acrylic sheath hiding what remained of my teeth. This is what it looked like:

As I said, they didn’t look like Chiclets, but they didn’t allow me to eat normally: I was cutting up my bananas and ripping apart bits of pizza. The worst part of this was that my gums were inflamed the whole time. If you look carefully at the above photo, you’ll note the puffy gums.

Unlike with my former mouth, I now have pinhole gaps between my teeth, below the gums. You know when you trim your toenails too short, and the skin feels tender for a few days? I experienced that kind of tenderness for about a week, especially when drinking. It was basically soft tissue that went for years mostly untouched (other than when I’d floss).

I can blow tiny spit bubbles through those pinhole gaps. I’ve never been able to do this before. Fun!

So, that’s the story of how I’ve permanently altered my appearance in a subtle way, which the public cannot enjoy because, masks.

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