April 14th, 2020


lost and found

On Good Friday and was sitting in the sun on the deck enjoying my morning toast and Marmite when I suddenly heard that sound I hate more than any other - the gritty noise as I bite onto a fragment of tooth which broken off. My poor old upper left molar has had a lot of repair work done over the years, and I'm sure the fragment I spat out was mostly composite resin, now lost from its proper place.

That molar doesn't have a lot of work to do now - its opposing molar on the mandible below is only a fragment of its former self and presents little chewing surface (although maybe that's part of the problem - localised high pressure on a small point of contact). The pre-molar neighbour on the mandible is absent, having been extracted back in 2014 when it became unrepairable.

I have hated (feared) having dental work done since my primary school years, so this wasn't a great start to the Easter weekend. I have a wonderful dentist, and I was due to see her soon for routine maintenance, but Dr Jenny cancelled the appointment as part of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Later on the Easter weekend I was cleaning up around the fibro shed that is now my home 'office' and I came across a mandible with most of its molars intact and in good condition!

My first thought was that it came from a rat, but it didn't take too much internet research to identify the species. In fact, there had been a family of them living in the roof space of my 'home office' a few years ago and I had to go to great efforts to keep them out - the ubiquitous ringtail possum. Here's the mandible I found with photo of a complete ringtail possum mandible shown on a La Trobe University web site (by Richard Cosgrove):

My ruler indicates that my specimen is very close in size to the one in the La Trobe photograph.

Unfortunately, a molar transplant from the ringtail to me seems to be out of the question. Looks like I'll have to hope Dr Jenny is still working and can work some magic to keep my broken molar going for as many of my last remaining years as possible.

[copy of my post on WordPress - comment there]