|A different Christmas for Mary Alice and myself
Christmas was different for my wife Mary Alice and I this year; this was the first year that neither one of our sons was home for Christmas. They are with their spouse’s families this year – Sam in Barcelona and Don in New York City. It feels strange, but life is a continual change. They wisely chose to alternate the same years, so they can see each other on the holidays every other year. So we will spend Christmas with them next year.
Still Mary Alice and I are blessed to spend Christmas with her mother and sisters and my father, mother, brother and his family. I know many have lost love ones this year or are alone for the holidays. This time can be difficult for them. My heart goes out to them. Many of us are so busy this time of year, but please take some time for anyone you know who is in a possible sad situation and bring him or her some cheer.
I am revisiting an article that I wrote two years ago, “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth.” The week before Christmas, I placed a 10-teeth, upper front fixed bridge on a wonderful 87-year-old women who had recently lost many upper front teeth. She was so happy smiling and chewing again. She looked great. Her daughter kidded her that she was coming to visit for the holidays just to see her new smile.
Front teeth are not only important for tearing and chewing food, but also for speech. Placing the upper front teeth on the lower lip makes the f sound. The s sound is made using the upper front teeth against the lower front teeth. The th sound is made by placing the tip of the tongue on the upper front teeth. This explains the song lines:
It seems so long since I could say,
"Sister Susie sitting on a thistle!"
Gosh oh gee, how happy I'd be,
If I could only whistle (thhhh, thhhh)
Have a great New Year 2014. The article follows.
“All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”
Every year during the holidays, I have a number of patients who have broken off a front tooth or have missing front teeth and want to have their smile back for Christmas. I am always reminded of the song "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth." I often joke with these patients about the song. They agree. I even had a gentleman return wearing a Santa Hat and brought Christmas treats for the office staff after having his two front teeth fixed with beautiful crowns. He serenaded us with a merry rendition of "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth." We all smiled and laughed, he especially.
During the holiday season in 1944, Donald Yetter Gardner at age 31 wrote the Christmas song "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth." He was inspired while teaching music to his wife’s second grade class is Smithtown, New York.
He asked the class what they wanted for Christmas, and noticed that almost all of the students had at least one front tooth missing as they answered in a lisp. That night he wrote the song in 30 minutes.
On Dec. 6, 1948, Spike Jones and the City Slickers first recorded the song and in 1949, it reached number one on the pop charts. The song sold nearly one and a half million copies in less than two months. It has since been recorded by numerous artists, among them: Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mariah Carey, George Strait, The Andrew Sisters, the cast of Sesame Street, The Boston Pops, and Gardner’s favorite Nat King Cole. In a 1995 interview, Gardner said, “I was amazed at the way that silly little song was picked up by the whole country.”
This December, I helped three patients with new cosmetic dentures. They had a few remaining broken and infected ugly teeth. Understandably they had been avoiding smiling for many years and were extremely self-conscious about their mouths. One of the patients was in constant pain from his infected teeth. All three had let their teeth go bad from a terrible fear of dental treatment, related to bad experiences when young. Using Conscious Sedation, they were made comfortable, had the remaining teeth removed and then they were given immediate dentures with natural looking teeth. They all loved their experience and their new smile. Only their dentist would know they had dentures.
The most rewarding case that I completed in time for Christmas was for a 68-year old lady who had a complete smile makeover. Last January she came to the office with a picture of herself in her mid-twenties holding her baby daughter who is now 48. In the picture the woman has a huge beautiful white smile. She told me she wanted that smile again and she was very unhappy with her present smile. On examination, she had ground her teeth down to less than half their original length. Her smile now showed a lot of gum and extremely short dark teeth. Digital photographs, digital x-rays and study model impressions were taken. Upon analysis, her front upper teeth needed to be lengthened towards the edges and towards the gums. All her teeth needed to be lengthened to open her bite to allow the front teeth to be longer. A periodontist preformed gum sculpting to allow ideal length on her upper front teeth.
He also placed an implant for a lower front missing tooth and performed gum surgery in some molar areas. I placed custom temporary crowns on all 28 of her teeth, which she wore for 6 months to make sure she adjusted well to the change. She did great. Last month permanent porcelain crowns were placed. Her smile sparkles again. She looks years younger. She is ecstatic! All I want for Christmas are my beautiful 28 teeth.
Enjoy life and keep smiling.
George Malkemus has had a Family and Cosmetic Dental Practice in Rohnert Park at 2 Padre Parkway, Suite 200. Call 585-8595, or email info@ malkemusdds.com. Visit Dr. Malkemus’ Web site at www.malkemusdds.com.