Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tooth, Justice and the American Way

I don't notice their teeth. No one smiles around here (the East Village). - My friend Babs, September 2010

Smile - it improves your face value. - Australian Embassy poster, 1980

Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me, for sure
That's what friends are for - Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager 1982

Me and unknown boys, Australia, circa 1970 - "Look mum, no teeth!"
After brunch today at a local restaurant, I dashed back home to check my photo albums.

I was in a state of shock. Delayed AND current.

I've been to Nina's restaurant many times. It is near the corner of 90th and Second. I like it because it reminds me of restaurants back home in Australia. Mario's on Brunswick Street  Fitzroy, for example. Well not really, but close enough.

I was in shock because while I was sitting there at Nina's I suddenly I realized that I now looked the same as everyone else there, and this had not been the case before. What had changed was that my teeth were now identical to everyone else's. I had AMERICAN teeth. Pearly white and even. Symmetrical. Regular. Shiny. All this since just yesterday and courtesy of my new and brilliant dentist.

Yes, I just got them (the teeth) yesterday, in the form of a temporary bridge that will, eventually, be replaced by six crowns, splinted individually to each adjacent tooth.

I've had dental phobia for as long as I can remember. It was made much worse after I saw Roman Polanski's "The Tenant", where the main character, Trelkowski, played by Polanski, discovers a hole of a hole in his apartment with a human tooth stashed inside. I am by the way, heavily influenced by Polanski, who I regard as the greatest film director ever; I have not been able to eat rabbit since seeing his "Repulsion" when I was a teenager.

Films play a big part in my life when having dental work done in New York. "Repulsion" morphs into "Marathon Man" (set unsettlingly in Manhattan), which morphs into "The Tenant". You can see then, I'm a real basket-case where dentistry is concerned.

Australian Actor, Bryan Brown
But back to my American teeth. The dentist did a wonderful job, but I can barely cope. Where are my crooked, stained and crowded, my over-repaired and fragile Aussie teeth? Gone, as a matter of necessity. The products of no fluoride in the water of my childhood, hopeless state-school dentists in my early school years, smoking,  and a couple of weird Harley Street London dentists in the 1970s, who I think were getting revenge on Australia's bid for republicanism. Whatever.

So here I am in Manhattan, 100 years later. With a new smile. Well, new teeth - I  do not show my teeth when I smile.

And that is my reason for my hurrying home from Nina's Restaurant after brunch this morning. I wanted to check on this.

Do I really not show my teeth when I smile? And what about my fellow Australians?

Above left  is a photo of myself a century ago. I'm with some boys that my friend B and I decided to use for a photo. Look Mom (mum), no teeth!
Julia Gillard, Prime Minister

But it isn't just me and my friends and strangers. Here is Australian actor, Bryan Brown. And Australia Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. And Australian actress Nicole Kidman.

Hmmm,  I might be onto something here. Perhaps I could write an article for a   pop-psychology magazine. Why don't Australians open their mouths when photographed?

In any case, ever since I dared to get up this morning I've been running to a mirror to practice smiling with a teeth-exposed smile.

An American face grimaces back.

Australian Actor, Nicole Kidman

I obviously have a lot still to learn .

Meanwhile, I'll keep smiling ...


Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

well i dont think having nice teeth is the worstt thing.
whats more concerning is you spelt realised, 'realized' with a z!
i think that's the first sign you're turning american!

Kate said...

Hello Anonymous. Yes I do spell realized with a zee. I like to use the language of the country I am in.

Jaded NYer said...

Gee it seems anonymous can't spell at all.

Teeth are good. Teeth can be used for sinking into things

oklahoma dentist said...

"I had AMERICAN teeth. Pearly white and even. Symmetrical. Regular. Shiny. All this since just yesterday and courtesy of my new and brilliant dentist."- That is to be celebrated. It takes years of constant dental visits to achieve, and in my case, I wore braces, retainers, and even had some extracted to have it.

downers grove dentist said...

"Yes, I just got them (the teeth) yesterday, in the form of a temporary bridge that will, eventually, be replaced by six crowns, splinted individually to each adjacent tooth." That is a lot of work that will pay off after hours of dental procedures.

oklahoma dentist said...

I think this is the tactic us american dentist use to gain customers. We make everyone's teeth better so you have to get those great pearly whites too.

dentist kansas city said...

I disagree. I think pearly whites are a sign of good health and should be flaunted because not all Americans/people have them.

private health insurance said...

First off I would definitely have to agree that British people have worst teeth then Americans. I don't understand it when British celebs, such as Katie Price (aka Jordan) get boob jobs, dye their hair, and tan but don't bother to fix their awful teeth. It's like building a new house with termite wood. Also, yeah the Queen's mother was 100 and was living before mass dental health care was available, but I live in the rural South and have met people who are 122 whose teeth were in much better shape than hers. And secondly, Americans may be obese but you Brits are sure catching up with us being the second most obese country after Americans. Getting your teeth checked and cleaned is more a matter of health than vanity. There have been documented cases of people who have died from tooth infections that can spread to the brain. Just look at the little boy who recently died in Maryland from a tooth infection because he didn't have the health insurance to pay to see a dentist. Brits have health care provided by their government at least do us all a favor and use it, especially when so many here in American aren't given the option by our government.

mini implants said...

Gaining customers? Not quite. That's like saying that widespread obesity is perfectly fine.

dentist manhattan beach said...

It is the first time I visit Antalya with my family and my brother got accident and had a pain in his tooth. He is not able to sleep whole night due to pain. I am here looking for dentist who can cure his tooth ache. If anyone knows any professional dentist who also knows english well, please suggest me. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Best money you could ever spend. Many of mine were missing because of childhood dental care in Australia but U.S. bridges are beautiful. You gettin' 'em fixed before you bail? Dunno about European dentists, Kate. The yanks are tops in the dental dept.

dentist in tarpon springs said...

To have a healthy looking teeth brushing alone is not enough, eating healthy food and proper oral hygiene are some of the things you need to do to prevent any tooth problems.

Breast Implant Beverly Hills said...

i don't think there is big difference between american teeth and teeth of other country that differentiate us

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