An old lady once told me that back in the 1920s, when she was a child, you just assumed that anyone over 40 was wearing dentures. A dentist recently explained to me that one reason teeth-whitening has become such a big business in recent years is that people’s teeth are generally so good these days that dentists otherwise don’t have many services beyond cleaning to sell to most patients.
Of my original thirty-two, I still have twenty-six, including one of the often-troublesome wisdoms. I do, however, get a couple of cleanings every year, and in the last five years I’ve had to replace three outdated fillings. (One of them is now officially unfillable: I am informed that if it goes again, it’s root-canal time.) Spacing has always been dubious, however; I have a Lettermanesque gap up front, and it’s not getting any narrower.