You know that feeling – happily munching on the sourdough and marmite breakfast toast when suddenly there’s a stone clattering about in the mix. How can this be?
If you are young and your teeth are white and shiny – then there probably is a stone in the mix and as long as you don’t crunch it – all will be well.
However, if you are not so young and your teeth are rickety like mine – there’s probably a lump of dentistry in there. And you know what that means don’t you. Dentist is what it means. Usually.
However, for us beekeepers there is another possible, albeit temporary solution. Read on…
Stone Age Dentistry
In times gone by, before dentists were even thought of, beeswax was often used to fill teeth. Mr.Google will tell you that the oldest examples are up 9,500 years old. Here is a picture of a beeswax filling from 6,500 years ago in Slovenia.
The owner of this tooth was a 24-30 year old man and the beeswax would have sealed his tooth protecting the exposed dentine.
Dentine, Enamel and Pulp
Dentine is the substance that sits beneath the protective enamel layer of the tooth. It contains thousands of little tubules leading to the central ‘pulp’ region of the tooth where all the nerves live. When the enamel is chipped, or cracked, or rotted away the dentine is exposed and all those little tubules conduct messages about heat, cold, sugar, acid etc direct to the nerves in the pulp. Oh that hurts, that really really hurts.
The Mother of Invention
In the absence of a dentist – necessity becomes the mother of invention and not just for Stone Age men. Last week, a large lump of tooth turned up in my breakfast mouthful. It left what felt like huge hole with rough edges in the side of my tooth. Mercifully, there was no nerve pain but very soon the rough edges began to rasp away at the edge of my tongue. As luck would have it – it was a Sunday!
By Monday, my tongue would be in tatters, so like Stone Age man I started to think about beeswax.
If you cut a small piece of beeswax and put it into your mouth, after a while it will warm up and become malleable. At this point break a piece off about the size of the hole in your tooth, shape it into a little pellet, introduce it gently into the hole and squeeze it firmly into place until it stays put.
If it stands a bit pround – ‘close and grind’ your teeth together carefully. Bear in mind it might not work first time and you might need to take several runs at it. But after the second attempt mine stuck like glue and that’s two weeks ago now.
I know it’s a temporary measure and that very soon I will have to pick up the phone and phone the dentist but I’m ever so busy and I know what she’s going to do – she’s going grind my tooth down to a point and all being well, she’s going to make me a crown. If all is not well, she is going to do root canal work and it’s going to be horrible.
Meanwhile, in my shed is a beeswax mountain sufficient for as many as 3.5 million dental plugs and that should be enough to last me for the rest of my natural life.
So now it’s turning out to be Procrastination that’s the Mother of Invention.
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