Post Menopause Years: It’s My Hattie Tooth


Getting old isn’t for pussies.

I mean, I’m not complaining. I’m glad to still be here. I’d like to stay a while longer.

As much as I adore the changes in my brain as I get older, I am less enamored with the physical changes.

For instance, as I write this, I feel like I have a knife in my right shoulder blade right next to my spine. This happens when I stand in the kitchen and cook. Or just stand.

Another thing that happened, is one of my teeth went all wonky.

It’s not a main tooth. Not one most people would see, but it’s not all the way in the back, either.

About 7 years ago or so, one of my teeth grew tired of standing upright and started leaning over, like it wanted to rest on a neighbor.

Which makes me think of the time when I was very young, not even married once, and I rode the bus to work every morning. One morning, I sat next to a woman with the most comfortable looking arm on the planet. I drifted off on the bus most mornings, but there was only that one time when I woke up with my face snuggled up on a stranger’s arm. It was awkward. She was very kind. 

But I digress.

So, I told my dentist about the tooth and he said it was age related and that I needed hattie toothsome procedure.

I don’t know what the procedure was, but I remember finding out it would cost $800 out of pocket. I decided if my tooth needed to rest, then my tooth needed to rest.

I did not realize part of getting older meant getting old lady snaggle teeth.

At least it’s just the one. It’s my batty Hatty tooth. Batty Hatty from Cincinnati was a puppet on a local TV show in the early 70s. I made Randy watch videos of her. He’s a patient man. 

You can’t see my wonky tooth, but it is still a problem.

The problem is my lazy ass tooth created a gap. A large gap.

If I eat anything stringy at all, it gets stuck in my Hatty cavern which sounds way dirtier than I intended. 

So, most meats, a lot of vegetables and some fruits. Ice cream and mashed potatoes are okay. Unless the mashed potatoes are lumpy, then maybe not.

Every night, after dinner, I have to dislodge a material percentage of my dinner from my tooth hole.

One silver lining, I suppose, is I just go ahead and finish flossing the rest of my teeth.

So, for the first time in my life, I am actually regularly flossing. So, bonus?

Anyway, I made a lovely chicken curry for dinner tonight. Chicken is one of the more stringy meats, so my tooth cavern was occupied.

I went into the bathroom and got one of the little floss pick things and with one little flick of the wrist, I catapulted a chunk of meat from my face to the mirror.

It stuck there.

I stood there for a moment, green pick stuck in between my teeth, staring at the impressively large piece of chicken on the mirror and thought “Well, that’s new.”

I guess in hindsight, I should have considered that shoring up procedure my dentist tried to get me to do.

On the other hand, it’s kind of fun to have a tooth named after a puppet witch from 1971.

Plus, it appears I have a new party trick! Yay! What a great ice breaker! “Wanna see me launch a side of beef from my face?”

Oh and HAHAHAAHA. Yeah, Randy isn’t all that patient.

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  • Oof, I’m experiencing the VERY same thing! $800? Seems a bit steep but, boy howdy, that’s tempting. Me? I launch spinach and sprout projectiles when I floss (DAILY, if not more, now). A lttle extra greenery in winter’s nice though…right? RIGHT?!

  • What’s really scary is when your dentist (and I’ve had mine since 1991, when – ahem – both of us were younger) complains about the spaces between HIS teeth. I hear you – I have to carry one of those teeth space appliances in my purse just in case and chicken is one of the worse culprits, along with popcorn.

  • I also have a hatty cavern that requires I floss daily, but what’s worse is what I discovered the last time I went to the dentist. I apparently have developed deep gum pockets, and they’re very dirty. The hygienist was new and didn’t believe I floss daily, but my regular hygienist came in and vouched for me and then we all sat around and talked about menopause and how we have moments where we’re uncontrollably and spontaneously mean to people and it surprises even us and I thought: well that’s funny, except you are soon going to have a lot of sharp instruments in my mouth, and I hope you don’t have one of those spontaneous mean moments right then.

    Sometimes this female shit really sucks.

  • I hear you! Sometimes when I floss I wonder if I ate anything at all! I have floss in my purse, in my car, in my desk drawer, in the drawer in both bathrooms and in the kitchen.

  • Oh, I hate when the dentist tells me about his teeth! And, yes, I had this one problematic tooth that hurt when I bit down on something – but only sometimes, not all the time. First it needed a replacement filling. That didn’t help. Then it got a crown. Still no dice. Root canal came next. Then, more pain. A lot. Apparently the space between the roots had an infection, so the tooth had to be pulled. Damn!! That shit was so expensive and it sure seemed like one massive con game designed to separate me from as much $$ as possible. They floated the option of an implant – just $3500 or so. Hah. Only if they’d take my poor tooth, dip it in gold and make the implant out of that – or carve that poor little thing into some intricately detailed scrimshaw or something.
    I do miss that tooth. There’s a sort of cave back there that should be a chewing surface but is just a sort of storage area for midnight snacks now.

  • Ha! Yeah, I floss more too, but I discovered that for my “space” a tiny corner of paper, fits perfectly. So in any given pile of bills, two or three will look like something has taken a bite out of the corner.

  • My teeth are a mess, but the good news is that I (or actually Zsuzs, who got him to see Briana even though he was “officially” not taking any new patients) found a dentist who is apparently very good and also willing to make me a set of dentures on credit.
    I’m resisting, both the idea of dentures and the idea of incurring new debt right now in our precarious financial situation.
    I have Medi-Cal, which has a dental program (Denti-Cal) which some dentists accept, but my share of cost just went up because of the COLA I got on my SSDI this month, so unless something goes horribly wrong, or becomes painful, I’ll wait until we’ve paid off the work Dr. Easton did on Briana before I go see what he can do for me.
    At least he’s an option, though, and for a long time I haven’t even had that.
    I had Delta Dental for a couple of years at a job, but never used it because my teeth were OK back then…
    My friend Jack, who worked in a dental lab for a few years, was very cynical about dentists, calling them “Guys who have gone to school for years and years to be able to look in your mouth and find work” but my views aren’t quite that extreme.
    Hard to tell who’s right there, though, as he’s ten years older than I am and last I heard, had much better teeth…

      • Oh, yeah, I almost forgot:

        Black water Hattie lived back in the swamp
        Where the strange green reptiles crawl
        Snakes hang thick from the cypress trees
        Like sausage on a smokehouse wall
        Where the swamp is alive with a thousand eyes
        An’ all of them watching you
        Stay off the track to Hattie’s Shack in the back of the Black Bayou

        I had an aunt named Hettie, but I only met her once when I was seven, and I remember being vaguely afraid of her…
        I still love that Jim Stafford song to this day. Hattie was such a bad-ass. She saved the town despite what they said about her, and wasn’t having any of it when they wanted to catch her and use her powers for their own ends. She was like a fucking superhero of 1970’s radio…

  • Mwahahahahah…..this is hilarious. I have all sorts of things going on w/my teeth too. The thing that bothers me the most is that my front teeth look kind of snaggly as the bottoms of them aren’t smooth but a little bumpy. My dentist says I’m grinding my teeth at night but I swear I’m not. Anyway, I asked her to smooth it out and turns out it costs a lot of money so I declined and am just living with it, smiling a lot and wearing nice lipsticks. Heck, nobody’s perfect and I’m happy I still have real teeth. I think both my parents had bridges or some such horrific thing at my age. Loved this piece, just so funny.

  • So far a couple of dentists have repeated the same line to me: “You don’t have to floss all your teeth. Just the ones you want to keep.” So having a reason to floss is a good thing–almost as good as being able to talk about food stuck in your Hatty cavern which is the funniest thing I’ve heard all month.
    I predict that saying is going to go around and some of us will know what it means to get something stuck in your Hatty cavern and those who won’t will assume it’s something dirty, and it’s funny either way.

  • A Waterpik is a serious alternative to conventional dental floss. My periodontist told me clinical studies show the water flosser is 51% more effective for reducing gingivitis, twice as effective at reducing gingival bleeding, and 29% more effective at removing plaque. Of course, he happened to have them for sale!

  • You are hilarious and I love you, wonky tooth and all.

    But yeah, I don’t need to see your party trick either. I’ve got my own “getting older” surprises to deal with—and when do we get to the “you’re older now and everything tastes like cupcakes” surprise?

By Michelle

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