Left: A fractured first molar, though not mine
One moment I was contentedly munching a steak sandwich, enjoying lunch with my wife, and the next I heard that dreaded C-R-A-A-A-C-K sound that can only mean one thing: a fractured tooth. The noise was loud enough through my closed mouth for my wife to hear, and my afternoon took a decidedly unexpected turn.
As a former multi-unit restaurant owner whose customers filed numerous food-based injury claims against me, I have to admit that my first thought involved getting witnesses and suing the restaurant. After all, this must be my turn to hit the insurance lottery, right? After all, I will never live to see the fruits of my life insurance, and it would be some well-deserved payback after all the dubious claims filed against my company, like the $4,000 paid out when a customer claimed a 1" x 2" piece of Saran Wrap "almost killed him" after he bit into it, or the lying thieves who tried to shake us down over a fictitious trip to the emergency room, and for whom the insurance company cut a check rather than fight in court.
Sigh. Such pleasant memories I have as a former business owner.
I spit out the food and began to dig through the half-chewed sandwich, eventually finding a half-inch piece of one of my maxillary first molars. I did not find any foreign objects or hard chunks of bone, and in thinking back I wondered if the food even caused the tooth to fracture.
My wife put my priorities in perspective for me.
"Look - we have dental insurance, and you had a crown on that tooth, so it might have had some hidden decay," she noted. "You probably wouldn't collect anything more than the repair cost, anyways. Let's just go home."
As usual, she saw through the temporary situation (my throbbing tooth nerves) and addressed the larger issues (integrity and practicality). I knew that there were reasons I married her beyond her beauty, brains, and an remarkable ability to work a table saw and a router.
So in spite of the fact that hot and cold foods send a shooting pain through my head, I get to enjoy the longer-term benefits associated with doing the right thing. Excuse me while I perform the Pious Dance and search for that bottle of Vicodin I was prescribed for the kidney stone still stuck in my ureter.