241. The Chipped Teeth


"Don't get your teeth veneered," Elmer's girlfriend said. "I know a girl who did that, and she has had bad breath ever since."

Elmer had never heard of such a thing. "That's ridiculous," he said. "Veneers are made of plastic. Plastic doesn't give you bad breath."

Hannah asked him if he had ever used a public phone right after some stranger had talked on it. "The plastic phone stinks from their breath," she said. "Why do you always have to argue with me?" He told her that he didn't argue with her—she was the one who always argued with him.

Elmer saw his dentist a week later. He asked if veneers could cause bad breath. The dentist told him that it was possible, because plastic can retain odor. He said a more common cause of bad breath from dental work was fillings. Several patients had come to him because they thought they had gotten bad breath from new fillings. He replaced the fillings with different material, and their bad breath went away.

"Well, should I get veneers for my two front teeth?" Elmer asked. "I used to have tiny chips in each tooth. Now, those chips are bigger." His dentist told him that applying veneers would require destroying too much enamel, which the two teeth were already deficient in. "I'll bet you used to suck on lemons," he said. Elmer nodded.

His dentist suggested grinding down the chipped areas a little bit so that their edges wouldn't be so jagged. The grinding, accompanied by a burning odor, took only a couple of minutes. When Elmer ran his tongue over his "new" teeth, they felt nice and smooth. So he decided that the $100 dentist bill was probably worth it. More importantly, he wouldn't have to worry about losing his girlfriend because of a couple of veneers.


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