Christa and I both had longer front teeth and remember being bullied at Menard Catholic School by kids who made fun of us and would call us Beaver. We were mature enough (7th grade) to know that there was something not right with kids who bullied other kids at a Catholic School. But that is another story for another day.
Back to my Mexican teeth. Christa got braces because apparently her teeth were worse than mine. When we moved to Lafayette for college, our dentist shaved our longer teeth down and made us look normal. I unfortunately was born with a genetic condition (don’t’ feel sorry for me…it’s not a bad one) where you are missing permanent teeth. I was missing 2 bottom and 2 top permanent teeth. Once the baby teeth fell out, I would have nothing. The problem with that is that if you ignore it, your teeth start spreading apart. You need “fillers”. My two bottom baby teeth fell out when I was in college, but you really couldn’t tell. Then my top left baby tooth fell out. I knew I had to do something. On the bright side, I was born without wisdom teeth.
I joked with my dad and said that I am sad that my baby teeth took so long to fall out, because by the time they did, I was an adult and it was my expense. By this time I was married to Dave, the best husband ever. He is from a very normal, traditional family. At this time he was working at a great company with lots of nice, professional co-workers. Here is the conversation one day when he came home.
Me, “Dave, I’m going to Mexico to get my teeth fixed.”
Dave , (taken off guard), "huh?”
Me, “My parents are going to Progresso Mexico to have dental work done. They found a recommended dentist and I’m going with them to get three bridges.
Sidenote- this was at a time when Mexico was safe.
Me, “I want you to come with me”Dave, “That is the worst idea ever. We have insurance. You are not going to Mexico to have dental work. I can’t even imagine what my co-workers would say. I would be too embarrassed to even bring this up”.
Me,” Get over it Dave. I talked to my Houston dentist and he wants to give me three dental implants ($5,000 each). He will do a bridge for $3,000 each ($9,000).Dave, “really…”
Me, “The dentist in Progresso was trained in the US and will only charge me $1,500 for three bridges and we can claim them with our insurance (verses $9,000.)
Dave, “Well, maybe that is not such a bad idea”.
Me, “Ha, you get it …we will save so much money.”
(This is the actual doctor. He lived in the U.S. and would drive across the border every day. I remember he had a newborn baby he brought to his office. He would have the office girls watching the baby because his wife worked across the boarder in the U.S.)
So we drive 4 or 5 hours and stay at the same Holiday Inn as my parents. The dentist makes plasters of my teeth and tells me to come back in a few hours. It was a very interesting situation. We walked around, did a little shopping, and bought a couple of margaritas. We were drinking margaritas inside the dentist office! How crazy is that? I remember Christa wanted a pig so we remembered to bring her a ceramic pig across the border (this was even before you had to have passports).
Everything was pretty good but the dentist did not get one of my bridges right. Dave and I had to drive up the next weekend to sort it out. I remember staying at a roach motel thinking, I will always remember this. The dentist got it right and we were on our way.
Dave and I will always have the funny memories of this trip. It was really bizarre. Unfortunately for me, by the time my 4th baby tooth finally fell out, Mexico was too dangerous to travel to. I was forced to pay the $3,000 bridge fee. On a positive note, the somewhat snobby “Galleria area” dentist who wanted to give me implants, was very impressed with my Mexican bridges. He said they were top notch:)