If I could send one message back to my young teenage self it would be "take care of your teeth." Okay, that's not true, the first two options would most probably be "buy Apple stocks before 2007" and "get as much Bitcoin as you can before it's worth $10". But the teeth thing is really important, it's most probably up there somewhere in the top five.
I don't have a good record of taking care of my teeth. I visited the dentist Friday last week and warned her as such. I knew from a years-long ago check up that I had several teeth that would need to be pulled but never followed up. And last week's checkup confirmed that. I scheduled a second visit today to get some of them pulled. I'm writing this post before the visit, so if I don't write a post tomorrow, maybe I died from the procedure or something. Does that happen? Do people die from teeth pulling?
Obviously I'm not looking forward to the visit, but it's something I've put off for too long. I'm not fond of visiting the dentist (who is?) even though I should know better about how it's necessary. I especially don't like the idea of getting my teeth pulled. I have a pretty low tolerance for pain, and there's always the anxiety before the actual visit. There was one time I made a blog post about an eternity of pain due to a toothache, and my dentist happened to read the post and jokingly (maybe?) complained to me about it.
Not taking care of my teeth is probably one of my worst regrets in life. It often makes it difficult for me to chew! I know we have a lot of urgent world problems that science could help us with, but if I was allowed to selfishly genie-wish for one scientific innovation to suddenly occur it would be the ability for medical science to regrow human teeth PAINLESSLY. Sure, civilization would probably collapse due to climate change and resource scarcity, but at least I'd have my teeth back.
Update: I'm alive! The procedure was a lot less uncomfortable than I thought it would be. Maybe I'm misremembering how bad previous extractions were? Or maybe dental anesthesia technology has advanced since then? In either case I am grateful, yet I have to go back again next week so that more of my teeth may die.