So there was this short period, eight years or so when I wasn’t so great about brushing my teeth

* make us famous

When you spend a lot of time passed out on your couch (porch, lawn, the sidewalk in front of Canseco’s), dental hygiene slowly slips from your routine. I could sometimes manage an a.m. palate-cleansing brush, but that just wiped the taste of the night before out of my mouth. Of course, for that purpose, whiskey works equally well, so there were a few weeks in there when the ol’ chompers were completely neglected.

I went to the dentist when I finally got a job that offered dental insurance. My dentist, Dr. Mark D. Anderson, looks like an older, nicer, somewhat more straight Ricky Martin. As he told me I needed twin root canals ($1200) and crowns ($800), I heard maracas in the distance, along with a softly plucked guitar.

The devout SHUN reader knows that this kit and caboodle would be out of my price range. I put the root canals on a credit card, but I never went back for the crowns, reasoning that they were more or less a fashion statement and therefore optional. Only the crisp coating on a piece of fried chicken showed me otherwise. I felt a tooth crumble in my mouth just like so much crunchy batter.

Since then, I’ve lost a chip off my front tooth to a Snickers bar and I steer clear of apples and brittles. I still haven’t been back for those crowns. My teeth seem to be going fast, and I don’t want to fill them in all piecemeal-like. I figure: why patch them up, when I could hold out for the full set?