A few weeks ago two pieces of my back teeth fell off.
The weird thing is they fell off one at a time over two consecutive days and from different sides of my mouth. Having pieces of my body breaking off was worrisome enough, but to be randomly crumbling with such consistency was even more alarming. By the third day I have to admit I was starting to get a little jumpy. Fortunately I haven’t parted with any more of my bits and pieces since. There’s always something to be grateful for in this world, if you just think about it long enough.
Not long after my teeth incident, a relative told me she was eating some nuts when she crunched down on something hard. Really hard. Much harder than a nut. For one horrifying moment as she examined the small white piece she extracted from her mouth she was convinced she was holding a piece of kitty litter.
“All I could think was how had the cat managed to track kitty litter into my nuts?” she said.
If you think about kitty litter, I mean really think about it, you can see how it came as a relief when she realized it was a piece of her own tooth and not something from the litter box. See? Once again, there is always something to be grateful for if you just think hard enough.
Not two days after that a friend told me she had also lost a piece of her tooth, but in her case it was a gold crown and she had swallowed it. With the price of gold being what it is I was curious whether she had attempted to retrieve it. I can see not wanting to have the piece put back in your mouth, considering the journey it had just undertaken, but perhaps it could be made into a pendant or something. I had to ask. She said no, she most certainly had not. She didn’t appear to have any regrets in the matter so I didn’t see any point in bringing up my pendant idea.
When I arrived at the dentist I told him about this rash of tooth breakages and he said it was very common after Christmas as a result of people eating a lot of hard and chewy snacks that they’re unaccustomed to the rest of the year. The first week of January he had three poppycock instances alone. It’s hard enough recovering from the expense of Christmas without having to get a couple crowns.
Expenses aside, I love my dentist. Well, I don’t love love him, though he is certainly a nice enough man. What I mean to say is I love his talent for dentistry. He gives great needles and when you’re a dentist that’s a pretty important thing. I don’t know how he does it, but they don’t hurt. Before I started going to him I was the biggest dentist wimp you ever saw. I would cancel my appointment half a dozen times before finally working up enough courage to go in. When it came time for the needle I would white knuckle the arm rests of the chair and with every injection my body would eject itself a few more centimetres up the chair, until by the time it was over I was practically dangling off headrest by my ankles.
None of my other dentists were terrible – they did great work once the needle part was past. It was just getting past the needle part. They would say, “Okay, this is going to pinch a little” when they should have said, “Okay, this going to feel like I’m twisting a dull corkscrew into your gums, okay? Now try to hold still.” It’s possible I’m being a bit of drama queen, but now that I’m getting a couple crowns why not?
But seriously, I never knew it could be any different. I mean, it’s a needle. In your mouth. How can it not hurt? Then I started going to the dentist I’m with now and I quit cancelling appointments and dangling off chairs. When he says, “Okay this is going to pinch a little” he actually means it. Emphasis on ‘a little’.
It’s not a hot stone massage or a day at the beach and I would still prefer most anything over a trip to the dentist, but at least I can sleep the night before I go and that’s a good thing. Not losing bits and pieces of my body would be even better.
Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace Country. You can read more of her writing by visiting www.shannonmckinnon.com