I try to keep things as broadly interesting as possible here, whether I’m reviewing books or movies or writing about writing. Today, though, I’m going to tell you a story about a tooth. You may find it worth your while or you may not, but it’s on my mind and I have to put this somewhere before I go nutzoid.
The last time I went in for a dental cleaning, I was told that one of my teeth was chipped. They didn’t tell me which one, exactly, only that it was back there a ways. The dentist asked me if I’d been grinding my teeth, to which I told her no, I didn’t think so. And that was that.
A couple of months later my tongue was roving around in my mouth the way it’s wont to do and I encountered a sharp edge on one of my molars. I immediately thought back to the chipped tooth and I thought maybe it had splintered more and what I was feeling was a shard of tooth. I made an appointment to go in and they saw me almost immediately.
Anyway, they had me sitting around for an hour and even took an x-ray, and finally the dentist saw me. She poked around back there and said, “That’s just the natural outcropping of the tooth. I’ll bring it down a little.”
Now understand that I didn’t get exactly what “bring it down a little” would entail, but she’s the dentist and she knows stuff about teeth, so I wasn’t too worried. It’s only when she brought out a tool and started grinding the edge off that I freaked out a little bit, though I didn’t say anything at the time.
The edge is now gone, and in its place is a little rough patch where the grinder did its work. I keep feeling it with my tongue and every time I do, I get upset all over again.
You see, I have a strange relationship with my teeth. Growing up I had braces twice and I had them again as an adult. I also underwent an excruciating jaw surgery that involved having my jaw broken and reset, a surgery that gave me permanent nerve damage in my face and mouth. In all more than $40,000 has been spent on my mouth, not including the regular dentist visits. You might say that my teeth are the most valuable part of me.