So I have this weird little baby tooth in my mouth. Don’t laugh, it is apparently not all that uncommon. Anyway, so one tooth apparently never got pushed out by an adult tooth, so the baby tooth is still there. Although it is not connected (so sayeth the dentist) but merely being held in by the other teeth around it (which I find an impossible statement), I believe it to be the source of all my powers.
Wait, don’t run off laughing. Let me try to ‘splain.
I never realized that it was a baby tooth until I got sick about 14 years ago (give or take a year). I’m one of those people who didn’t do dental visits. As a kid I guess I did here and there, but we were poor and if we didn’t have issues, we didn’t go. Two of my brothers had braces, I did not. Most of my teeth are pretty straight, the others are only minorly crooked, and since no one ever said anything to me, I never went to the dentist. I also lucked out because I rarely had mouth or teeth pain. I have no idea why, and frankly, I don’t care to ask. But when I started getting sick and finally found a good doctor, he sent me to a dentist because I had TMJ and he wanted me to get a night guard. When I told the dentist that I had never had a cleaning and couldn’t even tell her the last time I’d visited a dentist (pre-teen? I kind of guessed), she looked shocked AND appalled. Then she looked really apologetic, and told me it was likely my teeth cleaning was going to take hours. HOURS. And she offered me novocaine. I declined the shot, but sat in the chair and tried not to weep at the thought of having my mouth opened wide for hours…after all, I had TMJ which meant lots of jaw pain. So the poor, kind dentist tried to make me comfortable in the awful chair, then whipped out her water pick thingy. And she used the sonic-water high powered whosit to clean my teeth. And when we were done, she smiled and told me that I was an awesome patient and how surprised she was that my teeth weren’t worse than they were…cleaning-wise and cavity-wise. And she said she was impressed with how well I handled the somewhat lengthy cleaning.
We had already done the xray and already discussed my baby toof, which she said was a little loose but could stay for as long as I wanted, or until it fell out. I was about 29 at this point. She said it might be a year, it might be many years, but if it bugged me she could “pop it right outta there” or leave it be. I freaked out and said “DON’T TOUCH IT!” So she didn’t. And every time I went to see her (or her husband), we had to have “the conversation” about the baby toof. It was loose, but it wasn’t bothering me. It had nothing holding it in but the pressure of the teeth around it. It could go any day. Did I want to consider a bridge or an implant? So one year I went to a specialist to talk about an implant, because my dentist didn’t want to screw up the two good teeth around my baby tooth with a bridge. And she said, “They’re doing amazing things with implants these days! And you gotta good jaw bone there…” So I went for the consult. And they xrayed me and analyzed me and then sat me down to tell me aaaallll about the process. To which I said, “Fuck, no. Thank you.” And left. Hey, I was polite about it.
A few years ago, maybe 3 years?, my dentist up and disappeared. DISAPPEARED. She had her own business, which I attended yearly like a good patient, and I loved her. I’d been seeing her for like 10 years. And I had just seen her about 2-3 months prior to receiving a letter saying, “Hey ya’ll, I am outta here, but I sold my business to this new dentist so, ye-ah, lay-tah peeps.” And that was it. I mean, I’d just been there and we were talking about her getting married and moving near to where I was living at the time (I traveled about 45 minutes to see her). Then, boom, gone. I tried going to the new dentist, but I didn’t like her and I saw no reason to travel 45 minutes to start with someone new. I ended up trying a dentist about 10 minutes away from my house–which hub went to first to try out–but I didn’t like them either. They kept pushing me to get some procedures and they kept yakking about my baby toof. The dental hygienist–whom I did not like AT ALL–kept complaining that she really wanted to scrape that baby tooth but I wouldn’t let her because it bothered me. And she made me sit through a video on how to brush and floss. I am a fucking adult, don’t tell me I have to sit and watch a damn video about brushing and flossing. I mean, offer to let me watch it, sure, but I wasn’t given a choice…she popped on the video and disappeared until about 5 minutes after it ended. And again, as I was leaving, she told me I needed to get my gums scraped? Or whatever. Something that was bound to take two long sessions, lots of novocaine, and wow, would be a nice premium for the hygienist. In the 10 years I was with my previous dentist, she never once said I needed to get this done, even after 20 something years of no cleanings. I felt they were trying to get money out of me–and I didn’t like them anyway–so I left and never went back. Over the 10 years with my previous dentist I ended up with one crown (cracked a damn tooth, can you believe that shit?) and maybe 3 or 4 cavities, one of which was so small that they did the drill ‘n fill without novocaine.
So now it’s been like 2 years (maybe 3) since I have been to the dentist. And I don’t really want to go, though I know I should because I want to keep up with the goodness, but I’m afraid. Firstly, I don’t wanna have the whole conversation again about my magic baby toof. It’s a part of me and I love it. Secondly, I have bad reactions to novocaine, so I have to have the stuff without the adrenaline, and I dread having THAT conversation all over again with a new dentist. And thirdly, I don’t want to find out that someone else is going to try to give me that gum scraping or whatever. Every couple of months I search really hard trying to find my old dentist, but I think she has moved to New York. I’m considering taking the damn train up there once a year to see her. Seriously, I loved her that much. Also, she always did my cleaning because she knew how sensitive I was to everything. She never pawned me off on anyway else. All these other “groups” have hygienists and I loathe having to get to know (and have THEM get to know ME) all these people.
The whole reason this stuff came up today? I’ve got a gum infection. This happens to me every now and then. One part of my gum will swell up and be really painful and I’ll have trouble eating. I usually wash with a special mouthwash, but about 18 months ago I ran out of it (it was a prescription from my original dentist) and I’ve since been using an OTC mouth sore mouthwash. It works okay, but not as fast. This time I started with the damn gum infection and I’ve been alternating the mouthwash and warm saltwater rinses. Then the infection migrated to the other side of my mouth. Tonight? Day 3, it has now migrated to one end of my baby toof. My poor little baby toof. And every time I get one of these gum infections, it makes my baby toof sensitive, like it’s moving more and aching some. And every time THAT happens, I wonder if it’s time to let little baby toof go.
And then I remember that it is likely the source of all my powers. And I rage against ever letting it go. And then I take a nap, because raging about my baby toof is tiring.