well, it’s not

Let me start by saying that my teeth have never given me cause for worry.

Nor have they ever been what you might call an area of — uh, well —vulnerability.

But all that changed about a week or so ago when a chunk of my upper right molar broke loose and — oh god, it’s so awful to relive this — I crunched it up in the wad of gum I was chewing —

and with a poke of my tongue — I realized —

I will — never — be — the same!

Thing is, since I didn’t really look any different on the outside, I tried my best to play down the implications of this bone shattering change. 

I mean, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s not hard to believe your tongue might be capable of exaggerating a bit.  And it’s not a stretch to think it might report “grand canyon” when it’s actually experiencing “microscopic nick”— 

Yeah, right.

So anyway I’m in the dentist’s chair just because it makes sense to check it out — that’s all. 

And, oh, isn’t this rare — there are 8 pictures of the dentist’s little girl on the wall next to me — and she’s smiling pretty with her mouth closed — not a single pearly white in sight! 

He he.  Am I on candid camera?

Now the hygienist wants to have a peek — hell, go right ahead. 

“Blah, blah, blah-blah — blah-blah — caa-rowwnnn.”

Say what??

And so begins a new chapter of vulnerability in my life with a cast of characters I’m struggling to embrace:

The laser drill that I’m told operates at a gazillion miles an hour.

The dentist’s hand that holds the wicked fast drill while he makes clever jokes.

The spray of water I’m told will keep the drill sparks from burning my head off.

The gurgling sound I make to keep from being drowned by my own spit. 

The geeky safety glasses I wear to keep from being blinded by shrapnels of my own tooth.

And finally —

The feeling of impending collateral damage I have which causes me to say with more than a slight tone of alarm —

“It feels like my front tooth is going to fall out!!”

And then, of course, there’s the dentist’s assurance —

“Well, it’s not.”

Oh, that makes me feel soooooo much better.

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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