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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Odia Dentata

Have a new Salem.
Still not smiling.
It's 12:23 am on Tuesday evening as I write this. 12 hours from now, I'll be on my way to the dentist's office. It's a new dentist, mainly because I haven't set up with a new dentist since moving to New Mexico. Or since I lived in Texas. 

Dear readers, I must make a confession: While he may be pretty and witty and... outspoken, Salem has a badly jacked-up grill. Like, "I never smile" bad. Which is just as well; I go from looking mournful and vaguely menacing to goofy when I do. Yep, my teeth are all sorts of messed up, like those of a feral dog that smoked meth. 

When I was a child, I had one of those nightmarish horror stories you read about where a dentist completely ignores “That hurts!” coming from a child and continues on blissfully with what he was doing. From the moment I left his office I was stubbornly resolute that I would not go back to the dentist, and so I didn't. My parents, bless them, were otherwise occupied; my dad worked (a LOT. The man's retired three times now, after all) and my mother was busy with my disabled sister and didn't have the energy to force me to go back to the dentist. I brushed, but flossing was a lost cause; the crowding makes it nigh-impossible to get floss between the teeth.

Besides, bad teeth run in my family. I got them from my dad, who is snaggletoothed to boot.

On the top row, my front teeth angle inwards. My incisors are diagonally in front of them, overlapping ever so slightly. My canines are enormous. The molars are mostly normal. (Mostly.) On the bottom, my front teeth are longer than they need to be. The incisors are at 45 degree angle pointing inwards and are quite large. The molars are (again) fairly normal.

I used to grind my teeth a lot as a child, so the grooves in my teeth are quite deep and the edges are quite sharp. Were I to bite you, you would know you had been bitten. After moving out on my own, I went through a few years of pretty much abject poverty, as I worked several jobs, both on- and off-the-books, without insurance. The following few years I had a job that provided insurance, but was in an abusive relationship where I caught holy hell for daring even thinking of something for myself. The following years after that were racked with alcohol first, then depression. I continued to brush for most of that time, except for a period of time during the marriage where I was genuinely afraid to ask if she'd seen my toothbrush.

I suspect I may have two cavities at this point. My right back molar tingles a little, and the top of it isn't the right colour. One of my left molars has a hole in the side. I've lost enamel from my top front teeth and incisors in about a millimeter-sized strip. I figure the best-case scenario is that I need two fillings and four crowns. Worse case, some of them may need extracting and a partial denture.

I'm not looking forward to this. There is a very large, very loud part of my mind that still considers dentistry to be a savage and barbaric practice of torture. But I'm sucking it up and I'm getting this taken care of. It will be painful. I will endure that pain. It will be expensive. I will go into debt. But it must be done.

But... to quote...

I don't want to go.


Update 4 PM Mountain time, Wednesday 16 September: My mouth hurts. So much blood.  

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