Tooth Fairy

Sep 14, 2004

I lost a tooth on Monday. This was not a surprise. I knew problems were on the horizon when pieces of tooth were ejected from my mouth last week, leaving a sharp edge and scratched cheek in its wake. After a bit of jaw pain, I was on the phone with the dentist.

Come to think of it, perhaps “lost” is a bad word. I didn’t misplace it, although I can’t tell you its location at the moment. The dentist removed through a surprising quick but forceful move. The resulting crack still echoes in my skull.

The removal itself reminded me of shaking a tin can with a penny inside. You hear the dentist rummaging inside but the effects of novacaine leave you a little detached. Snap. Crackle. Gone.

For a moment and about the 2 hours afterwards, I had time to compare the effects of novacaine to that of Bell’s Palsy, an affliction I suffered about a year ago. With Bell’s Palsy, a side of your face becomes paralyzed. It stops working. Feeling goes away. In some respects, novacaine acts in much the same matter. Things go numb. That snapping sound made me flinch, but not from pain. It was the sound.

But novacaine is really much different. Novacaine makes you feel numb. A slight tingle warms your face. Bell’s Palsy doesn’t feel at all. Things just go away – frightenly away. You don’t feel numb. You don’t feel at all.

I found this incredibly comforting. I wanted the two to be different. That desire is less about dredging up nasty memories. It’s much more about keeping my nerves straight about what’s going on. This isn’t a relapse. It’s something different. Novacaine is good, especially when bone is being removed from your skull.

And good is how I felt when I left the dentist. Yes, I was minus a tooth, a tooth mostly forced from its home by an unruly wisdom tooth. As I understand it, it’s gone forever. That’s a bummer. The good news is that the unruly wisdom teeth in question aren’t the problem. An issue with my impacted wisdom teeth means surgery, a surgery I had hoped to put off permanently. I’ll trade a tooth for surgery, at least this time. Procrastination has a strong foothold in my psyche.

Now I just need to wait for the tooth fairy. I don’t have the tooth. The dentist kept it, a bit to my dissapointment (let’s think penny in a glass jar this time). But I swear its gone. She missed me last night but that’s almost certainly an oversight. Mom, give her a call. Will you?

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