Tuesday, September 9, 2008

There's three grand in my mouth.

Before I write about my nervous breakdown in a Target parking lot, I figured I should write about my tooth drama.

To write about my tooth drama, I should write about my first dentist. So, here is goes.

My first dentist was a crazy old many with horrible breath. His name was Dr. Stanley, I think. He was my dad's dentist. My dad's crazy, and he like this guy, that should have been the first sign of trouble. His solution to my buck teeth was for me to spend time every day pushing them back in place. The way he showed me what the drill did was to drill a little hole in my finger. He also didn't know what laughing gas was. The first time I saw a pediatric dentist, I'm pretty sure that I skipped and swore up and down that I would be good if I could go back there.

When I was 11, I was in a bike accident. The short story is that I hit the ground with my face and slid. I was out of town at my aunt's graduation from college, and had to go to the local ER where I waited for hours for the local oral surgeon to show up and sew my bottom lip back on. I also broke off most of my front teeth. (bye bye buck teeth) The consensus was that I was lucky to escape without a broken jaw or wrists (I did try to stop myself) They sealed my teeth because I had exposed nerves, and sent me home with major pain killers.

At home I went back to school, two weeks before it let out, and then spent my summer out of the sun, trying to keep the scar that was my face from discoloring. I was so proud I could talk without moving my lips (immobilized), and that I got to eat refried beans and milk shakes, that I honestly don't remember being teased much, but I know I was. My teacher suggested that I not be in school for fear of scaring the other students with my hideousness (I am sure she spun it as being for my own good, but she was a bitch so I know better).

Over the course of the summer the soft tissue issues healed (I still have to explain why my bottom lip looks funny to any dentist/hygienist who sees me), and I had many dentist appointments. First to do root canals after my teeth started to die, and then to rebuild them with composite. Crowns would be done before graduation, since my mouth wasn't done growing.

Other than the composite teeth (one slightly discolored to match the tooth that got the root canal too late), the only other visible scar I had was a bluish mark on my upper lip from lacerations that healed oddly. Those scars have since healed, but it took me 16 years to get the crowns. My parents could never afford them, and I finally saved up enough before I got married. I had the composite build ups break off a few times and get rebuilt, even better than before.

I know that the visible scars that stayed (the teeth and upper lip) had an effect on me. I know that kids teased me, even if I can't remember the specifics. I never thought that they would stay with me this much. I thought I was over it. Until two weeks ago, I was sure that I was.

The prospect of having to spend any time publicly without a front tooth, especially with a discolored stub of remaining tooth, left me a mess. Especially when it looked like the recementing measures taken (the next to last step before major surgery for an implant) would not actually work and I would be left with issues before vacation. I have had multiple panic attack/break downs. Of course, there is other stress in my life, but this seems to be the major trigger. The thing that had made it hard to keep my shit together.

So, before I write about the parking lot drama, just know, my shit, so not together.

*I went in today to have them look at it again, and it was determined it is very solidly in place, I just needed some adjustments since it doesn't fit as well as it once did. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. We shall see. Chicago dogs, here I come.


Jill said...

Ok, just so you know, I've never, never noticed any teeth/lip scarring, pirregulariries, etc. you might still be bearing. Ever.

But walking around with a tooth stub? OH MY GOD! I'd be TOTALLY freaking out about the idea, never mind how noticeable it may or may not be.

So glad to hear that it is solidly in place & hopefully all will be resolved & not-stressful before Chicago!

Christina said...

I can totally understand a panic attack in that case. I have one dead front tooth, which is slightly darker than the others, and it bugs me so much. I can't wait until we have dental insurance again so I can get it fixed.

Jen said...

Yeah, having knocked two of my front teeth out when I was in Jr. high (already appearance hell) I totally get it.
Glad that things are good for now - though I wonder if they couldn't give you a false piece to wear when/if you get the work done?