Image: filtered through decim8 app. pretty much how I feel like I look.
Warning: If you’re sensitive, this post has some emotional content, and some descriptions of dental procedures that I didn’t enjoy.
I went to two dentists’ offices Wednesday to get my implant adjusted. Dentist 1, the oral surgeon, made some quick adjustments, and then, while numb, I was to head to the other dentist’s office and get the impressions done for the temporary teeth. The first visit was a bit traumatic, what with the surprisingly sharp pain of anesthetic injections (guess the site wasn’t very numb after all). There were stoic tears, but I didn’t flip out. Just deal. It will be over soon.
I got my appointment reminder card at the front desk, and the assistant said, “You’ll ooze a bit for a while,” and the look on Tony’s face confirmed that, yes, I was “oozing”. It took me a moment to realize what, exactly, was oozing. Of course. My implant site was bleeding, and since it’s up front, right beneath the temporary bridge, it was very red and very visible. Very vampiric, but real and not candy-red corn syrup. It’s pretty traumatic for me to taste blood, beyond the obvious reasons, and on top of the sudden, unexpected pain in the chair, and the fact that, in retrospect, I should probably have asked for nitrous, but hell, this is no big deal right? Everybody’s acting like it’s no big deal. Just a “punch” though the gum tissue that’s healed over the implant site, then off to dentist 2 for the impressions. Cake walk.
But I was only halfway through, and about ready to sign out of this experience, thanks. But I soldier on because this is what I need to do today. This is progress. And Dentist 1 hadn’t actually glued the temporary bridge back on so I couldn’t go home if I wanted to. Suck it up, get it over with.
Dentist 2 made some adjustments to my implant site, which I yoga-breathed through just hang on it will be over soon it’s OK hang on. Do this. It’ll take longer to get the nitrous than to just do this. She adjusted the bridge a bit, and told me a bit of the silver would be showing how about I see you in two weeks…?
Sure, great, I just need to get out of here. Wished I had something stronger than comfort food and my look-forward-to Blue Coconut Route 44 slush that I usually spike with coconut rum when I get home from one of these “visits”…
I glanced, saw a blob of gelatinous deep red, looked away. Went to fall asleep on the couch in the afternoon sun with the moose, my cuddly boy, and our coconut slush. I didn’t really look at it for a while, until some time in the evening, when I was brushing my teeth, because I didn’t want to see oozing. Had a stupid pointless fight with my husband, he left for soccer, I decided to give in and go to bed already.
I’m under the impression that I’m not a vain person. I color my hair when I feel like it, but I can’t be bothered to maintain my roots. I’ll wear jeans a few times before I wash them, and I do my own nails, thank you very much. No lipstick, makeup most of the time, but I can go weekend errand-running bare-faced without giving a rat’s ass. NBD.
But when I saw my tooth without the cloak of ooze…I’d imagined a sliver of silver peeking out between my gums and the bridge, a barely noticeable bit of metal, easily dismissed. That’s not really what I got. Instead I got about a centimeter and a half of my temporary (very expensive) bridge sawn off, and the implant cap was showing. Bright as day, as if I had been chewing on bolts and washers and had a bit of scrap metal stuck in my teeth.
I know how the world looks at people without teeth. I saw myself in the chair right after the accident because I couldn’t not look. I’ve tried to avoid but seen anyway how I look when the dentist takes my temporary bridge off. It’s devastating, as if all of the things I’ve worked and sweated to prevent had happened, and honestly, they really had anyway. It’s “just” a tooth, teeth now, actually, but I feel so damaged and broken still, almost a year since it happened, and it’s getting better but fuck if it doesn’t take a long fucking time.
I’m walking it off, but it’s rough. I feel stupid for feeling vain for feeling like this about this. It’s messy and laborious and expensive as hell, and yes, the only people who matter already love me and thank God I’m not interviewing right now because Jesus.
Also how can this be OK, how could they not have warned me about this missing half of my tooth? But since there was no other way wasn’t this the best approach? DO it and hope she won’t notice? Or is it really NBD and I am overreacting? There’s the rational brain, and then there’s the emotional brain, and they’re not on speaking terms about this. This image is the photo I sent of myself to Jamillah, chiding myself for my vanity, trying to be funny haha, but simultaneously wanting to scream about how incredibly unfair life is.
I’m simultaneously proud of myself for going in to work the next day and trying to pass it off as nothing, and ashamed that I am making such a big deal of it in my head. It’s not fucking cancer, for Christ’s sake.
It’s like Tony said, if I don’t talk, and don’t smile, nobody will notice, and I talk a lot and smile even more because I was raised in Texas! Someone steps on your foot you’re supposed to smile and say sorry!
My gentle friend Dom said the next day at work, in her very matter-of-fact way, that I should be excited that I have a “grill” and I am now a real rap star. She was just ribbing me for whisper-singing at my desk during the day, but it was very well-timed and helped me cope, and for that I’m so grateful.
I remind myself that this is indeed a much bigger deal to me than anybody else, and that it is short term. A step in a process that is exceedingly unpleasant but only 2 weeks long.
But I have also visibly horrified my boss, disturbed a few coworkers, and developed brand-new awkward gestures trying to cover it up. It was an unexpected turn of events, and I am not equipped to roll with “unexpected” right now. I simply cannot tolerate it. And that’s the worst kind of inflexible to be. FML.
It’s not a big deal. But I am still also a little-lot fucked up about it.