This blog post is mostly a joke (though the facts are real). Inspired by a dream I had last night, wherein my friend Cortney asked me to blog about the history of my teeth, I offer pretty much everything that I can remember about them:
* My class sang “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” in a school Christmas program before I started losing teeth (so probably kindergarten or first grade). I thought it was such a stupid request and kept silent on the “all I want for Christmas” part (in other words only singing “is my two front teeth”) because I was trying to be truthful. (I also had a disconnect with “Up on the Housetop” in that same program because I had stopped believing in Santa by then.)
* I believed in the Tooth Fairy much longer than any other similar parent-as-mythical-figure figure. When I finally started losing teeth, I put them in water in a short Tupperware glass on the kitchen counter, and my Tooth Fairy replaced the tooth with a quarter (yes, I had to reach in to get the quarter). One night I was in the bathroom down the hall brushing my remaining teeth when I heard a bell ring. I ran lickety split to the kitchen to find my dad sitting at the table, the tooth gone, and a quarter already in the glass. When questioned directly, my dad claimed that he hadn’t rung the bell and in fact didn’t even see a bell—musta been the Tooth Fairy. It was YEARS before I even thought to question his account. (The Easter bunny rang the doorbell one year, but since neither parent directly denied it, I caught on more quickly that time). Three side notes here: (1) I never had a crisis of Dad trustworthiness over his Tooth Fairy fib, so it should not be used as a cautionary tale; (2) One of the most interesting This American Life episodes I ever heard was “Kid Logic”—“stories of kids using perfectly logical arguments, and arriving at perfectly wrong conclusions.” One of the stories was about a little girl staying over night at a friend’s house and catching the friend’s dad being the Tooth Fairy. Instead of realizing that parents are tooth fairies, she concluded that her friend’s dad was the Tooth Fairy for the whole world; (3) Jason and I are planning to do the under-the-pillow Tooth Fairy thing at the going rate, probably more than a quarter these days.
* When I was in third grade or so, I was standing with my feet on the bottom of a railing. I slipped off and chipped off small parts of my two front teeth on the top of the railing. We got an emergency appointment with the dentist, who told my mom, “If this is the worst thing that ever happens to her, it won’t be so bad.” I really had no sense of badness in the world and his words went over my head in all their meanings. I remember, though, thinking it was weird that my mom was so irritated about it. I realized later that it was because she was genuinely worried and found the dentist’s statements dismissive. In college, I got a veneer (or something like that) to fix the chip (you can still see where it was).
* I have had seven cavities.
* I have said that I am allergic to Novacain, but really I just think I hate the way it makes me feel.
* I had my wisdom teeth out in late high school and can clearly remember thinking that the anesthesia wasn’t working and then the next thing I knew falling out of the backseat of the car in the driveway at home.
* I had braces in college (the clear kind, which I always thought made me look like I had gunk on my teeth).
* I have a permanent retainer on the bottom, which totally captivated both of my kids when they were littler.
* My cousin’s husband, Nick, was my orthodontist, and I wrote a terrible short story called “Nick the Dentist” for my creative writing class. Really, I have no delusions of being able to write fiction.
* I floss regularly for about three days prior to and about a week after each trip to the dentist.