I had a tooth pulled out the other day. This is apparently what happens to people who don’t visit the dentist for 12 years. I made a dentist appointment primarily because my darling sweet husband’s face had slowly changed each time he went to kiss me. Like he didn’t want to go near my hideous-haven’t-been-properly-cleaned-in-over-12-years teeth. I honestly do not know what his problem was. I floss. Occasionally. Turns out, when the dentist had a look-see in my gaping gob, my dear husband’s disgusted face was somewhat vindicated despite the vows we took on our wedding day to love and obey me no matter what. My teeth needed a good professional clean, and one of my wisdom teeth needed to go.
Since the extraction, there has been a slight pang in the left side of my mouth where the adult tooth once lived. The pang will subside. Eventually, I won’t be able to feel any pain but until then I’m following the dentist’s instructions and eating soft foods only.
Okay, I’m just eating ice cream and drinking non-carbonated drinks as directed (wine).
Losing baby teeth as a child, the pang felt as the tooth came loose subsided as I hid my little tooth under my pillow and in the morning received shiny little coins from the tooth fairy. As an adult, I didn’t really think about losing any of my teeth and the dental nurse kind of looked at me strangely when I asked if I could keep the tooth. Instead of receiving the shiny little coins under my pillow, I’m paying the dental practice hundreds of shiny little coins for the tooth to come out. My bank account feels a pang, however I did get a free packet of dental floss with my tax receipt so things aren’t that bad.
Sometimes I wish I was still living in the time when I was small, wobbling and waiting for my baby teeth to fall out so I could get money. As a kid, I would wonder if mum had bought any ice cream and whether she would let me eat some that night; a wonder I had while I was eating the sandwich she had made me for lunch. I knew it was my sandwich because when I retrieved it from the freezer that morning she had put a little hand drawn “C” in the wrapping like she did every day.
Little moments like this, from a time when I had baby teeth, flash into my brain and I feel a pang.
My siblings and I used to sit around the dinner table, talking shit and laughing uncontrollably. We would share Simpson’s quotes and try and out-joke each other while my parents shook their heads and laughed too. Another little moment. My heart goes pang.
Unlike my tooth, I don’t want to extract and remove emotional pangs such as these that come and visit me from my childhood. I may get sad and teary, but I feel a pang in my heart because these moments mean so much to me. I feel a pang knowing my brothers and I will never sit at that end of the dinner table again; we are no longer babies, but adults with adult responsibilities, such as making sure our teeth are clean enough to kiss our significant others.
Just like a bit of saline solution and numbing gel can soothe my mouth, the emotional pang is soothed by the adult moments that triggered the pang in my heart in the first place.
As adults, my siblings and I are still as close as we were as children, if not closer. We hang out and talk rubbish. We send each other silly texts in our group message chat and tag each other in Simpson’s videos on Instagram. We laugh and giggle still, trying to outdo each other in who can be the wittiest around our virtual dinner table.
One dear brother recently made me a sandwich, and wrapped it up just like my mum used to, complete with the little letter “C”. Another pang, a wonderful feeling that my brother holds that special little childhood memory in his heart too.
So yes, I kept the tooth. The dental nurse kindly wrapped it up in a little bag for me for safe keeping. Despite it being removed from the place I first came to know it, it’s still part of me and can’t be lost. All the little pangs I feel when recalling moments from when I had baby teeth, I also have wrapped up in a little bag in my heart for safe keeping. They'll continue to come and say hello and make my heart go pang in my adult life from time to time. They are still a part of me and can’t be lost. Instead of hurting, though, I know they'll make me smile, albeit a smile sans one adult tooth.
Now, time to get my husband to the dentist. His teeth are shocking. Maybe I can entice him to go with the promise of ice cream for when he comes home.