I’ve got a dirty mouth. But not the way you think. Yes, I love swearing and do it pretty much all the time, with the exception of when I know I’m around children or the elderly. Some people would consider that a dirty mouth, although I think the aforementioned standards as well as my reluctance to use certain words on a frequent basis (ahem, namely the ones Brits use and somehow make them sound charming) means that my mouth isn’t as dirty as some people would think.
No, I mean that my mouth is actually dirty. I don’t really know how; I brush two times a day, sometimes three, and I do it thoroughly enough that I surpass the 2-minute time period recommended by 4 out of 5 dentists (probably a true estimate, because it means the 5th one just wants more of your money). I never go to sleep without brushing my teeth and I always make sure to brush immediately after eating lots of sugar or drinking alcohol.
Despite this vigilant maintenance, my mouth is still a garbage dump. Always has been. I’ve been getting cavities for as long as I can remember, while my sister, who as a child almost never brushed her teeth, didn’t get any. I’ve broken my teeth, had two root canals on the same tooth, and for awhile even had one of those weird fang teeth that hung out on my gums like a superfluous vampire accessory.
Sometime during high school, I asked my dentist why I kept having problems with my teeth when I was doing what I could to care for them.
“Some people have congenitally weak teeth,” he said. “Be happy you don’t have congenitally weak bones, instead.”
And it’s true that I have yet to break any bones (OF MINE, HEH HEH). But the teeth thing is getting tiresome, and you should know that as I type this, I can taste my own blood after another surprise wisdom tooth extraction.
Several years ago, I broke one of my back teeth. It just came apart one day, and when it became painful, I went to the dentist to have it removed. It was on the bottom at the very back, and since my bottom row is crowded, anyway, I wasn’t too unhappy to see it go.
When my dentist showed me the x-ray, he said “You see how these top back teeth point down?”
“Okay, these are your bottom teeth,” he pointed out. “And they point back towards your brain. Those are impacted wisdom teeth, and this one has to come out now.”
So I texted my boss and told her I’d need the next day off, and then I got shot full of anesthetic (four shots, I have never been an easy beast to take down) and at one point, my dentist had one palm on my forehead to push it down while he wrenched at the wreckage of my tooth with the other. There was tremendous pressure, and then a great big sucking sound, and suddenly my head felt lighter. I remember being in a lot of pain that time, although the worst part by far was changing the gauze in my mouth. I don’t have a problem with blood, but the smell was sickening. Just slimy, bloody, open wound death.
As I brushed my teeth this past Monday, I felt a shard of something ready to be spit out with the toothpaste. Picking it out of the sink, I saw that it was a tooth. Part of a tooth. A pointy, not-entirely-healthy-looking part of a tooth. Assuming that an old filling had fallen out, I called my dentist’s office and made an appointment to utilize my insurance card.
Turns out that it was not an old filling. Well. Not that tooth. That tooth was a wisdom tooth, it was broken, and it had to come out. The tooth next to it had a cavity underneath an old filling, and when the dentist drilled through it, she found that the hole was much bigger and deeper (like your mom) than the x-ray indicated, and while she was able to stick a temporary filling in there, I will have to go back for a crown. Which dental insurance never covers, so that’ll be done….hmmmmm, on the twelfth of never. Or at least not until a few months after we move.
I required five shots of Novocaine this time – a set of two (one on the cheek side, one on the upper palate) for each procedure, plus another shot on the bottom because at one point, pain started shooting from the base of my tongue and it scared me so bad I started shaking uncontrollably.
I’ve got Percocet and some antibiotics now, but it’s disappointing to know that my teeth, one of the barest examples of my DNA, are so weak and shitty. And it’s really surprising when I consider that, because (and this isn’t just the Percocet talking, although it is making it harder to type this) when I look back at how far my DNA has come, especially now that I have those 23andMe results that indicate my people started marauding around Europe about 13,000 years ago, I can’t believe that someone this faulty has made it this far.
(My results also told me that on my mother’s side, which we’d previously believed was entirely German, I am actually more than three times more Irish/British, and tiny bits Iberian and West African. Which is incredible to me, although I was a little disappointed that, on my mother’s side, at least – females have no Y chromosome so we can’t be tested for our father’s contribution but I hope to talk him into it this fall – I am not Jewish at all. I’m not surprised, I was just hoping. You guys can have your sick day pho, I’ll choose matzo ball soup every time.)
So for 13,000 years, someone with the basis for my genetic code has been walking the earth, and through gradual couplings and pollutions and probably a fair amount of unhealthy behavior evolutions, they have produced me. Strong-boned, weak-toothed me. Call me Garbage Mouth.