Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Mouth

What did I write about before Claudine and before the breakup? It feels like I must have been very dull as a coupled, non-batty person.

In random, and not all that interesting, news I went to the dentist yesterday. I love going to the dentist. To be specific, I love going to the dental hygienist. I only ever see Charles “Indie Rock Dentist” Utovac for brief minutes. Fine by me, since that means there’s no problem - we got a watch on two molars, me and him, but other than that, everything’s quiet on the dental front.

Not so on the gum front. My dental hygienist is strict. Gave me quiet hell for using those dental pick things instead of floss. They’re no good, she said, they don’t get under the gum line. See when I poke your gums with this sharp metal poker, and I say 3, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3? Some of those threes are almost 4s, and really, you want them all to be ones. Also, we don’t want your mouth bleeding in more than six places after being poked by a sharp metal poker and you’re bleeding in six places after I poke you with my sharp metal poker. So you need to floss and not use tooth pickers which do not get under the gum line of your about to be permanently damaged gums.

She doesn’t really talk like that. But she did give me bad dreams of my teeth falling out.

I use dental floss now, and my threes are moving on up to twos.

The nice thing about her is that she loves my teeth. Loves them. The two times I’ve seen her, she’s said “You ever have braces? No? Huh. I don’t say this very often, but you have beautiful teeth. I see a lot of teeth and they’re mostly not beautiful. Bite down? Wow. The occlusion. Textbook. Wow.”

It makes me feel like one hundred dollars, to borrow another Foer line.

How it goes in my family is that my sister got cursed with too many teeth for her mouth – they grew in every which a way. She had two or three years of tooth yanking and braces and was in near constant pain for most of that time. I got the textbook occlusion, but had raging cold sores: all over my mouth, with few breaks, from October to April. My earliest memory of having them is at 6 years old. By my early 20s my lips had become so scarred the herpes moved into my nose.

“Really?” my dental hygienist said. “I don’t see any scars.”

“One,” I replied, “see where my top lip has a little odd curve on the left side when I smile? Cold sore scar. Two, when I get cold, my lips turn blue in circles, with the most recent scar going blue first.”

Herpes was the bane of my existence and I used to bawl when I could feel one coming on. One small red tingly spot meant two weeks of blisters: first wave, bursting blisters, blisters: second wave, bursting blisters, blisters: third wave, bursting, scabbing, healing. I think I might have traded Amy for her three year stint of dental rearranging. But she says that about cold sores. The mouth is always greener.

The cold sores did lead to an amusing conversation with my doctor when I was sixteen. I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

No comments: