When I was just eight years old, I made one of those stupid, life-long repercussions mistakes. Thinking I was pretty cool, I’d been doing push-ups in the living room….with my feet on the couch and my hands on the coffee table. Of course, this would lead to disaster as do most youthful “good ideas” and my hands slipped off the edge of the table. Down I went – face first onto the edge of the wood table. After the initial shock and horror wore off, I realized I’d chipped my front left tooth… into the shape of a jagged-edge dagger – pretty much diagonally across the middle.
My mother, poor thing, took me to the dentist where they placed on an acrylic cap that was to be replaced with a porcelain cap when I was all done growing. As the years passed, many other “tragedies” befell this same tooth, meaning that cap was replaced a couple of times. Once I decided to climb a marble pillar in front of the library, smacked my face on the pillar as I slid down (another great idea) and chipped the cap. Another time, I was popped in the face with a plastic ice cream cone by a bully on the bus and the cap was chipped off again. As I grew into my awkward teenage years and stopped throwing myself around recklessly, (and learned to avoid bullies armed with plastic fake food), I stopped chipping my tooth so much. Of course, because it was acrylic, that means it stained easily. Soon, I was refusing to smile with my mouth open, or talking with my hand in front of my mouth, as this one poor tooth was so dark in comparisson to the rest.
Finally, at age 25 I’d decided enough was enough. I went to the dentist and dished out the required dough (a whole LOT of required dough) to have that cap changed to a porcelain one. The dentist decided that actually both front teeth should be capped as the acrylic cap had caused some damage to the front tooth next to it.
If you’ve ever had to go through this experience, you’ll know what this entails. If not and things make you queasy easily, you may want to take caution for the rest of this post.
What happens when they do this acrylic to porcelain cap replacement, is that they first obviously remove the acrylic cap. Fine. No problem there. Then, they grind down the teeth underneath to little tiny nubs. At this point, having this second step accomplished, the dentist painted the nubs with some kind of chemical and decided I needed to be left in the semi-dark room alone for a half hour while this chemical dried. Being of a curious nature, and being left alone with nothing better to do for a half hour, I couldn’t restrain myself and decided it would be a good idea to check myself out in the mirror and see what this “nubs” business was all about.
I can tell you… it was a horrifying image. Yet, somehow, like when you smell something that really, really smells bad and then you have to smell it again just to make sure it does really smell as bad as you thought… I couldn’t stop looking. Soon enough, I was making hideous faces at myself in the mirror, and then bringing tears to my own eyes with my hysterical (yet mostly silent) laughter…. right up until the nurse caught me. It was somewhat akin to the time my mother bought me footy pajamas as an adult. I put on the pajamas, put my hair in pigtails (the high up on your head kind, mind you) and borrowed one of the kids stuffed animals. Once prepared fully – I walked into the bathroom to check myself out in the full length mirror. That might just be the hardest I’ve ever, ever laughed. (P.s. I decided against wearing the footy pajamas EVER just because I’d decided that if the house were to burn down in the night, and I had to flee with just the clothes on my back… footy jammies were NOT what I wanted to be stuck with.) (Plus, have you ever SEEN an adult in footy jammies? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL)
After the nurse (quite amused, I might add), got me settled back into a chair, the dentist returned. At this point is when he decided to tell me about the “temporaries” they’d put on while some company somewhere far away in a land somewhere over the rainbow would take a couple of weeks to make my actual caps. He sculpted away in the corner of the room, his back to me for some time. Eventually he came back with just one piece to place over the two nubs. As he finished, he handed me the mirror. OH>>>>> MY>>>>> WOW….. They looked like one giant piece of chewed gum had been placed in the space where my teeth should have been. They were also HUGE. I tried to talk. What happened was a sound came out that reminded me of Gopher from Winnie the Pooh. A whistle, a lisp…. it was …. strange. Yep, these teeth were impossible to talk around.
For the next couple of weeks, I had to deal with trying to close my mouth around, and hide in conversation, these gigantic chewed gum teeth in my mouth. This might have been easier had I not had the job I had. Unfortunately, at the time, I owned a newspaper that I’d unfortunately named “The Messenger” …. try saying that with a lisp. Sigh. Unfortunately also that happened to be an extremely busy two weeks, phone wise, so every call I answered, “Hewwo…dissss issss da messhengher….jesshicah schpeakin”. ***SIGH***
When my caps finally arrived I was so excited! I went in and they removed the gum teeth… about an hour later, the dentist was finally done placing the actual porcelain caps and I got to take a look. Oh NO> they looked a little like rabbit teeth.The dentist realized right away that they didn’t look right either…He offered to re-do them right away at no cost, but that would require sending away for new teeth again…. and also, he noted that the teeth didn’t come any whiter than the ones I got, which were still just a tad lighter than the rest of my teeth (I was a good brusher my whole life :D) But then after the last couple of weeks, I thought – there’s NO WAY I wanted to go through that all again.
I told him I’d think about it.
I’ve never really been one of those people who’s got to look perfect. I don’t have to have every hair in place, flawless make-up and a simply smashing outfit everyday. I’m a mom, and I’m a very busy mom. I take care of a lot of people. I do dress up, and I do spend time on my appearance, but not to the point where I’m investing too much time into it. We need to be sure to invest time to being pretty on the inside too, after all!
One day during my “thinking about it” time, I sat in front of the mirror, while waiting in a car, making silly faces at myself… pushing my teeth out over my bottom lip to see what I would look like as a rabbit. As I was laughing at myself, I realized something. I make myself laugh. I think I’m pretty funny. That’s pretty much the important thing. These silly rabbit-looking teeth aren’t so important that I’d put myself through more physical pain and some couple of weeks worth of annoying-ness just because they look a little silly. I kind of like a little silly. Sometimes I think people take me too seriously anyway. I decided to not only keep, but embrace my rabbit teeth!
So I don’t talk with a whistly-lisp anymore after the permanent ones were put on, and they’re still not quite as white as my other teeth. They do look a little “different”, but I wouldn’t want them to be “perfect” anyway. This is MY face, and I like it.