The tooth and nothing but the tooth!

It’s been a while since I wrote a post. In order to fill in the gap, I’m again posting some stuff I wrote a long time back. This one, according to the local file, was supposedly written on “20 June 2007 Wednesday” at “3:40 pm”. Hope I’ll have something fresh to post soon.

It’s been a while since I wrote a post. In order to fill in the gap, I’m again posting some stuff I wrote a long time back. This one, according to the local file, was supposedly written on “20 June 2007 Wednesday” at “3:40 pm”. Hope I’ll have something fresh to post soon.

For many days… I think for many years now, I have repeatedly had this dream about my tooth. The dream involved a shaky tooth (one of the front teeth). The tooth was shaking so badly that it was hanging by a vein (or something of that sort). And invariably I was always eating during these dreams!

I was struggling to eat – trying every possible way to avoid chewing with that tooth. Sometimes I was chewing softly, at other times I was trying to eat from one side and I could feel the tooth shaking and threatening to fall. The kind of feeling which I used to get as a little kid.

Then like the classic Hindi movie, the climax occured! I got tired of waiting for the tooth to fall and I chewed harder – almost as if with a vengeance! Like the only good guy in the movie, I fought with all the pain. I chewed the food and the tooth took an eternity to fall! And then the moment came… I felt a hard stone like thing in my mouth. The sweet blood flowing from the vacant space in my mouth. That’s how my dreams hed been ending.

As I said earlier, I have been getting similar dreams for many years now. At first, I thought that it only put into expression my fears that my teeth will end up being like my parents – really bad (with all due respect to them). That one day, my teeth will shake and fall down – one by one…

I had reason to believe that 4 of my teeth would be pulled out because almost 2 years back, we went to the dentist and I was told that I would be put on a waiting list for the operation. My teeth would be pulled out and I would have to wear braces. I still do not know why it was called ‘waiting list’.

Yesterday I went to the dentist… my worst fear was that 4 teeth would have to be pulled out because there was not enough space in my mouth for all of my teeth. One wisdom tooth was already on its way out. And in the morning I had the same dream about my tooth.

On the way, I examined the papers from my previous visit. It said that I had some kind of non aligned teeth and some expert advice was required.

We walked into the dentist’s clinic. The dentist happened to be a specialist – an orthodontist (the specialist was the one whose advice was required). The orthodontist’s face was covered with the mask that surgeons wear. Only his eyes were visible. I sat, or shall I say, I lay down on the inclined chair. A bright light shone at my face and I could not keep my eyes open. He started examining my teeth. After I described the problem about my teeth and he had fiddled around with his instruments enough, he turned to my father.

Why exactly did I have to get 4 teeth pulled out? Why was my first sign of wisdom grating my cheek? As usual, I kept quiet. And one by one the doc (i.e. orthodontist) explained my problems.

The doc said that I had very crooked teeth which, to be aligned, had to be put on braces. For the braces, space had to be created. As it is my mouth was small (it is now official, because the doc expressly said so) and now that I was becoming wise, I could almost feel my teeth vanishing away to make room for the braces and teeth. The doc then explained the technicalities, which is as follows.

To put braces, the doc required 6 mm of space. Each tooth occupies about 10 mm, so pulling out four teeth would result in an excess of 34 mm. The braces had to be put not only to align the teeth but to also cover the extra space created so that it would not look ugly. This process of aligning the teeth would take two years during which time I would be required to visit him every fifteen days. Very calmly, he said, pulling out the teeth is very easy… in just two sittings… but it is the next phase which required a lot of effort.

The very thought of my precious teeth being pulled out frightened me so much that I felt that they were already gone! I put one hand on my mouth and felt my teeth to do a reality check, and then kept feeling them through my lips. It was as if my teeth were being robbed and in a desperate attempt to save them, I was hanging on to them.

It seemed like the doc could read my mind and continued to answer my next question. He said, “Then you may ask why pull out 4 teeth and not just one?”. Our teeth are more or less symmetrical. So if one tooth were to be pulled out, then the jaw will tilt to one side. To prevent that, the corresponding tooth on the other side of the jaw would have to be pulled out. Now it so happens that not only is our jaw symmetrical horizontally, but also symmetrical vertically. So the corresponding teeth would have to be pulled out from the opposite jaw.

Then came the really shocking bit… I still had a milk tooth!!! So in my case, first that tooth would have to be pulled out – making it five teeth gone! It took me a while to realise what had just been said. The doc pointed to the sole survivor of the species called milk tooth. It was only later on, after returning from the clinic that everything began to fall in place.

So now it seemed certain… my teeth would go away – my signature vampire-like teeth would be destroyed. My worst fear was coming true. As I was writing the obituary of my teeth, the doc began chatting about how most of the people who had got such a surgery done were unhappy about their teeth. Most people wanted that beautiful perfect set of teeth (which all the glamorous people in the world have) and would mainly get such a surgery done for cosmetic purposes. And then I came in the discussion – I think it was something like she may not like-her crooked teeth… Hold on! Who said I was unhappy with my teeth? On the contrary I was happy with my unique teeth. I had to step in and defend myself!

I made a faint sound and the doc turned towards me with a questioning look. I said with an embarrassing smile that I was happy with my teeth. The rest of the conversation involved all three of us.

The doc then began to briefly explain that pulling out the teeth was not a problem but it was the subsequent two years which would require commitment and that it should not be taken lightly. Only after discussing with the whole family should the procedure begin.

It was then that I began to see a tiny almost microscopic ray of light. Is the doc giving us an option to avoid the operation? Was it not supposed to be like I had to get my teeth pulled out and there was no question of opposing the doc’s advice? After a little more discussion I tried to clarify whether the surgery was going to be a purely cosmetic procedure. The doc said that the overbite was only a mild to moderate problem which did not require such a procedure. He said that in his area of specialization, all such procedures tend to be cosmetic procedures only. The overbite was not so severe that it needed the surgery.

Whoa! So what about that tooth that was on its way out? After enquiring my age, he said that the phase within which wisdom teeth come starts at 18 years of age and can extend till the age of 25 years. These teeth almost invariably cause problems when they come out. He said that they would automatically shift down over a period of time. So no problems? Apparently.

While in the car, I remembered the dream I had had in the morning. All this while I had thought it was a manifestation of my worst fears (which it most probably was). But now I felt (this may seem very weird) it could have been my sub-conscience warning me about my milk tooth. Could I have predicted the turn of events? May be I had started developing a new sense… my sixth sense.


By Kasturika

I tell stories - of people, places, and ideas - through words and visuals.
Designer by profession, Writer by passion, and Storyteller by accident (or is that a cosmic conspiracy?)
Digital Nomad, Slightly Eccentric

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