Thursday, September 27, 2007

Toothbrush 3, April 0

I have weird issues with my teeth. I carry floss with me at all times, I actually enjoy going to the dentist. I'll sit and suck on my teeth all day after a cleaning. I religiously use Arm & Hammer baking soda toothpaste (squeezed from the middle - I'm a brat like that), but as a kid used only Crest (the blue gel). Through college and grad school I used the cinnamon red gel stuff - though for the life of me I can't remember what brand that was. Colgate?

My younger sister Daphnne was fascinated with Miss Piggy bubblegum toothpaste with silver glitter in it when she was little, and to this day it makes me gag to smell artificial bubblegum flavoring. When I was about 13 or so, I had very expensive liquid sealants that hardened into little enamel covered caps put into my back molars. I walked out of the dentist's office and chewed a piece of gum and they all immediately popped out. My family was not happy with me. The dentist had to redo them, twice.

They still popped out.

I'm really bad about chewing on things - pens, ice, my nails... etc. or using my teeth to open things. Very bad for them, I know. I've never had a cavity in my life, though I think I'm getting one now as the enamel on one of my molars feels a bit sticky. I'm horribly afraid of dentures (my great-grandmother used pop hers out at us with her tongue to scare us when we were really small and I was petrified of them). If and when I lose my teeth, I'll get implants because the thought of dentures squicks me out to no end. My next door neighbors growing up (April and Mark Grogan) had two sets of baby teeth come in and fall out. I thought that was incredibly cool, though everyone teased them that they were really part shark.

As a July baby, I was one of the last kids in my class to lose a tooth. I lost my bottom two front teeth first, during the same weekend in first grade. One wasn't even really loose, but I wouldn't leave it alone until it fell out. I was so proud of my snaggletooth school pictures the next week. I lost a tooth in a Hostess chocolate pudding filled fried pie (oh my god, could you get any more Southern than that?) and haven't been able to eat them since. I also lost one eating a caramel apple, so every time I eat one now a part of me worries that I will lose another one.

I once left a letter under my pillow for the tooth fairy to leave a picture of herself so I could know for sure she was real. I wasn't sure I believed, but I didn't want to be wrong and miss out. Blind faith has always been difficult for me I guess.

My sisters all had braces. I didn't.My teeth used to be fairly straight, but now - thanks to severely impacted wisdom teeth - they're a bit jumbled on the bottom. I also have a mild overbite. I'd like to get braces now, but feel silly at my age about doing it.I chipped my right front tooth about two years ago and had to have the dentist file it down for me. It was really sharp and I wouldn't leave it alone with my tongue. It's just a very subtle spot, but I'm extremely self conscious about it.

One of my front teeth has a flouride stain on it that makes it have an incredibly white stripe in it. It looks sort of like the little stars that cartoonists use to show that something is shiny. I used to be horribly embarassed by it, but I sort of like it now because it makes my smile unique. I had all four of my impacted wisdom teeth extracted at one time. So unlike normal adults who have 32 teeth, I have 28. I busted out all my stitches and got oreo crumbs stuck in the holes because I just couldn't take any more jello and mashed potatoes. I ended up with more stitches.

Which I again promptly pulled out.

My tongue is just barely long enough to flip up and cover my upper teeth. I dream about my teeth a lot... about them falling out or swallowing them.

Anyway, right - to the teeth (yes, I listen to Ani upon occasion). I was brushing my teeth this morning, and like every other morning for the last month I started gagging when I did so. Usually, my stomach muscles get a little sore from the heaving, but I don't actually throw up. Today, however, the toothbrush won. I threw up so violently that blood vessels burst on my face all around my eyes. It's happened twice since then. Apparently, it's fairly common and actually has a medical term "petechiae" and looks like little red freckles all over my cheeks and around the side of my face. Basically it looks like someone took a red fine point sharpie and just went to town dotting the hell out of my face.

I'd already given up my tried and true "tongue brushing" and had honestly let the last few molars back get only the occasional cursory swish of the toothbrush, relying instead on the paint removing power of Listerine to freshen up.

So ladies who lurch - how did/do you deal with fighting the toothbrush?


orodemniades said...

I'm okay with the teeth, but trying to brush the tongue? I usually get about an inch in before I start gagging. Some nights are better than others, but still. Oh wait, sometimes I do gag while doing the teeth, but that's almost always in the morning when the toothpaste tastes absolutely foul.

Well that wasn't much help, was it?

Nico said...

What about not using toothpaste, just the brush with water - might that be better?

I actually only have 27 teeth. When my adult teeth came in, I was missing both the second incisor and canine on the top right. The canine was in the roof of my mouth, so brought down by braces. That was fun. Not. And I only had two wisdom teeth (subsequently removed.) Random.

Your post also reminded me of the first dentist visit I remember, at about 5 years old. I have a vivid memory of feeling my teeth with my tongue after I left, and them feeling like pillows. First time I ever realized how clean they were supposed to be after brushing them!

Ms. Pants said...

Close Up. That was the cinnamon gel.

Sick that I remember that.

Shinny said...

I still get the gaggers when I brush and I am 6 months along now. Some days are just better then others, I worry more about the morning brush since I have to go to work then the evening brush where I also use the industrial strength Listerine in a pinch, unless the thought of that makes me want to gag. I found that if I don't bend over when I am brushing and rinsing, I have to kind of squat at the sink to get rinse water and not spit all over everything, but that does help stop the gagging.

Good luck to you. Sounds like everything is progressing nicely for you.