Creepy little baby teeth

Determined to obtain a movie star smile in 2003 I started a journey that would ultimately lead to the murder of one of my babies. “People look at your smile and they can tell something is off, they just don’t know exactly what it is.” I knew that my smile was off, but I didn’t realize how off it was. From that moment on, I worried that people would see me smile and think “Freak!” I had come to see the orthodontist for my crooked teeth, but apparently there was much more wrong with me than I realized. Not only did I have crooked British teeth but “Peg lateral incisors” too.


On either side of my two middle upper teeth were two small stunted teeth. The rest of my mouth had matured, while the two little upper lateral incisors where eternally young. Just like Peter Pan they refused to grow up. I never noticed them before, but as my orthodontist pointed out, oh people noticed, they just couldn’t put their finger on why my smile was so bizarre.

My orthodontist had great hopes of improving my smile power, but half way through the process I moved from Virginia to Boston. Two years later, my new orthodontist was less enthusiastic about creating a Tom Cruise smile. “What do you say we remove those braces now and just put a little bonding on the lateral incisors? There really is no way to make enough room. They look fine.” I fell for it. In retrospect, I should have realized that he was just lazy and couldn’t see my vision. But I was tired of sitting next to the other awkward thirteen and fourteen year old boys and girls in the open concept office, listening to their junior high school prom stories.

When I moved into the city, I changed dentists again and during a routine cleaning the hygienist commented on my teeth. “Wow, you have really straight teeth; it’s too bad that you still have those two baby teeth.” I had a little melt down. “I know, I tried to get them fixed and now I’m stuck with them!” She sat me up, gave me a tissue and told me to rinse. Moments later the dentist was in the office describing how he could shave the two middle teeth and fit “enamel jackets” around the two baby teeth and my smile would finally look normal.

I was ecstatic. That night at dinner I had a little coming out party for my baby teeth. “See them?” I asked while pointing to them.

“Oh, yeah, I never noticed, they’re so cute!” Paul said.

“No they aren’t. They’re hideous! Don’t look at me.”

“Oh, but I like your creepy little baby teeth.”

“Well take a good look at them, because tomorrow, I’m putting them up for adoption!”

And just like that I sealed their fate. Well, not quite just like that. If I was going to get rid of my creepy little baby teeth, I might as well whiten the remaining teeth. It was called Zoom whitening, but in my opinion it should really be called “Holy shit! Whitening” because that is what I was saying as I felt the electric “zingers” that were a result of the bleaching agent hitting the nerves of my teeth.

But the end result was perfection in my mind. Even if I had to point it out to everyone. “Oh yeah, OK, I see it now, I never noticed the other teeth.”

That was one year ago and now I am sitting in the dentists’ office looking at an x-ray of a dying baby. “It couldn’t take the trauma of the re-shaping. See this dark area? That is an abscess. We’ll have to drill through the tooth and remove the inside and fill it with cement.” I am heartbroken. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so cavalier about giving them up. But then I hear an exchange in the lobby area. “Oh my gawd! He says I have to have a root canal and it’s going to cost six hundred bucks!” A woman says to her husband. “How much to just pull it?” The husband asks.

How callous, I think to myself. They are ready to toss the tooth away for the price of six nice dinners out on the town. Not me, I am much more caring. I will memorialize my tooth and preserve it. But maybe the dentist can shape my eye tooth just a little while he’s in there.

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