I have a confession to make: I'm vain about my teeth. They're my favorite body part. (Don't laugh.)
When they took my braces off in ninth grade, I couldn't stop running my tongue across the smooth, straight, perfect teeth that my mom paid $25/week for for years. My teeth have been beautiful since that day, and I wore my retainer religiously for years, as I now wear a bite guard that protects my teeth from damage when I grind my teeth in my sleep.
Yesterday, I went into mourning. Two of my teeth, as I've known them, are forever changed and temporarily crowned (to be permanently crowned in two weeks). It was a lot harder to go through than I expected. It wasn't painful in my mouth, but in my heart. My beautiful teeth are changed, gone, for all intents and purposes. And, they're not just any teeth; it's two of my front teeth.
I was elbowed in the face in eleventh grade during play practice. As best as I can tell, that's the "traumatic" event that led to the death of two of my teeth, both of which got root canals in the time I've lived in Chicago. The thing about having a root canal in a dead front tooth, though, is that that tooth is thin and likely to become dark[er] and brittle. So, when the dentist thought it was time to do the crowns, I naturally agreed.
Laying in the chair yesterday, I couldn't turn my iPod on loud enough to ignore the sounds of the drill grinding away parts of my teeth. I couldn't bear to run my tongue along the stubs of my former glory. And now, I have these temporary crowns. Really, I have these fake teeth, these strange tooth-like things in my mouth where my pride and joy once were. Practically speaking, I knew how it was supposed to work and what would happen, and my dentist did a fabulous job.
And still, I cried. In all my angst and adolescent self-loathing, I always loved my smile. It was sometimes the only thing about myself that I did like. It's forever changed, and I feel stupid for being so emotional about it.