Can't Smile Without You

   Wednesday morning found me eating a cookie from the school cafeteria that I shouldn't have been eating...but I was hungry and it was there and after all, it was chocolate chip.  About 3 bites in, I felt a crunch.  Not recalling this particular cookie having nuts in it, I had a sneaky suspicion of what had just happened.  Moments later, witnessing my tooth laying in my hand and feeling a gaping hole in my gum, my mind went into slight panic mode as I thought quick on my feet about what to do next.

  I work in an elementary school library, and fortunately at the moment of my loss the librarian was still reading to the 1st graders and no one was aware of my distress.  I ditched the tooth in the trash can, ran to the staff bathroom and smiled.  Ugh.  All I saw on the right side of my grin was tooth, tooth, hole, tooth, tooth.  I looked scary.  I went back to my desk, grabbed my cell phone and darted into the next room to call my dentist for an afternoon appointment.  As I went back into the library, story time was over and I quietly sidled up to the librarian to discreetly - still in my near panic state - tell her what had happened.  She was as incredulous as I, and as little pitchers have big ears, I knew my secret was out. 

  When you lose your tooth in first grade, it's a big deal.  When your librarian's assistant loses THEIR tooth and you're in first grade, it's even more spectacular.  As the students came up to check out their books, I heard quite a few " You lost your tooth?"  "That is sooo cool!"  " I lost 6 last week!"  While I was happy for their milestones,  I assured them that when an adult loses a tooth, it isn't quite the celebratory event they may have experienced.  I have nothing to grow in to replace what I've lost.   They get money from the tooth fairy; I end up writing a check to cover the costs.

  That afternoon found me sitting my dentist's chair undergoing my first root canal ever, and it wasn't anything  I would have thought it to be.  It didn't hurt; it didn't bother me at all.  I had novacaine - he had the tools to make things right.  Funny thing was, he never told me exactly what he was doing.  After I was numb and he'd been putting devices in and out of my tooth for 20 minutes or so, I thought to myself, "I think I'm having a root canal."  How much more pleasant to have stumbled upon that truth myself than to have had him present me with the diagnosis and leave my mind to wander about the ensuing procedure.

 If I had been told that I would be undergoing a root canal, never having been through one before I would have worried, maybe cried a little, and been generally quite nervous.  But not knowing what was ahead, there was no worry- I was in the middle of the procedure before I ever knew what was happening.  I need to remember this about other things that I am afraid of in life- often my fears are completely self-inflicted; they may not be nearly as bad as I've drummed them up to be.

 There's excitement in the air.  I hated that tooth; it was ugly and I was glad to see it go.  I know will have a nicer looking replica in its place very soon.  After that, I'm looking forward to getting a crown on the same tooth on the other side.  When all is said and done (and paid for), I'm going to have a nicer smile than I've had in a couple of years, which is wonderful news.  It helped get me through these past few days of adventures in dentistry.

So as it turns out, it was in my mouth's best interest that I lost my tooth on that cookie - and truth be told, I'd rather head into root canal due to eating chocolate than for any other reason.  Makes it all seem worthwhile.

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