I ran my tongue across the back of my front teeth. Well, that’s weird, I thought. That one never moved before…
And just like that, it was out.
…just snapped on out like a pop-bead, and there’s so much blood and also there’s a fucking tooth swimming around inside my mouth.
“I need a glass of milk!” I cry. Because somewhere in my brain, I remember reading that’s what you’re supposed to do. Keep the tooth in milk until you can get to the dentist.
But my parents think I’m insane. They keep asking why I’d need milk. JUST HURRY! I cry, and my Dad pours a full glass of milk, into which I spit blood and tooth. Groooooosssssss. We then discuss why this happened, and I give a perfectly understandable Dental Explanation, because once – for real, maybe 10 years ago – I was told I might need a root canal on that tooth.
Next comes the call to the dentist. It is a Saturday afternoon, and the office is closed, but miraculously someone answers. I explain what is going on, and they can get me right in! My appointment is set for 32 minutes from now, which is convenient because I just so happen to know it takes 32 minutes to get to his office. I tell them that I’ve dutifully placed my missing tooth in a glass of milk, but am corrected by the receptionist. “Do you have any caramel?” she asks.
“Caramel. Do you have any caramel?”
“What? Caramel? Caramel. CARAMEL. Is that the word you’re saying?”
“Yes, like caramel sauce. That’s the best thing for it.”
“I’ve got a jar of ice cream topping…”
“That’s perfect. Put the tooth in there.”
And so the tooth goes from milk glass to caramel jar. This only strikes me as slightly odd.
The waiting room is dim, and strangely filled with junior-high kids. Oh, and also, it’s set up like a lab classroom: those black tables and aluminum stools – you remember the sound they make when you drag them across the floor. My entire family has decided to come with me, but there are not enough stools so we find an empty office nearby to sit in. It is filled with high-end Executive Furniture – mahogany desk and leather chairs. It appears to be vacant, so we settle in the fancy chairs.
The phone on the desk rings.
And I answer it, because duh.
It’s the dentist. I recognize his voice. He also happens to be a tow truck driver, and I can’t remember if he did both of these jobs or was just a dentist in this particular story. He asks me which tooth fell out, and I tell him that it’s one of my front ones. “Well, I’ve called in an inflammation specialist, but he can’t be here for 35 minutes. You should probably come back now,” he says.
I collect my jar of tooth-y caramel and report to the receptionist. Apparently this dental practice has taken over some sort of office/junior high school. As I set the jar on the counter, the contents shift, and the tooth becomes buried. “Someone get me a spoon!” I cry, because there is nothing worse than losing one’s tooth in a jar of Smucker’s Ice Cream Topping.
And then I woke up.