Childhood Treasures: Teeth

A while back my Mom gave me a box of my old stuff. On the side it said "Kris' Treasures", and that about covers it. It's filled with nik-naks from my childhood, teenage years and early 20s. I've decided that every-so-often I'll trot out some trinket and regale you with the story behind it. So what have I chosen to lead off this terrifically exciting new blog feature?

My teeth. I hope you weren't eating anything at the moment. These aren't all the teeth that have ever called my mouth home, but it's a pretty good collection. Let's explore.

The four teeth bottom right are baby molar caps. I'm disturbed that they all have fillings. Were my teeth soft like chalk? Did I eat too many sweets? Was I a neglectful brusher? Maybe all three. I don't have specific memories about each tooth, but just the general recollection of that annoying period when the baby tooth is loose but hasn't fallen out yet. And near the end it's hanging on by a tiny strand of tissue that refuses to let go. Now that I think about it, how strange is it that a part of your body just falls off with another item growing in behind it? As a kid I just accepted it as part of life, but if I were still loosing teeth now it would seem bizarre and annoying. Good thing that phase is over (in some ways).

The two-three-two teeth down the left side were all pulled when I was a kid. The diagnosis by the dentist was that my mouth was too small for a full set of teeth, so some of the teeth had to go. These are not good memories. The dental room was sterile with linoleum flooring, white walls and ceiling and lots of porcelain and chrome. Dentist offices generally appear a lot more friendly today, but back then antiseptic was the theme. I remember that little porcelain spit sink with the water always running around in a swirl. The chair was just a bent slab of Naugahyde covered in clear vinyl protectors - it moved and tilted with motors. And who can forget the high-pitched whine of the drill? But the item that scared me the most was the syringe - big, chrome tube with two finger hooks and thumb loop. Seeing that thing come at me frightened me past all self control. No topical anesthetic back then. And of course it took multiple jabs to achieve complete numbness. Unpleasant memories, to put it mildly.

Next up is the two whole teeth upper center and the four teeth halves upper right. The Wisdom Teeth. These came out when I was 19. I went to an oral surgeon for the extraction, and that was a good thing because all four teeth were impacted, which means the roots curl so they can't just be pulled straight out. So how do you extract impacted teeth? There may be other methods, but my surgeon cracked them in half and then pulled each half out independently. What was so good about the oral surgeon is that he put me out for the operation. I got an I.V. in the arm, they injected the sleepy stuff and I started to count backwards and got to like 96.

Next thing I know I'm in a small recovery room in a very foggy, groggy, blurry and incoherent state. The funny thing was, I believed I was completely lucid. For some reason I desperately wanted to communicate with my Mom, but my mouth was stuffed full of gauze. So I asked for paper and pen - using the universal sign of making your hand look like it's holding a writing instrument then pantomime like you're writing. She fished around in her purse and produced a notepad and pen. I began writing my burning question and showed it to my Mom. She studied it and then shrugged an "I don't know". I was frustrated she didn't have an answer to my query, but what could I do? So I dozed a bit more until they said we were OK to leave. The ride home in the old Toyota Land Cruiser was a trip, really. I was still basically stoned. The Cruiser rode rough and the loose steering linkage made it wander all over the road so with my mind clouded I was jostled and swayed back and forth which made me feel dizzy and nauseous (thankfully no vomiting). When we got home I went to sleep. When I woke up a few hours later and could remove some of the gauze, I asked my Mom why she hadn't answered my question (which I had now forgotten)? She retrieved the paper I wrote on and it was illegible chicken scratch - but at the time I saw perfectly letters formed as I wrote. The drug-induced altered reality kind of freaked me out.

Note the dessicated tissue and blood on the teeth, there's a reason for that. I'm passing these teeth down the generations in hopes that genetic technology will advance to the point they'll be able to clone me from the DNA there. Would my descendants call me grandpa?

Wasn't that fun? Rest assured the teeth are the only gross thing in the box so don't be afraid when the next installment rolls around.

In case you were wondering - no, this post had nothing to do with cycling. I know, it's a departure. I call it random acts of randomness.


mark said...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Knee surgery was a breeze compared with having my wisdom teeth removed. I was miserable for about three weeks afterwards.

I really can't believe you kept all those teeth, though. That's kinda icky.

Miles - Lindon, UT said...

My appetite is gone...Disgusting.

29er said...

Sorry people, I tried to stop him.

KanyonKris said...

Just trying to keep it real here on the KK blog.

Anonymous said...

Love the randomness of the post. I'd never ever expect something like that to be in a box of memories. I wish I had the pieces of my two front teeth that I shattered while trying to ride my bike down the crazy steep hill in my hood when I was a youngster.