An Ode to Tooth #18

You were in my mouth when I was born

And you have stuck with

Me for decades

Through diets and binges

Through braces and retainers

Through pregnancies and nursing

Through it all, you anchored the

Most used joint in my body and allowed for

Retainers and braces to do their work

I always knew I could count on you

When chewing a tough

Bit of meat or candy

For the past year or so

The bone that anchored you

In place since you erupted

Has slowly died around you

Exposing root and nerve

You’ve caused some

Tremendous pain for several

Months now

And your eviction papers were served

An ignominious end, for you

And far less pain for me.

I’m sure I’ve violated just about every rule governing an ode but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I can hardly explain the relief when my dentist numbed my mouth and cheek and tongue and pulled out the molar that has been causing me pain for the last several months. It was moving about more and more and hitting nerves and impacting the gum.

And so it had to go.

A tooth may feel like such a little thing, kinda like fingernails or fingerprints or flexibility. The things you take for granted until they are gone and then you know how important they really were. Now, instead of a molar at the end of my lower left jaw, there is a hole. I don’t know yet what we will do with that hole, probably nothing, or if the teeth next to #18 will be able to hold on or will also have to be extracted (such a weird word for pulling out a tooth), but time will tell us.

For now, I will be gentle with the place where tooth #18 was, grieve the loss of yet another part of me to the monster that is MBC, and then look forward. A tooth is a small price to pay for strong bones, for the cancer staying in my bones rather than traveling to another home in an organ. It is a small price and yet it is still a price I must pay.

I sometimes wonder if I’ll have enough for all of these costs.

13 thoughts on “An Ode to Tooth #18

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