I’d like to share something very personal. It will leave me feeling vulnerable and anxious, but if it inspires even one person to take the steps they’ve been dreading, it will be worth it.
12 years ago, on December 21st, 2008, I was at a friends’ home, visiting after having babysat their 3(4/5? idr) year old son. I’ve always loved children and especially enjoyed this little guy’s chuckle. While chatting with his parents, I had the lil tyke on my lap and every so often would drop a surprise tickle bomb on him, causing him to erupt in the most adorable stream of giggles. It was truly priceless. That is, until I went in for a bout of tickles and wiggles and giggles, and little man’s head whipped backward, smacking me square in the teeth.
The poor boy was a little dinged, but mostly crying out of shock. Neither of us had been expecting the blow. He’d had blood in his hair after, but no break in the skin was detected, and it was only after things had died down a bit I realized my tooth had been cleanly severed in half. The root was even sticking straight out and began to hurt with every breath in or out. I was the one who’d been bleeding, and I knew this needed prompt attention. As luck would have it, my aunt’s father was a retired dentist with access to his practice and tools. For $200 he performed a root canal and fitted me with a temporary crown. He really was a great man, may he rest in peace. ❤
This temporary crown was supposed to only last somewhere in the realm of 3-5 months. It lasted 5 years. One day, I was happily munching away on an apple when the crown simply fell out. I was devastated. The rest of my teeth were fine, up to that point, but I knew I needed to find a way to get another crown. I had no insurance at the time, so I went online and found a product called TempTooth. This solution was relatively affordable and actually worked quite well. The only issue was the plastic mold covered areas which needed to be cleaned and harbored bacteria there. Eventually, decay began to set in, but I still had no insurance, so I fought it with aspirin and as much dental care as I could tolerate before hitting the ER a few times over the years.
It’s now been almost 12 years since the initial incident, and I’ve just had a bit of a scare with my health. After I got home from the hospital, I realized I needed to take action. Life is too short to spend it hidden away, afraid of other’s snap judgments and wallowing self-pity. I still don’t have very good insurance, but I have a bit of coverage, at least. Even if I didn’t, I’d pursue a resolution. It’s way past time I get over my shame and face the problem, head on.
I’ve spent these past 12 years in a sort of stasis. My children have never really known the ‘real’ me. I’m outgoing and adventurous. I love meeting new people and having in-depth conversations about all sorts of things. I adore entertaining and hosting a fun evening for friends and family. But, no one knows this because I haven’t done any of these things since I was 21 years old. I’m 33 now, and I need to move forward with my life. I need to show my children their mother is brave enough to face her fears and then show them she’s strong enough to carve herself a path to success. With my writing, there’s no building a career unless my face – my smile – can be seen, and unless I can openly speak to a fan, crowd, or camera.
During this pandemic, most of the public have been wearing masks, covering their mouths. I’m selfishly a little grateful this is now the norm. I’ve noticed a huge difference in the way I’m treated by others when they assume my teeth are intact. However, as soon as anyone actually sees my situation, there is a noticeable change in their demeanor. It’s heart-breaking, to be honest. I shouldn’t care so much what others think of me, but in the end it hurts to be treated as less-than over and over again based on a snap assessment and bias judgment of physical attributes/perceived shortcomings. I know my worth. It doesn’t lie in my physical appearance. Yet, it’s an undeniable fact, first impressions really do matter. It seems a fruitless endeavor to pursue a career in writing, or even a trip to the gas station, when the first impression people will have is to turn away in disgust, most then turn straight to ridicule. Trust me, over time, it weighs on a person.
I’m at a turning point. We often have those – a significant moment in one’s life, where you know in just a short amount of time many things will be forever changed. I welcome it with open arms. I will always remain true to who I am, but it will be so nice to be able to confidently present who I am to others. I’ve taken the first steps in this journey. I have a consultation with ClearChoice this coming Monday at 3:30pm. The sun will soon rise on happier, healthier days. If you’ve been hesitating to get any kind of care, please take the steps to get it done NOW. Today. Please, don’t put it off for 12 years like I did. Looking back, I am oddly thankful for the experiences I’ve been led to have due to my teeth. It has made me a more conscientious, open-minded person, and for that, I’ll be forever grateful. I won’t be a changed woman when I get a new smile, but I will most certainly be the best Me I can be, and that is all I’ve ever wanted. #ReachYourPotential!