I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching recently. Things have been hectic and somewhat stressful in the AMR household and I have been forced to meditate upon profound personal questions. (See photograph above for a visual indication of what I look like when I ask myself profound personal questions.) Who am I? What am I? Who will I be? Who was I? What have I become?
I’ll tell you what I’ve become: I’ve become someone who moans about their teeth. And there is nothing more boring – nothing! – than someone who moans about their toothache. “I’ve never been in so much pain,” tooth-moaners say. “If I could have the choice between childbirth or toothache, I’d push out another baby without a moment’s hesitation” they declare. “Bad toothache,” say tooth-sufferers, “could send you completely and utterly around the bend.” “LOOK AT MY PUFFY FACE!” they shout, usually whilst you’re all out having an expensive dinner, “I CAN ONLY EAT SOUPS AND ONLY FROM THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF MY MOUTH, LIKE THIS!” Slurp, slurp, dribble.
Good God, it’s so dull.
Until you have toothache yourself, at which point your toothache becomes the sole focus of your entire existence. You can think of nothing else. You can speak of nothing else. Mainly because every time you open your mouth to speak, your entire jawbone feels as though it has been doused with petrol and set alight, and it reminds you that – bloody hell – your teeth don’t half hurt. You think about the pain every second of the day – when will it leave? – and you make little deals with the man upstairs (figuratively speaking, not Mr Paulson from Flat 2c), selling your soul in exchange for an end to the miserable ache in your face.
I have toothache, dear readers. A wisdom tooth that won’t (can’t) emerge, an inflamed gum, sores on the inside of my mouth and what seems to be some sort of sympathy pain from the teeth in the immediate vicinity. Which is pretty much all of my teeth, let’s be honest. My mouth isn’t huge. And it’s so boring to talk about my wisdom tooth pain, but I can’t stop telling people. Texts from friends asking about a completely different – pressing – life issue that’s currently going down (I’ll fill you in next week, it involves bricks and mortar) are answered with a blow-by-blow account of my gum inflammation and a brief summary of my antibiotic’s side-effects. (Moderate-to-severe nausea, stomach “issues” and a metallic taste in my mouth, thanks for asking.)
The worst thing is that people offer you solutions and remedies to ease the pain, but it’s as though you don’t want it to go away: you just want to continue to moan about it. “Clove oil!” the helpful people say, “rinse with salt water!” No, you think. Not I. I wish to fester away in my little pool of soul-destroying, pus-ridden infection. I want to be left alone with my magnifying mirror and a pair of tweezers, spending whole hours with my mouth stretched wide, an iPhone torch shining down my throat, dribble running down my chin as I attempt ill-advised and potentially dangerous food-particle-extraction. I want to prod at the gums, like a lion-tamer with a death wish. I want to clench my jaw until I feel the delicious pressure on my teeth roots. I want to fiddle with bits of dental floss, poke about with interdental brushes, I want to take photos with the flash on and zoom in for a spot of self-diagnosis.
I’ve been referred for a tooth removal, in case you’re wondering: referred to a facial plastic surgeon, because it’s an incredibly complicated tooth. Not emotionally complicated – it doesn’t cry during sex, or anything like that – but in terms of extraction, it’s a tricky one. I’ve opted for local anaesthetic because it’ll get seen to faster, apparently, but I found my last wisdom tooth extraction nothing short of medieval, so I’m not particularly looking forward to the procedure.
Anyway, I’ve bored you enough. If you are a tooth-moaner then please do leave your stories and anecdotal material in the comments section so that we can all moan together. Root canal tales, broken crowns, Invisalign pain, cases of trench mouth and oral thrush, gum disease and eroded enamel – all complaints welcome. It can be a sort of Oral Pain Anonymous group – feel free to support one another and offer up soothing words of commiseration.