In recent months, I’ve developed a new, funky-fresh addition to my morning routine. After dragging my body out of bed, I stand in front of my bathroom mirror and unhinge my jaw like a boa constrictor to examine the spaces in my mouth where my wisdom teeth are growing in.
I find the space on the bottom right particularly fascinating. The inflamed gum there has a crack in it, and when I pull back the flap of tissue I can see the tiny white peak of a tooth. It reminds me of the scene in “Alien” where the baby alien explodes out of the guy’s chest, but in extreme slow motion.
When I think about my wisdom teeth, I remember how I handled loose teeth as a kid. I would just reach my little fingers in my mouth and pull at the tooth until it popped out. Entirely self-sufficient! Free of charge! There’s something so satisfying about finally yanking out a tooth after wiggling it for forever. Now, I have to pay someone to take my teeth out for me. I thought the whole reason they’re called wisdom teeth is because you are wiser by the time they come in. I think ten-year-old me, wrenching a decayed baby tooth out of her mouth one rotted, square millimeter chunk at a time, was wiser. I just want to rip open my gums and yank my stupid extra teeth out myself.
And surgery? A recovery period? I don’t have the time. For real. I’m already missing a ton of class for things more important than teeth. I have college representative visits and tours of campuses and field trips and contagious illnesses for which I’ve already missed class. I was halfway through writing an email to a teacher asking to be excused from class for a college representative visit when I realized that I was already missing every other day of that class that week to go and tour colleges. Whoops.
I like complaining, so I tell everyone who will listen that my mouth hurts. It’s interesting how many times I will get the response, “Oh my god, same.” A lot of my classmates also just don’t have time to get their wisdom teeth out. It’s a distressing fact that a significant portion of Marlborough students would rather be in pain than miss school, but for me it’s somewhat comforting. I don’t want anyone to be in pain, but it’s better than suffering alone. Right now, I’m just biding my time until Thanksgiving, because that’s the soonest I will have a completely free day, let alone multiple free days in a row for recovery. Thank God for ibuprofen.