Cracked Tooth Blues

Between testicular damage or dental pain, I’ll take a kick to the nuts any day.

I think I cracked a tooth. No, I’m positive I’ve cracked a tooth. Somewhere between eating a bowl of marbles or letting a temporary crown fall off after two years, I’m sitting at my desk with my tongue doing triage nervously prodding my damaged molar.

The pain is exquisite.

It alternates between a pulsing pin cushion of technicolor lights wrapped in burning aluminum and jamming a fork in a toaster. I feel like the left side of my face survived a straight right from Mike Tyson and I think it’s impacting my ability to see‑because all I can see is red. It has definitely impacted my ability to eat. I can only eat food on the right side of my mouth and only if it is softer than lukewarm tomato bisque.

I despise going to the dentist. I hate the smells, the sounds, the sensation of metal in my mouth, laying on my back while staring at an unfamiliar ceilings and the weird physical intimacy of the staff. Not to sound uptight but I dislike dental hygienist crawling on top of me and scrubbing my teeth with decades old devices that spit chalky water and demand me to suck on a tube like a common porpoise or other

And the bib they put on you is the worst. Usually a bib means lobster or pie eating contest (you know, good things), but not at the dentist. That weird half paper/half plastic bib doubles as a work station for both the dentist’s tools and whatever foreign material they yank out between my teeth. You can’t move, blood rushes to your head and they ask you questions only to see if you can gargle an answer while they have everything minus their foot in your mouth.

Even if I was into “rough trade” in the bedroom, the average dental visit feels like a prison yard beating. I always leave teary, sore, embarrassed, and vowing to never return. But somehow I always have to return because teeth are more than ribeye shredding tools but the first thing Highballs see when I’m having my afternoon cocktail.

To keep the visits to a minimum, I am pretty aggressive about brushing and flossing. But instead of helping my cause, it seems to only hurt it. On my last visit, the dentist told me that I was brushing too aggressively and stripping my teeth of enamel and destroying my gum line. How about that? First he wants you to brush your teeth and then he said you’re doing it too hard. What is it, Dr. I-Couldn’t-Get-Into-Medical-School-But-My-Parents-Wanted-Me-To-Be-A-Doctor-So-Now-I-Just-Stare-At-Open-Mouths? Do I just tickle my teeth or do I give them a proper brushing?

It’s so confusing.

I wish I just had metal teeth like the Terminator or teeth that grew back like a lizard’s tail. Or as Mitch Hedberg once suggested, “I wish I had one long curvy tooth.” But unfortunately, just like most of you, I’m just a man. A simple, middle aged man with a cracked tooth who wants his mother to drive him to the dentist’s office even though his wife is in the other room.

So, don’t be like Ben Raskin. Take care of your teeth by keeping the salt water taffy intake to a minimum, use a mouth wash and when you start a root canal, get the darn thing taken care of within five years.

Ben Raskin is a bartender, writer, podcaster and fan of chili con carne. Follow him on Twitter @BennyRaskin. Surprisingly enough, he doesn’t have that bad of breath.

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