• Tara B. Vasi

The Broken Tooth Incident. Warning Wusses: Graphic Images

Forgive me for keeping you out of the loop of what we can call the craziness that is my life here in India during lockdown 2020.

I am sure you are experiencing your own craziness during this time! It is certainly one for the history books and the world will be stronger for it, once this whole thing is behind us…

I have been stockpiling some great stories for you, and now its time to share!

The day before Prime Minister Modi announced the 21-day lockdown, the second molar on the lower left cracked while I was eating crunchy peanut butter and crackers for dinner. Of course, I yelled to no one other than the dogs, my go-to response, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

The pain was no joke. It shot up. It shot down. However, it was definitely more painful to my soul that my tooth had the AUDACITY to break AT A TIME LIKE THIS! Like, how dare you!

The tooth was a root canal tooth that I had a temporary cap on. I got the root canal right before I left for my trip in September. Dude said the temporary cap would last two months, so I suppose the fact that it lasted more like six could be seen as a silver lining.

My gum on the outside of the cracked tooth was swollen and angry, like seriously traumatically angry. I stuck a wad of fresh ginger bits in my cheek and it surprisingly caused the swelling to go down. Natural remedies for the win!

I walked down the street to the local dentist to see on the off chance that he was open during the lockdown, but he was in fact closed. The sign in front of his small building offered his email address. On the walk back, I stopped at the pharmacy, which was open, to get antibiotics, but the lady couldn’t break my 500 rupee bill and wouldn’t fork over the medicine without payment. I went back the next day after breaking the bill and she gave me five days worth of amoxicillin.

I emailed the dentist in the perfect desperate understanding tone I could muster up.

The following day the 21-day lockdown was announced and the dentist responded to my email apologizing for my pain, but he could not drive in and open his office to help me, even if it was an emergency. He referred me to a neighboring city, but with no real specifics.

As the days passed, the swelling went down and the pain subsided for the most part. At times I actually forgot about the tooth in general, until at random a chia seed or some little bit of food not only wandered to the left side of my mouth, but wedged itself inside the crack in my tooth, and I’d gasp as if someone just jabbed the heel of their hand into my throat. I considered super gluing my tooth together for the time being, but could not find any super glue.

I did my best to rinse with salt water after meals and keep my dang tongue from playing with the loosened tooth, though obviously, the crack kept getting bigger. I emailed the dentist again asking for help and gently “wondering how bad an idea it is for me to pull the tooth out myself”. He said there would be no dentist offices open until after the lockdown was lifted and did not respond to my statement about pulling out the tooth, so as anyone would, I took that as professional support of my idea to extract my own tooth.

So, two weeks after my tooth cracked, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I didn’t actually think to pull my own tooth out was the most brilliant idea, you know, because I am not a fucking dentist, but I knew I could not live with the tooth pain for another day.

So, on April 6th, like a cavewoman with a bone in her septum, I ripped out my loose tooth.

The extraction was painful, yes, and bloody yes, and sweaty, yet, and probably, unsanitary, yet, but afterward, I felt an incredible amount of relief. I started another round of antibiotics and called it a win.

The morning after the extraction, I was eating papaya that was not very ripe, and the remainder of the tooth came crumbling out, well, most of it anyway. I said to myself, “All righty then!” It was like all my worst nightmares of my teeth falling out were coming true, yet I was not stressed out in the slightest.

So, that is the Broken Tooth Incident.

I have a big hole in the left side of my mouth, but its cool, it balances out the hole in the right side of my mouth… And after all, life is all about balance…

Moral of the story… Stick to smooth peanut butter and always keep superglue around.

Cabbage baby photo serves as photo buffer. Photos are backwards, but you get it. Note the sweat in photo two.


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