Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bite This

("Happy teeth, when your smiling" by Anthony Falbo)

The incisors are here! After suffering with swollen gums for the past few months, Baby Siraj finally woke up with two little jagged edges of white enamel as his official debut into the biting and chewing world.

Congratulations Siraj!

I spend a lot of time thinking about teeth. I have my own tea-stained set to clean and every once in a while, worry about grinding them which, of course, only causes me to gnarl and gnash them even more. Each morning and night, I help Ismaeel to brush his and plead with him to please stop eating the paste. And for little Siraj, I have been keeping frozen teething rings and biscuits at the ready fervently wondering when his will come.

So far, perfectly normal, right? Not quite. Something about teeth really freaks me out so these daily little moments of dental hygiene are just gateways to a casually obsessive netherworld of teeth neurosis. I am grateful that I had a cavity-free childhood but after a cleft palate repair, two teenage stints with braces, and a root canal (related not to an infected tooth but an unexplained abscess in my cheek bone) – I prefer to minimize the frequency of professional hands in my mouth. While it is not full on odontophobia, a dream about teeth breaking or falling out will haunt me for weeks. I find the idea of porcelain veneers, teeth jewelry, and custom hand-painted teeth tattoos horrifying. And don’t even get me started on knuckle dusters with three human teeth. Seriously.

I don’t really think I am alone. And even if I am, at least I can embrace my shortcomings and know I can never become a dentist. In the meantime, it is a delight to see Siraj bobbing up and down with his little twofers covered in droll.

I just pray I don’t spend the next few weeks having nightmares about my own.

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