Five days from now, I will go to my uber-talented prosthodontic clinician who will once again rebuild my much abused flipper.
What’s a flipper? A flipper is a dental prosthesis that simulates teeth that are missing. It’s used by damaged people like me and pint-sized beauty queens who are in between their baby teeth and adult teeth.
I have not been able to wear my flipper for over a month, due to a complication with the augmentation bone graft, I had done in September to restore the bone I lost when I fell. Originally, my periodontist cut my flipper back to keep it away from the graft. However, it was still cutting off the circulation to my gum. So, I had to lose it to ensure the best possible result.
I have mixed feelings about wearing it again. Physically, I am more comfortable without it. It tastes like plastic. It presses against my gum and hard palate all day. It makes me gag. It make me cough. It makes me angry. It reminds me to hold the handrail on stairs. Emotionally though, it makes me feel safe. It makes me feel like maybe people will think I just have adult braces. It makes me feel less… vulnerable. I don’t like to feel vulnerable.
I keep my top lip pulled down when talking to people. When I laugh or even smile, my hand flies up to cover the gap left behind by my two missing front teeth. I’ve realized since this has happened that a toothy grin can compensate for more than just physical insecurities though. When you can’t flash a smile, tilt your head and toss your hair, your personality flaws become glaringly obvious. When it comes to conversation, I’m not an artist.
I think, perhaps, writers are writers because it gives us a chance to express what we would have liked to have said in any given moment, if only we could have thought of it at the time. If only…
I am determined to learn from this experience and be better for having gone through it. I don’t know exactly what that looks like yet. Habits form over decades; not all at once. Change doesn’t happen all at once. I hope that by the time this is all over that I can look back and see that I have taken one step at a time in the right direction.
Love and Many blessings to All,