That Time My Tooth Fell Out

photo-6I tend to have recurring dreams, with many of the same themes cycling through my brain, night after night.

There’s the one where I’m packing a suitcase or boarding an airplane. I always seem to be taking off and never landing.

There’s another one where I’m driving to a city — along loopy highways — or taking a subway or walking along city streets and sometimes going into a building and getting on an elevator. You always know there’s going to be trouble when you step into an elevator in one of my dreams.

And sometimes I’m back in college, and more specifically, about to take a test I forgot to study for.

Often, I’ve had dreams about losing a tooth or two. A few weeks ago I dreamt I was in my bathroom rinsing my mouth out and felt something rattling around inside. I opened my mouth and my teeth fell into my cupped palm, crumbled bits and pieces that were almost sparkly, like diamonds. And I clearly remember the panic I felt having just had teeth literally pour out of my mouth and could actually feel the smoothness of the gum along my jawbone from which they slipped.

It was one of those dreams where I had to remind myself it was just a dream. I even remember becoming conscious enough to poke around inside my mouth with my tongue to ensure all my teeth were still there. And I remember the relief I felt to find them all intact.

So imagine my dismay last night when, after settling in to watching a movie with my daughter and biting into a piece of frozen chocolate, I felt something rattling around inside my mouth and spit a molar into my hand.

And if you think I was in a panic to find myself holding my own tooth, you should have seen the look on my 16 year old’s face when it registered what had just happened on the couch next to her.

“I feel like I should do something,” she shouted after I turned towards her with one hand covering my mouth and the other holding  the molar on my outstretched palm. “Are you bleeding? Do you need a towel?”

“Tell me if it looks bad,” I said and then lowered my hand and smiled.

“WHAT???!!!” she shrieked, and fell backwards onto the couch, laughing hysterically at the gap in my smile. “Your legit tooth fell out,” she blurted, her big blue eyes bulging at the sight of her mother’s jack-o-lantern grin.

The joke here is that I had put the chocolate – usually chewy morsels of caramel covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with bits of sea salt given to me by my daughter for Valentine’s Day – in the freezer in an effort to slow down its consumption. My strategy was that it would take so long to gnaw through one piece – and I’d enjoy it so thoroughly – that a second would not be required.

Proving once again my complete lack of self awareness

My daughter, who’s been sick the last few days, and I had gotten takeout for dinner and were just settling in to spend the snowy Saturday night on our couch watching the totally adorable “About Time” with Rachel McAdams and her time traveling British love, which was possibly even sweeter than the dangerous chocolates I pulled out of the freezer. We each ate one and then I fetched two more and set one down next to each of us. I gave mine exactly 30 seconds to thaw and then gnawed some of the chocolate off the edge with the left side of my mouth.

And it was almost if those magical little bits of sea salt had made their way under a molar and popped the crown off its little nub base and sent it swirling into the abyss of my mouth, like Sandra Bullock spinning out of control in “Gravity,” except (SPOILER ALERT) without the happy ending.

After we got over the horror of what had just happened, my daughter and I proceeded to take pictures of me cackling and the gap in my smile, which we Snapchatted and texted to her siblings.

She even drew a big red circle around the gap and wrote, “Her tooth fell out … ,” which was really funny and I considered sharing the photo here until I realized that I actually do have boundaries when it comes to making myself look bad. This is, after all, the Internet and while I long for one of my blog posts to go viral, wouldn’t it be just my luck that it would be of a photo of me with a missing tooth?

(Cheetah-covered onesies are one thing but looking like I just blew in from my shack in the Ozarks is quite another.)

So I’m planning on lying low until my dentist gets around to calling me back to tell me when he can glue the thing back in. I’m supposed to take my son to a basketball game at a local university with other folks from town but don’t know if my ego will let me go through with it.

I definitely know my ego won’t let me go on the date I’m supposed to go on Monday night. All the personality in the world couldn’t cover up a potential love interest’s missing tooth.

I got into a bit of an online argument with my older daughter yesterday when she got annoyed with the pep talk I was giving her.

“You hold the key to everything,” I wrote in our increasingly snippy Facebook conversation. “It’s all about your attitude.”

“Shhhhh,” she wrote back.

When I Googled “losing tooth dream,” I found this interpretation: “This teeth dream theme is closely related to the idea of things falling apart, both literally and symbolically.”

Dreaming about the loss of teeth mostly symbolizes the loss of some type of control — over people or aging, all that kind of stuff. I think that’s spot on because as much as we try, we just can’t control most things in our lives. Things will break and fall apart – marriages, jobs, cars — and it’s how we respond that really forms the basis for how we live our lives. It’s really all about attitude.

In the meantime, I tried to leverage my tooth loss as a means for getting my daughter to make me breakfast this morning. We were lying on my bed together laughing about the whole tooth thing and I asked if she would go downstairs and make me something to eat.

“You and your ratchet ass missing tooth can go downstairs and make your own breakfast,” she said, trying to feel the gap in my mouth through my cheek with her finger.

And out of all the things in my life, I should know by now that teenagers were the most impossible to control.