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For My Birthday, I Had a Front Tooth Pulled

(gappy birthday?)

For My Birthday, I Had a Front Tooth Pulled

My second left incisor got snapped off in a nasty bicycle crash my junior year in college and had to be root-canaled. The dentist jury-rigged a "temporary" composite crown. That was almost eighteen years ago now.

Although I had all mercury fillings removed years ago, the root canal was a sleeping-giant issue I wasn't ready to address until recently. But with all the healing work that I've been undergoing lately, and with the increasing clarity that I'm undergoing healing in order to be a channel to provide healing, the little twinges in that tooth here and there caught my attention. Time for it to go. 

And yes, this didn't mean time to replace the "temporary" crown with a "proper" one; it meant time for the whole dead, nerveless tooth to be discarded from my body. It's typically claimed that root canals stop infection, seal the socket of the dead tooth's nerve, and leave a cosmetically intact smile with no harm done by leaving in the dead tooth.

But there are also many stories and testimonials of people with persistent health challenges that were remediated when a root-canal tooth was removed. This could be due in part to persistent localized infection. But each tooth in the mouth also correpsonds to/affects/is affected by the body's energy meridians (see here for an interactive chart).

This isn't a one-to-one correspondence: each tooth may connect to two or more, and there are more individual teeth in the mouth than there are meridians through the body, so a given meridian will map to several teeth. But influence has been shown.

The associated organs for my root-canal tooth were bladder and kidney, and given all the issues I've had with kidney failure and weakness, and edema, this seemed worth considering, at least (although on a skeptical note, just about any organ the tooth could have been associated with probably needs work!)

Even aside from this energetic connectedness, I think we often forget that teeth are living tissue, not inert rocks. They absorb like sponges, and they have their own blood supply. Except if they're a root canal, at which point they have no blood supply, so that if they contain bacteria or infection, no white blood cells are coming to deal with it, but they are still permeable.

Just the word "canal" makes me think "reservoir." Infection was probably there to begin with if the tooth was root-canaled; it's now sealed in with no blood supply; and it's not really sealed because the tooth's own structure is not tight like that.

The wonderful dentist I went to got my tooth out in one piece, without breaking anything off the fragile part of the skull (the maxilla) to which the teeth are attached, even though the tooth had a hook that made it recalcitrant. She was patient and slow, and so demonstrated to me that in addition to being porous, teeth are far more flexible than I'd ever realized. She bent it this way and that way, this way  and that way...

I had prepared myself for a sudden crunching crack  in the opposite direction, like what sometimes happens on a chiropractor's table, but there was nothing sudden or abrupt, just a gradual persuading of the tooth into increased range of movement, until it twisted right on out.

And honest to goodness, even though I could feel the lidocaine in my veins, how it lowers my intuition and saps my energy, the moment that tooth detached from my head I felt a difference in my brain. A subtle release of pressure, an opening, a clarity. That clarity, whether it's new or regained, is a flower that continues to unfold.

Today is the third day post-extraction, and I'm still paying attention to the changes. For the first day and a half I had very little pain, even after the anesthetic wore off, but  yesterday afternoon and today have been more painful. I remember this pattern from breaking bones in the past: the first couple days the shock is an anesthetic of its own, from day three it can be preoccupying for a couple days or so; by about a week in, the brunt of the pain has passed.

And when the pain isn't distracting, I'll know more.

Clarity may continue to build, as may some detox symptoms. That old tooth had visible infections on it, and if they're visible to the naked eye they were significant. No wonder I felt different. I've talked slightly out of the right side of my mouth for years, perhaps starting around the time of that root canal. Be interesting to see if I begin talking from the middle of my face (which you'd think would connote more integrity/integration).

Other considerations: yes, I'm not as worried about how I look as the average girl. But yes, I am still walking around with a gap where a front tooth should be. People who come to the clinic understand, and at the grocery store contacts are brief.  I have those thick monkey lips, so it doesn't show too much except if I laugh big.

But aesthetics aside, I hadn't realized the extent to which each individual tooth is holding the lips in position. My lip wants to collapse into that gap and ooze through against my gum, rather than staying taut and aligned--just that small gap and it can't hold itself out.

Labial fricatives (/f/, /v/) are a little challenging to pronounce like this--although I've been talking out the right side of my mouth, I discover that when I pronounce those sounds I'm actually expelling a little more air on the left than the right. So I'm making myself say "f f" "v v" practicing focus on the right side, because I really don't like the flabby raspberry-blowing effect when too much air burbles through the new gap.

So, another way I let go parts of myself to become more whole, cast out debris to become more alive. Bending with the remover to remove, and minding the gap!

About the Author

Ela Harrison

Ela is a wordsmith and herb lover who has lived in many places and currently resides in Tucson, AZ.

Comments (2)

  • Felt Family Dentistry

    Felt Family Dentistry

    10 August 2016 at 02:36 | #

    What a brave act! If it really hurts you, pulling it out is the best solution. It can be a little scary, but if you managed to overcome the fear, you will surely be happy at the end.


    • Ela


      22 December 2016 at 21:53 | #

      Thank you! It actually hurt a whole lot more after extraction than beforehand, and I'm still waiting to realize the solution, but I definitely believe that it was the right thing to do to remove an old root canal :)


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