What a nightmare
It was not the most fun having braces, but I wasn't as embarrassed as would have thought. I tried this new fast version that did the job in only a year by using wires bent by a machine with high pressure, and then they get shipped to the orthodontist who installs them, and when heated up (by 98.6 degrees in the mouth), they shift from their cold shape of the-teeth-that-were into their warm shape of the-way-the-teeth-will-be. After going through 3 different versions of those wires, I was done and moved on to a retainer.
Thinking that I would be so much more responsible with frequency of retainer use since I had paid for everything myself was a mistake. I would almost say hubris, but I wasn't quite so young anymore so I should have been a bit past that. I've been horrible about wearing my retainer, but last week I decided to give it a go again. I started putting it in at night again, and boy, does it not fit. I've been wearing it anyway, hoping it will gradually resolve the shape over time and begin to fit again. I push it into place to the point of mild pain, but not to the point where it hurts so much I can't fall asleep. But it has woken me up several times at 2 or 3 in the morning (yes, me!! waking up in the middle of the night!! control your shock...), so uncomfortable that I take it out and stumble back to bed. Since I've been wearing it again, I've been a little concerned about causing my teeth to shift and become loose since I'm applying extra pressure in the night and then giving them no support during the day when I'm not wearing the retainer.
On Sunday I was visiting in Minnesota at my parents' place and spent a quiet afternoon reading a book about a frontier girl. It was almost time to get ready for everyone to leave for church for the evening service, and I felt one of my teeth wiggle. It was on the bottom right side of my mouth, the last small tooth before they change to molars. It was that kind of wiggle I remembered as a kid, when my baby teeth were falling out...the kind where it's really loose and if you even try to clench your teeth together your tongue has to help the loose tooth to stay in the correct position instead of flopping too far in or out, but it also is too loose vertically and slightly hurts when it gets pressed down back into its space...the kind of loose where it's practically ready to fall out on its own and you might as well just pull it.
I was petrified. I was trying to be responsible with wearing my retainer again, not cause a whole additional set of problems and make a tooth fall out!! I tried not to touch it with my tongue, hoping it would just stay in place and maybe I wouldn't eat for a month and it would solidify back in it's spot again (except I immediately knew THAT wasn't realistic, since it's hard enough not to eat for an afternoon). But I find that when I'm nervous or aware of something in my mouth, my saliva glands become aware of it too, and go into overdrive. And trying to swallow then required suction to get all the saliva away, and suction created pressure on the loose tooth, and ... BAM... it was out and floating in my mouth.
Petrified turned to panic, plus it was time to leave for church. I didn't tell anyone about my tooth because it was kind of my fault for having not worn the retainer for 6 months and then trying to force it back into commission again. I had everyone leave on their own and said I would take the last car. Meanwhile, I dug through my suitcase and purse looking for my medical information and phone numbers to call to ask what I should do about a tooth that fell out. Questions raced through my head--can the tooth be reattached or reinserted somehow? Is a tooth alive and needing to be placed on ice to keep some sort of marrow preserved or something? If all my medical/dental/orthodontic connections are in Florida, who do I even call while in Minnesota? Do I go to the emergency room for a lost tooth--surely, not?
Meanwhile, with one tooth gone and out of my mouth, the other teeth in the same row now had less support holding them up, and I could feel their tenuous grip slipping (or was it my tenuous grip on reality?). With additional teeth acquiring that loosey-goosey feeling, of course my panic increased! By now my entire top row of teeth was in question, and I tried to clamp down to hold them in place while I figured out what to do. Well, that was a mistake because not only could I not talk on my cell phone to find out what to do next, but it caused shooting pain up into my gums and they started to bleed.
As anyone knows, bleeding in the vicinity of the head always seems excessive, and in my mouth it was the same case. I had blood oozing from the gums around my teeth, and now my feelings of panic had to share space with being totally grossed out. And with the blood, I was now confined to the bathroom to try to contain the damage to one room with tile that could be easily wiped up later, and trying to keep all of that away from the cell phone in my left hand so it would remain dry and functional. I had a brilliant thought that I would put in my retainer to help hold my teeth in place and then instead of them being all floppy and shifty and individually scary, I would only have to concentrate on them unified in the retainer, and maybe it would hold them in place while I was getting to urgent care. Except, when I popped the retainer in, it was the last straw for my teeth. They shifted in more pain, gave up the ghost, and fell out in one unified front. At least they were all neatly arranged in the retainer so they would be easy to transport and not lose any down the drain of the sink.
Well, that would have been a nice thought except the situation freaked me out so much that I dropped the whole thing in the sink anyway, and now had to fight nausea along with the blood loss, panic, and feelings of guilt. My mouth continued to fill with blood and my floppy remaining bottom teeth, and then...
...and then I was so overwhelmed I finally woke myself up. BEFORE 8 AM ON A SATURDAY MORNING. What a nightmare! And I couldn't get back to sleep since the dream was so vivid and filled with panicky emotions, so here I am sharing it with you. Sorry for the blood!