By Matthew E. Milliken
June 19, 2016
Author’s note: Some readers may find this entry to be slightly gross due to its discussion of a bad thing that happened to one of my mouth parts. Sensitive readers, please proceed with caution. MEM
I went to the dentist last week.
I was directed to floss more, my teeth were cleaned, I was asked whether my teeth staining was due to coffee or tea (“Uh, tea,” I responded, in a trademark example of my world-renowned witty repartee), and I made an appointment to return in December. Aside from a moment when one of the cleaning implements was misdirected and made a funny noise, there was nothing alarming. (It didn’t hurt at all, but I was afraid it would, and sometimes I can be a big ol’ baby.)
The dentist did spend a moment probing at a tooth on the back of my lower left jaw. She said that that tooth’s biting surface was unusually deep due to a defect, but there wasn’t a cavity. However, I’d have to be careful about brushing that tooth so that food didn’t gather there, one of the things that leads to the formation of cavities. I wasn’t surprised to hear about this, because I feel as though I’ve spent a bunch of time prying food out of that particular part of my mouth over the past year.
Just because I had a routine dentist’s visit on Monday doesn’t mean that I managed to get through an entire week without some kind of oral health problem…
On Thursday evening, I was standing around chewing a piece of pizza when, somehow, I managed to chomp down on my tongue.
Frequently, when eating pizza, I will start consuming a slice before it’s cooled sufficiently. This burns my mouth and (obviously) is unpleasant. But biting my own tongue — that’s something that I hadn’t done in a while.
And reader, this wasn’t a gentle nibble. Nay, this was a vigorous bite. A vague coppery taste entered my mouth. At one point, I reached in there to check just where the lesion on my tongue was. To my surprise, it was near the center of my tongue, not the age, where I typically catch my tongue with my teeth. (It doesn’t happen that often, mind.)
I went to the bathroom to wash my hands — which is what one should do both before and after reaching into one’s mouth.
On a subsequent trip to the bathroom, a significant amount of time later, I spat and noticed that the saliva was bright red. That was the case still later in the evening.
How long does it normally take for a cut tongue to clot? I didn’t know. Because I’m a worrywart, I began to worry that I might bleed to death overnight. I tried to do a web search about how to treat a cut tongue, but I couldn’t find anything useful.
(Spoiler alert: Reader, I lived!)
About 99 percent of my tongue bleeding stopped overnight. But I’ve still got an ugly laceration on my protruding pink mouth part. Every so often, I’ll gaze upon it in the mirror with a sense of horror. How did I manage to do that to myself?!
At any rate, that was a bad thing that happened, but I think I’m going to live. So there’s always that.