Corn Tooth

by Lisa on October 5, 2009

Isabelle dialed the phone. “Hello Grandma. Guess what? I lost my front tooth. Yeah… a few minutes ago…my mom…she was in back of me…she grabbed my arms and yelled for my dad to pull my tooth…yeah…he got it. There was lots of blood—but I got a chocolate milkshake.”

Uhhh…hold the phone there, kitten. That’s not exactly what happened.

It had really started days earlier when Isabelle’s upper tooth began to have the appearance of fine angora-type kitty fur on all four sides. The front fang was hanging on by nothing more than a spit-thread. I was convinced that the weight of the plaque alone would make her tooth fall out, so her her dad and I decided to let nature run its course. But after several days the only change in her smile was that the kitty fur had grown from a light summer jacket to a heavy winter coat. 620-004-5b4216b9David and I desperately wanted to respect six year old’s fear of losing her tooth, but this was simply ridiculous. We’d watched as our beautiful daughter’s smile morph from pearly white to one with a pesky frozen corn kernel teetering in the front of her mouth.

“Unhealthy. ” we said. “Pull that tooth out!” “Not now” she would calmly reply. “I will later” “When?” we’d ask. “Later”

Having already lost her two bottom teeth, it was difficult for us to understand her reluctance. Yes, we knew she didn’t like to see her own blood—and yes, we knew she was afraid of it hurting, but she couldn’t even talk for goodness sake. “No touchin’ (suck the yellow bugger back into place) da toof” she’d say. She wouldn’t brush it for fear of it falling out—or even open her mouth for us to get a closer look. Under no condition were we allowed to touch the offending enamel. If we couldn’t get a closer look or touch it, how were we going to show her the little amount of effort it was going to need to pull it?

front-toothThen one evening I made spontaneous—yet fateful—decision.

We had been sitting around the table engaged in a lively pull-your-tooth-discussion. The conversation ended with me firmly saying, “You pull it, or I pull it, or Dad pulls it. The choice is yours. You’ve got 24 hours.” I stood up from the table and started clearing it. One plate carted off to the kitchen and back to the table I went. I found myself standing right behind her. I looked at her. I looked at her dad. I looked at her sister. I can’t explain why I did what I did next, but suddenly—on impulse—I grabbed her from behind. With a giggle and a wink to David I shouted, “Pull it! Pull it!”


Before you could say Jack Russell terrier—she was bellowing, “Help me Sophia!” Simultaneously, while her lungs were fully engaged, her appendages began flying around at mach speed. Underneath the table were windmill-like legs being blown about by a hundred+ mile gust. Above the table, her hands and arms had turned into flipping, flopping, loose noodles dancing in the air—here, there and everywhere. Then there was blood. Oh no…what had I done? What had happened? I looked down and saw Mr. Corn Tooth laying sideways in her mouth. Not completely free, but there was no way he could stay in his cozy mouth-house either.

David looked at me horrified. He mouthed to me “Now what?” I hadn’t a clue. I hadn’t been really planning to pull her tooth. I had, in no way, anticipated this kind of an outcome. Our only choice: finish the job. After a quick rush to the kitchen and back, I handed David a wad of kleenex. He gently put it in her mouth “to stop the bleeding” and grabbed Mr. Corn and gave him a quick yank. Isabelle never felt a thing. She didn’t even realize her tooth was out.

missing-front-tooth1A few minutes later, and calmed by a chocolate milkshake, she began to make frequent trips to the mirror to examine the gaping hole. She smiled—turned her head the other way—then smiled again. She liked the new look. She especially liked it after we told her she could put a straw through the empty space. Cool. Now she wanted to call everyone and tell them she’d lost her tooth.

She dialed the phone. First ring—Grandma. And that’s where our stories diverge.

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