I have crazy teeth. Because of this, you won’t often see me smiling with an open mouth in photographs. When I was in high school, the dentist recommended I wear braces. My parents were on board, but I would have had to have my four wisdom teeth pulled out first. I was not ok with that.
Now that I’m an adult and my wisdom teeth have fought their way in, trying to claim their own territory in my head, my bottom teeth are… fucked. Multiple dentists and one oral surgeon have all told me the same thing: my wisdom teeth need to go.
But here’s the thing:
I’ve never even had a cavity. So the thought of being put under and having four teeth cut out of my head just doesn’t seem like something I could get through. Add the humiliating youtube post-op videos I’ve watched, and the fact that I wouldn’t have anyone to bring me milkshakes and cry to afterwards, and it seems completely impossible. Yes, I’m a tough chick… but this isn’t something I would like to face on my own.
So I’ve told this to a few people, including the two women closest to me. Surprisingly, they both had the same response.
“We’re not kids anymore, Ali. Stop being scared.”
Hi, yes, I’m aware. The grey in my hair was my first indication of this. So what’s the point? Because I’m 30, I’m not allowed to have a deep rooted fear of oral surgery? I shouldn’t want someone by my side? I get it. I understand that putting this surgery off and dealing with occasional infections and crooked teeth could be seen as a tad juvenile… but I’m only putting it off out of fear. There are people who refuse to go to a restaurant alone; I don’t think it’s too unreasonable to refuse to go through surgery by myself.
Are we supposed to grow out of our fears? When we enter into the land of adulthood, do we magically face everything head-on with no hesitation? I sure as hell don’t, and I’ve yet to meet anyone who does. Fears are valid, when you’re five and when you’re 50. It’s ok to not be ready, and it’s ok to want someone to hold your hand, and it’s ok to send the oral surgeon’s office to voicemail when they’re calling to schedule an appointment. So I’m waiting… and I promise that doesn’t make me a kid. Now I only wish I could embrace my crooked teeth as well as I embrace my fears.