Friday, August 22, 2014


This has been the summer of my mouth. The summer I turned ten was the summer of camping because we went every weekend. The first summer Nathan and I were dating was the summer of Moscow because I spent all my time there. But this year, summer has been all about the inside of my mouth. Specifically my tooth number ten.

When I was little and my mouth was still growing, I lost my baby tooth number ten and then eventually the one behind it. And when my adult teeth grew in, the one behind my number ten absolved almost all of the root that was holding Number Ten inside my mouth and shoved it out of the way.

When I was 13 I got braces to correct my smile line and we brought the unrooted number ten back to its rightful place in line with my other pearly whites. My orthodontist said at the time that I'd eventually have to have a false tooth put in Ten's place once I was older but that we needed to keep my real tooth in my mouth as long as we could.

We held Ten in my mouth with a wired permanent retainer which was its own barrel of fun for ten years. I couldn't eat corn on the cob or apples whole. I wasn't supposed to eat ribs off the bone, you know, all the fun foods. And I mostly obeyed those laws most of the time.

Recently I'd noticed my little number ten had become more mobile and also that he (she?) would complain if I ate or drank something too hot or too cold. And I knew it was time to evict my poor little rootless Ten.

I had a consultation with an oral surgeon a month ago and he partnered with my dentist to get me all set up. I had X-rays and scans done and I got four cavities filled before I actually had the implant surgery the morning of Tuesday, August 19th.

That was the last day that Ten and I were together.

They sent me home with a pink silicone bandage around my gum where my tooth had been. And then Nathan bought me a huckleberry milkshake and made sure I was still breathing while I slept for something like five hours on the couch after I got home. And then I drunk dialed Joel which I only vaguely remember doing.

The dentist hooked me up with a flipper (a retainer with a false tooth on it) while we are waiting for my implant post to heal. In four months I can have a crown put in and then my smile will be fixed for good.

It sounds so silly, but until I got the flipper fixed I felt like I was probably the epitome of ugly. I had left over fever blister dry skin patch by the corner of my mouth, a couple stress induced pimples on my chin, and I was missing a tooth. To me, I looked like a hillbilly. To everyone else, apparently, I just looked like a six year old who's body was just too big. Think of it kind of like the movie Jack with Robin Williams.

I still feel a little weird with the flipper. It's difficult to eat with it in and when I talk I sound as if I'm hearing impaired. Several customers last night at work made sure to look directly at me and enunciate all of their words clearly while speaking to me. I joked that I should sign when I'm talking and just really sell it.

In order to further illustrate how my enunciation has changed, I just spent the last hour and half trying to film a stupid little video for you guys. It probably took me 100 takes and I still think I ramble too much and honestly, I'm not sure if I say anything really important but whatever. I also changed my outfit three times before I settled on this final video that I'm still not sure I'm happy with. But at least you get to hear me talk, so that's something?

Videos are dumb, but enjoy it anyway ;)


  1. Congrats on biting the bullet (heh, tooth pun...) and getting this done! I probably would have procrastinated for like a whole year after my tooth started hurting XD

    Also, can I just say how relieved I am that I imagined your voice correctly? It's always so disconcerting to hear someone's voice after only ever SEEING them. I almost didn't watch the video because I was afraid I might be totally disillusioned and it'd be weird. But nope :D

    I hope you have no problems adjusting to the flipper, and that getting your crown goes smoothly when the time comes :)


    1. HAHA! i'm so glad you imagined my voice right! i always think it's interesting that we read what people write and imagine them speaking it, but it's still our own voice in our heads and then when we actually hear them talk it's almost a little surreal.

      and thanks! i think everything will go really smoothly, it's just a waiting game now while everything heals :)

      (also, i probably would have procrastinated but for insurance coverage reasons, sooner was cheaper. being a responsible adult and everything...amiright?)

  2. Natalie, I'm laughing my teeth off! Yes, you sound hearing impaired, and yes you should go all the way and use sign language! After discovering your blog via typography, I have checked out your latest work and I'm just really impressed. You tap into every area of art -- typography, photography, and my favorite art form (besides graphic design), watercolors. That to me requires the most mastery. (BTW, reproducing watercolors via giclee renders prints you can't tell from the original, because the process of watery ink on absorbent paper is the same.) I'm glad to see you have not totally embraced the computer (as I have, sadly) for your art; you are too talented for that. Speaking of talent, you are also a superb writer. I have been thoroughly entertained. And educated, as I am missing my #10 as well, and now know how I'll be talking when I get my implant.


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