I’m not the greatest when it comes to dental hygiene. Growing up I often went to bed without brushing my teeth (gross, I know). I rarely flossed and that hasn’t changed much since. I never learned my lesson as a kid, though, because I didn’t get a cavity until well into my 20s. Since my checkups were fine, I thought that I everything I was doing was okay.
The shape of my teeth were not that good either. I sucked my thumb (for a lot longer than I’m willing to admit) so I had a horrible over-bite. My bottom front teeth also leaned forward and my whole mouth had more teeth than it could hold. The overcrowding was the most obvious in the front where one tooth overlapped another. Thankfully, Mom and Dad got me braces. First, though, a few teeth had to be removed to give the other teeth room to move. My wisdom teeth were the pick of the crop and promptly got removed. I didn’t just have 4 wisdom teeth like most people, though. I had a fifth one. It was tiny and tucked up in my upper left side of my mouth. The dentist who removed my wisdom teeth called it a supernumerary. When the procedure was finished, they gave me my five teeth in a little case to take home. The fifth tooth was about half the size of the others and it was fascinating to me.
Within a month of getting the braces my front teeth stood neatly side by side. It took another two and a half years to get everything else straightened out. When the braces finally came off, I had a smile that I wasn’t embarrassed about. Shortly afterward, I went to the dentist and he did a full set of x-rays. Everything looked good…even the two extra teeth in the roof of my mouth. That’s right. I had not one, not two, but three extra teeth in my mouth before my oral surgery. The supernumerary wisdom tooth is gone but the other two remain to this day because they have not grown in nor are they affecting any of the other teeth.
When I find myself having to do one of those “tell us something about yourself” introductions to a large group, I tell them about my three extra teeth. I did this my freshman year at college when the English department had a little get together. I got a good laugh. Then one of the upperclassmen, who later became a friend, started his introduction with, “Well, I have not extra appendages, but…” I do and they’re super!