tooth techtonics


with faultlines and slippage and cracks in the crust,
our toothscapes erode and degrade–for they must.

When Piestewa Peak was Squaw Peak, the footstrikes of thousands of hikers accelerated the erosion of the mountain, especially at the base. When this became a safety issue, concrete was poured over the eroded ground in certain places. It was analogous to a dentist putting fillings in a tooth.

My own toothscape includes gullies where four extracted wisdom teeth once resided, a years-in-the-making buildup of plaque that is disgustingly visible in the front lower teeth, and the shattering and/or calving of three broken teeth. My investment in tooth care has been restricted since 2006 to dental floss, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and toothpicks, incorporated into a rigorous schedule of personal oral hygiene. I don’t eat anything harder than a crisp apple, and  I must always chew carefully, and mostly on the right side.

“Get thee to a dentistry–go!” you say? “No thanks,” I reply. I know a good-souled woman whose tooth-investment since 2006 is in the tens of thousands of dollars, and issue after issue with her much-tinkered-with mouth has come up. And my long-suffering, breathtakingly-brave younger brother Brian has had not a tooth in his head for years.

I will see a dentist, probably within the year. But not now and not soon. My toothscape helps me take nothing for granted.


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