Posts Tagged ‘obsession with teeth’

I have more ritual abuse memories coming, and I am not looking forward to them. However, I know that they are a necessary part of my healing, so I will deal with them as they surface.

One might be the memory that explains my obsession with my teeth. Both my sister and I have this obsession. I have always loved going to the dentist. I own my own dental tools for scraping away tartar between visits to the dentist. I brush my teeth a minimum of five times day – so much so that I have caused myself gum damage.

I have been experiencing body memories for a few days now regarding my teeth. It feels like my teeth are being sunk into something that is softer than flesh but much more solid than a liquid. The closest I can describe is the fluoride treatments that were used back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s – that gooey plaster-feeling substance. I can feel that on my teeth – both the top and bottom teeth. That memory will probably explain why I found fluoride treatments to be so triggering when I was in high school and college, although back then I didn’t know what “triggering” was.

I also suspect that I will be recovering the memory that explains why splinters are so triggering to me. Splinters have always been triggering to me. As a young child, my son knew that mommy cannot remove a splinter. The family rule has always been that, if it isn’t bother you too badly, wait until Dad gets home to remove the splinter. If it is really bothering you, I will take you to the doctor now. So, I would meet my kid’s needs, but I absolutely, positively could not do it myself. I know this is not “normal.”

My kid had a friend spend the night last weekend who got a splinter in my watch. My husband was out watching a ballgame with his father, so he wasn’t around to help. My kid actually helped his friend get the splinter out. They would describe what the splinter looked like, and I got very triggered – very dizzy like I was going to pass out – and I could feel sheer terror in my thighs. (My yoga instructor says that we hold our fear in our thighs.) I am sure that memory is going to be a doozy.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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After reading the comments on my blog entry entitled Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Hoarding, I realized just how common it is for child abuse survivors to hoard pens. In light of this, I would like to hear from my readers if there is also a common obsession with teeth.

I have been obsessed with my teeth throughout my life. I would freak out whenever I had a loose tooth because I feared that there were no adult teeth underneath to replace it. I have had recurring nightmares throughout my life about my teeth falling out or growing too large for me to shut my mouth.

I brush my teeth a minimum of five times a day: When I wake up, after each meal, and before I go to bed. I will also brush after any snack or if I will be interacting with another person.

I actually own my own dental tools. I cannot stand to have tartar build up and have to wait six months to see the dentist for a cleaning. I have one particular area that builds up tartar quickly (inside of my bottom front teeth), so I scrape that regularly with my own tools. As a result of my obsession with my teeth, in combination with grinding my teeth, my gums have receded, so I have to brush with toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Is anyone else obsessed with their teeth like this? My sister is. She got an infection in the roots of one of her teeth and had to have the tooth pulled. (She could not afford a root canal.) She couldn’t bring herself to do it until the entire side of her face got infected. The dentist pointed out that failing to remove the tooth (or pay for a root canal) could kill her. Only then did she have the tooth pulled, and she was completely wigged out by its removal (well beyond a typical reaction to having a tooth pulled).

Is it just us? Did something in our abuse cause us to obsess over our teeth? Or is this a common phenomenon among child abuse survivors? I would love to hear from anyone else who is as obsessed with his or her teeth as I am.

Photo credit: Faith Allen

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