I had to go back to the dentist yesterday.
I could have just not told you. After all, I don’t write about everything I do. But after my post last Wednesday about how much better my mouth felt — and it did feel a little better for a couple of days — I just couldn’t leave you there, thinking that every minor adjustment you make might solve your problems.
Sometimes, another minor adjustment is needed.
It was my tongue that figured it out. My tongue that’s always moving, always feeling the roof of my mouth, always rubbing itself along the gum line, always finding that one place in my mouth that feels different. The tongue knows what the tongue knows. Period.
“I think I know the problem this time,” I announced, when I first entered the office. “I found it with my tongue; something doesn’t feel right here and here,” I said, pointing with my tongue, and then reiterating with my finger as my dentist stood there over me.
When he still couldn’t see what my tongue felt, he brought me a mirror so I could try to be more specific. I thought I saw what I felt, so I pointed again to a teeny tiny area of tooth that was different, one on each side. 
“Oh, that’s different than what I saw,” the dentist said. “But the tongue can find the tiniest thing.”
He drilled a little here and there, and then he stopped and said, “Feel it now.” I ran my tongue around my mouth, and announced, “Nope, not quite.” He drilled more, and finally I announced, “The right feels good, but still the left.” Eventually, I said the words he wanted to hear for weeks. “I think you got it.” 
“I’m just taking off the tiniest slivers. It’s amazing that it makes a difference,” he said, though I think he believed me when I told him I still had to take Advil every time I eat.
It’s been 24 hours now, and when I ate a chicken sandwich for lunch, there was no deep aching in my jaw. Maybe we really got it this time.
But I won’t be surprised if I have to go back.
Photo by Elsie esq. from Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.