Content Warning: Body Horror
Special thanks to Doug Haworth for editing
I could feel it. I didn’t know what it was, but I could still feel it. A pressure building just below the surface in the back of my mouth. It seemed to be right under my gums. It wasn’t painful, but it was enough that I knew it was there. I knew that I wanted it gone.
I made my way to the bathroom and opened my mouth to try to get a look. I opened as widely as I could and leaned over; it was pretty far back, whatever the pressure was. I hooked my finger in my mouth to get even more of my teeth and gum into view. I couldn’t find anything, but I was going to keep trying. I was practically crawling on the sink to find it, to get as close as I could.
I could feel and see myself poking at my gums, but I couldn’t see it. There was nothing. I sighed and stared at myself, confused and annoyed. I brushed my teeth and simply went to bed. Maybe I had imagined it in the first place, and then all my digging around was making me “feel” something that had never been there.
But the next morning, it was worse.
I spent more time in the bathroom, trying desperately to see what might be there. I poked, dug, and prodded. I kept brushing my teeth and in between times, digging around with my fingers. This time there was no practically about it. I was on my sink to get closer. I knew there was something, something I could not see – but I still knew it.
Each day I could feel it growing more and more… that damn pressure. I would spend hours each day in front of the mirror, searching. It was all I could focus on.
A few days after the pressure started, I couldn’t move my bottom jaw correctly. It almost felt as though my bottom teeth would occasionally stick to the top. What was happening to me?
Once again, I looked in the mirror, but this time… this time there was something.
It was far enough back that I knew getting to it would be a struggle, but damn it all, it would be worth it if I could finally alleviate the pressure. I poked my gum a little to get an idea of what was happening, and I was overwhelmed by pain. Honestly, I was relieved; something was wrong, something was there, I wasn’t going mad.
I started to pick at it with my fingers, just a little. It wouldn’t work. A toothpick, maybe a toothpick, would help me. I slowly dug into my gum, it hurt, but it only confirmed more that there was something and that this would work. It had to.
I went to bed that night in pain and annoyance. I still carried a little happiness over discovering something and hoping that I would be able to end this.
The next day was much worse. My gums were sore from the prodding and I could barely open my mouth. Whatever it was it had to be the cause of my teeth sticking together. My mouth hurt and my anxiety was starting to get to me. I feared what I was going to try next, but something had to be done.
I found the sharpest, thinnest blade I had. Before I could begin, my hands were shaking, and there were tears in my eyes. For the first few attempts, I couldn’t even force my hands to get close to my mouth. I took a few shots of vodka and started to calm a little. It would probably make the pain worse in the long run, but I needed the false courage.
The cut was small, and I screamed and dropped the blade.
I couldn’t do this.
I tried to ignore the pain the rest of the day, tried to think of anything else. My mouth kept seeping blood throughout, and the pressure was now accompanied by a throbbing ache. I don’t know what I had been thinking.
Ignoring it worked and eventually the pain from the cut itself was gone, but the pressure only worsened. Each night was a battle to fall asleep, and each morning brought more.
It was hard for me to admit it, but I needed to go back to my other plan. Once again, my hand was shaking as I grabbed the blade. Once again, I needed shots to even start. Once again, that first cut brought extreme pain. This time, I didn’t stop. I went a little deeper and got in a little more in the area right by my last tooth.
I spat some blood and started to psych myself up, then grabbed some tweezers. Digging around was more painful than the cut had been. It didn’t take me long to admit defeat and cry myself to sleep.
It was not even fully morning when I woke up again. More shots. More cutting. More digging. More pain.
Then finally –
I pulled on something. It hurt and I was bleeding heavily again, but damn it all if I couldn’t feel the pressure easing a bit.
I kept pulling. It was something long and white and felt sticky to the touch. It made me think that some of it must have already gotten out. Maybe that was why my mouth was not opening properly. When the first chunk came out and fell into the sink, I was disappointed. I could still feel the pressure. I knew I would have to keep going.
The next time I was in the bathroom, I found myself sawing between some of my teeth with the blade. I wanted to get as much of that part out of the way at once as I could. When I finally started to dig again I realized this was going to take a while. Still, piece by piece, I went.
Some of the chunks were longer, and it was less painful to get them. Sometimes I would have to stop between to cut into my gums more. The blade was starting to dull, and I kept having to stop to drink more, which, of course, caused more pain. Still, real progress was being made.
I could hear the drip as blood would pour out of my mouth and hit the sink. There was also the tinks of whatever I was pulling out as it followed suit. It was painful, agonizing, but the pressure – it was receding little by little.
When I was done moving from one side of my lower jaw to the other, I was bloody, exhausted, and in pain, but I could still feel a sense of satisfaction. I decided I needed to finish now, not take another break. I might not be able to finish if I stopped. Once I was done, the pain would pass, and I would be back to normal.
A few more tears, painful shots, then I started over at the top. Cutting, digging, ripping, sawing, pulling, screaming, crying, tinks, and drips – it all started again but slowly yet surely, I was finishing.
One final scream, and it was gone. This long white thing that had gotten into my gums and caused this pain and pressure.
I looked at the wreckage of my bathroom; the blood, the build-up up of white chunks, and then finally sighed.
I allowed myself a slow, toothless grin.