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Missing teeth

Brandon Keelean | Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Note: If you still believe in Santa or the tooth fairy, do not read this article.
I am genetically missing 12 teeth from my mouth. Things this could mean in the future: I may need dentures, I may only be able to eat apple sauce, I might have trouble pronouncing words and I may look utterly ridiculous in photographs for a little while.
I should clarify, I have a full set of teeth, but many of the pearly whites in my mouth are still baby teeth. There are only 10 of them still left though, because when my lower incisors came in they took out two teeth each.
I always use my genetic deformity as my fun fact in introductions, and I always get questions about how it is possible to be missing so many teeth.
Sometimes I tell people I left them behind in the womb, which is somewhat based in reality. My brother had an extra set of his upper incisors.
Here is the full story. I was in first grade when I lost my first tooth in Mrs. Lubben’s class. I bit into an apple and out popped the tooth I had been working on for a week. The second one came later that day.
I, like many six-year-olds, proceeded to tell my parents and placed the teeth under my pillow in a plastic bag before I went to bed. When I woke up in the morning there was a dollar under my pillow instead.
This continued for another year as I continued to lose eight more teeth, but then it stopped. At 10 missing, my teeth losing days were done.
At the age of seven, a series of comprehensive x-rays showed I was without 12 of the adult teeth I would normally have.
It turns out I am genetically predisposed to missing teeth. My maternal grandmother and my aunt on my dad’s side are each missing one tooth.
My life was changed. Sort of.
Really, nothing happened. My teeth just look smaller than most people’s. But seven-year-old me was very upset about the lost income from the tooth fairy.
I wrote notes to the tooth fairy once a month for a year. I very clearly explained the unique situation my genetic makeup had put me in and asked for compensation. I thought I was being so intelligent that the tooth fairy would have to honor my request. After all, I had maintained 10 baby teeth and kept each free from cavities when most of my classmates were riddled with teeth maladies.
One thing I forgot: tell my parents. I still naively believed in the tooth fairy. Somehow at the age of seven I realized Santa was fake, but the tooth fairy still seemed like a realistic possibility.
I was a little upset and still am. The tooth fairy owes me five bucks. Hear that, mom?