As I was drifting off to sleep the other night, I was absently exploring a gravel-sized chunk of something that was moving freely around in my mouth. I pressed my tongue up against it and felt a smooth irregular surface – it felt like a tooth. I woke up immediately and felt around the back of my teeth with my tongue. I couldn’t feel the gap where the tooth had been and couldn’t find the metallic-tasting burst of blood that I’d expected. But my mouth felt odd – kind of numb. I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom, pressing the loose tooth up against the front of my mouth so as not to swallow it.
In the bathroom, I spit the tooth out carefully into my cupped hand. I held it out in front of me and looked, bracing myself for an ugly site. The tooth was a translucent brown-orange. I’d fallen asleep while sucking on a cough drop, and it had dissolved into a bumpy tooth-sized lump.