The Tale of a Tooth

Solveiga Smith
Written by Solveiga Smith

Lessons in Letting Go & Renewal

A couple of months ago, a tooth broke—half-broken, just broke. The dentist’s prognosis was grim: the damage was severe, the hole reaching deep into the gums. “Probably nothing good will happen,” they said. At that moment, it didn’t hurt. Yet, against intuition and expert advice, I chose to cling to hope, to attempt the impossible task of saving a tooth that should have never been.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

For days, the pain remained dormant, but when it awakened, it was unlike any agony I had known. Climbing walls, metaphorically and literally, I found myself in a realm of excruciation. Returning to the dentist’s chair, I uttered the words I never thought I would…

“Pull it out, I can’t do it anymore.”

The response reminded me of my folly: “I can’t. The infection is too strong. You need to heal… or rather, I told you it would be like this. Now suffer.”

In this moment of dental despair, a profound truth emerged that extends beyond dentistry and into the fabric of human existence.

How often do we grasp what is outdated, broken, or irreparable, refusing to relinquish our grip until it is too late?

How frequently do we gaze upon old clothes that no longer fit, yet hesitate to discard them, harbouring a sense of regret for the changes in our bodies?

How frequently do we seek excuses and justifications for behaviours, both our own and others, knowing deep down that they serve no purpose?

The answer is all too often. We clutch onto possessions, relationships, jobs, and emotions with a fervour bordering on desperation. Even when they cause us pain, we justify our actions, clinging to the hope that things will change – that perhaps they will understand, listen, show up, or give. But in our relentless pursuit of preservation, we fail to recognise the toll it exacts – the pain, the negative emotions, the stagnation.

Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

There comes a moment when the only viable option is to let go, to uproot that which no longer serves us. Whether it be a decaying tooth, a pair of jeans that no longer fit, or a relationship that corrodes our spirit, not everything is worthy of repair, protection, or preservation. Sometimes, the most courageous act is to release our grasp, embrace the discomfort of uncertainty, and trust in the possibility of renewal.

Ultimately, the tooth serves as a poignant reminder – a symbol of the cost of clinging to what should have been released.

Let us learn from its story, recognising that true liberation lies not in holding on but in having the courage to let go.

Main – Photo by Rodolfo Clix