Body Modifications Gone Wrong

A drill bit wedged in my jaw. A huge chunk of cork hanging off my nipple. Body modifications that didn’t go as planned.

I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, gripping the leather arm rests, my jaw cranked open, enduring, as best I could, a root canal.

And then things went wrong.

“Uh, oh. That’s not good,” the dentist said, examining the end of his drill as he pulled it out of my mouth. 

The MISSING end of the drill.

 “ut?” I asked, drool and blood drizzling down my frozen chin onto the paper bib.

“Seems the end of the file has broke off.”


“It’s rare, but it happens. You’re the unlucky one.”

“I ‘ont ant ooh ee de unwucky one!!!!!”

He took x-rays. I craned my neck and stared at the pictures over his shoulder in disbelief.

There it was. The drill bit was lodged way down the cavity of my tooth.  

He kept digging with various tools. But it wasn’t coming out. I was sent home with a prescription for drugs and an appointment to see a specialist.

I had a hunk of metal down my tooth that I couldn’t see; I might as well get some metal in me that I could see.

Still sort of hopped up on mouth sedatives, a prescription for T3s in my fist, now seemed as good as any to go and get that nipple piercing I’d been meaning to get. 

Years of giving birth and nursing babies had put my piercing plans on hold. My tooth would be setting off the metal detectors at airports anyway. I headed over to the piercing shop to reclaim sovereignty of my nipples with a metal flag.

I sat in another leather chair as the woman clamped my nipple. I stared at the fat, gleaming needle as it went in one side and came out the other. Yeooooow.  Just because my face was numb didn’t mean I couldn’t feel this in my nipple. That was poor logic.

The irony of all this is not lost on me. The dentist trying to get one hunk of metal out; the piercer putting another piece of metal in.

The woman who pierced me explained that if I took it out, the piercing would close up in a matter of hours. She screwed the bead onto the end of the barbell and gave me some sea salt spray. When I got home I sprayed the shit out of my throbbing jaw and nipple, and popped a T3. I was good to go.

A few days later, with all my new hardware installed, we headed off on vacation to a remote cabin in Northwestern Ontario.

Two days into the vacation I stepped out of the shower and saw that one of the beads had fallen off the end of barbell; a bead on either end was necessary to hold the piercing in place. I crawled around the floor looking for it, but I was pretty sure it had gone swimming down the drain.

Great, now what? This thing is going to fall out and close up. The metal that I don’t want in my tooth is still there, and the metal that I do want in my nipple is going to fall out.

I went to the kitchen, poured myself a glass of wine and contemplated the situation. As I popped the cork out of the bottle, a solution hit me! I hacked off a chunk of cork and fastened it to the end of the metal rod in my nipple. It split, too small. Again, another piece. Still too small.  I hacked off a big chunk of cork and stabbed onto the post. It stayed.

Voila, problem solved. Except that there was a giant hunk of cork hanging off my nipple for the better part of a week and a half until I could get back to the piercing shop to replace the bead.

I actually have a picture of this, but I’m concerned about the kind of traffic it’ll draw to my site if I post it.

I’d say between the tooth with the drill bit rammed into my jaw, and my cork nipple, it was a round of body modifications gone wrong.

I did eventually get back to the piercing shop to get the bead replaced, but to be honest, I’d grown kind of fond of the cork.

I did visit the dental specialist and he’s been unable to get the drill bit out. At the next appointment he’s going to seal it in and we'll hope for the best.

Maybe, in time, like the cork, I’ll grow fond of the drill bit too. People live with bullets lodged in them. This is my own dental warfare souvenir.  

Daria Salamon1 Comment