Monday, June 9, 2008

The tooth of the matter

I had my upper left wisdom tooth removed a few weeks ago. It had been through (ie. I could brush it) for years and my dentist kept pestering me to have it removed. Actually his precise, caring words were, "You'd better not come in here with a big abcess for me to deal with". Last year he even tried removing it, but it wouldn't budge, I started fainting with the pain and stress so we aborted after about 15 minutes, and I was left hanging upside down with an oxygen mask clamped to my visage. Anyway, the tooth had been giving me real pain on and off for a while and last month I was unable to open my mouth very far ("Hurray", said Ball & Chain). Time to put the big girl knickers/panties on and pay the oral surgeon a visit.

Now I have had three kids, two c-sections, four lots of gum surgery (where they slit open your gum, file back the bone and stitch you back together), and a broken nose whacked back into place. You'd think a wisdom tooth extraction would be a bit of a walk in the park wouldn't you? Or am I becoming a big baby in my old age? I decided life's too short to put up with unecessary pain and requested nitrous oxide (laughing gas). I didn't want to be put out completely, (who has time for that?) but didn't want to be too aware of what was being done to me. Apparenty aneasthetizing an elephant would have been easier. He maxed up the level of gas, and not much was happening. Then he gave me the local anesthetic which had to be topped up twice because I could still feel my teeth and gums.

I won't go into the detail of the actual extraction, suffice to say my back was arched the entire time, my fingertips became embedded in the arms of the chair and I had to be constantly reminded to breathe. There's still a "sliver" of root in there which will apparently work itself out over time. I just hope I'm not deep in conversation with anyone when it makes its appearance. That would be worse than spinach between the teeth.

More surprising to me is how long it took to feel okay after the ordeal. I had a huge headache that day, (from the tension) and woke up the next day feeling like I'd been hit with a truck/lorry. Every time I bent over my head started pounding and threatening to explode, and I had to suck on bread and survive on cold, runny food for what seemed like a year.

More distressing (she says with tongue firmly planted in cheek) is that I was on strict orders not to do anything strenuous in case I made the tooth bleed again. Tragically, this also meant a ban on working out. I know - terrible really. (I am regretting that hiatus now, I can tell you.)

All this recovery has made me decide that until they come up with pain free ways to eradicate wrinkles, firm up jaw-lines and otherwise enhance one's looks, plastic surgery is not on my horizons.

21 comments:

  1. I had all four of mine (wisdom teeth that is) out at the same time when I was 20. Good move, I've since decided. I was young enough to cope with the pain (I was making dinner that night for my stepsister). God knows how I'd feel now.

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  2. It took them 2 attempts to take out my wisdom teeth too - first time I threw a fit, so the second time they had to conk me out completely. You were very brave to do it on a local anesthetic! I looked as if I had been in a fight after the op. Such a pity though the exercise regime had to go on a backburner for a while... By the way that gum surgery sounds HORRIFIC!

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  3. Ouch! Sorry to hear about your discomfort.

    I've had a couple of friends whose wisdom teeth were so terribly impacted, the extractions had to be done at the local hospital, under general anesthesia.

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  4. Full of admiration of your bravery! I had one wisdom tooth out in the UK about 12 years ago. I have since sworn that if anyone ever wants to do that to me again, they'll have to give me a general. It was worse than childbirth!! My Norwegian dentist dallied with the idea, but when I gave her a killer look, thought better of it. I'm now waiting to see how long it takes 'the dentist with the Hotrod car' to come up with a similar idea. Better start practicing that look.

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  5. I had my bottom two wisdom teeth taken out at my dentist's surgery. If they'd done the right one first, I would never have gone back to have the other one done! It broke as he was pulling it out (or rather pushing it in, which he assured me would help loosen it so he could pull it out!) (Must be a dirty joke in there somewhere . . .) He damaged a nerve which never fully recovered and over 20 (yikes, make that nearly 30!) years later I still have some numbness in my gum and tongue on that side.

    Fortunately, he admitted defeat in advance with the top two as they were too deep and I had to have those taken out in hospital. The nurses wanted to know why I was wasting a perfectly good NHS bed for only two wisdom teeth to be removed . . .

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  6. Sounds truly awful - denture just love dentists? (Sorry for the pun...it's probably too painful to laff...)

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  7. That sounds awful. Weren't you just a brave little soldier. :-)

    I've broken a tooth, so I know I'm going to have to go sooner or later. Medal, medal?

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  8. So sorry to hear about your terrible experience. I had a wisdom tooth removed about 20 years ago and it was an extremely painless procedure. My own dentist could not do it, but referred me to a dental surgeon who gave me a valium injection. I knew nothing more after the injection in the back of my hand until I was "coming to" again in the waiting room. I had had the extraction and apparently walked down two flights of stairs back to the waiting room without even knowing. Of course you have to have someone collect you afterwards as you are in no fit state to walk about on your own or drive, but I can thoroughly recommend it if you have to have it done again!!

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  9. Fortunately I only seem to have had the two upper wisdom teeth. The right one I had out about 20 years ago and was put out. No problems there except I had to go back about a week later as I got a piece of museli stuck in the hole and it wouldn't come out. A bit paranoid this time around as you'd imagine.

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  10. Have just finished catching up with your life - so much has happened in the last two weeks! Your wisdom tooth sounds so awful - I couldn't have done it I'm sure. (Luckily I didn't have any wisdom teeth - Sister and I were born without them!) I remember Son having his out though, and it was worse - so painful I couldn't stand it even as an observer. Brave you. Margot xx

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  11. Ugh that sounds monstrous. I think we mothers always think we can handle anything and then get a big shock when we discover some things are actually quite hard to deal with. Happy gum trauma recovery to you, my friend.

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  12. Ouch!

    The trouble with plastic surgery is that women in particular at a certain age start to look the same afterwards. Think Barbara Walter and Nancy Pelosi--both have that stunned deer in the headlights look and no ability to truly smile--like their face is stuck--same with foreheads.

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  13. Thank you mmm - that's enough to keep me away for a while. (BTW folks, he has a great blog called Sponge Pudding (.blogspot).)
    I have just had a rather fabulous haircut which has rejuvenated me for a while, and the rest is due to good genes and Avon ANEW. (Oh, and of course having a 5 year old when some of my friends' kids are off to college. Always fools 'em.)

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  14. You have my deepest sympathies, I have had 2 molars removed since I arrived here and it's no fun!

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  15. you poor thing...I had a lovely dentist in Aberdeen who kindly extracted 4 huge wisdom teeth while I was fast asleep...so Aberdeen is the place to head for pain free extractions of this sort...

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  16. Ouch! It's stories like these that convince me to hang on to my wisdom teeth at all cost. A dentist did have designs on them about 20 years back but I refused and have never had problems.

    And thank you for your comments chez moi, by the way.

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  17. Blimey! I was there cringing and suffering with you! Hope you are better now. I hate anything to do with dental work & feel sick with all the probing about.

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  18. Interesting that you right this just as I'm considering having a couple of teeth removed and a brace for a year. Jeez - just writing it down makes me realise how crazy an idea that is.

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  19. I share your pain! I've had some pretty bad tooth experiences in my time too - the last one actually saw off the dentist too! Poor chap became very ill and had to give up his practice after treating me.

    PS I did laugh when I read you ran a Hotel H too - I didn't know it was a franchise, not a very profitable one, though.

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