Jun 28, 2006

I've only got 28 teeth left!

Last Friday I got the day off from work, but not for vacation or even a sick day. I was getting my wisdom teeth pulled.

That’s right, I joined the ranks of those unfortunate souls to have all four pulled in one sitting. My wife came in to the room with me, which was good, because she’s the one that got me the gas. If you ever get offered the gas, TAKE IT. It really takes the edge off. It didn’t make me happy, nonchalant or relaxed, and I was fully aware of what the doctor was doing, but it just kind of makes it easier to focus on something else, if that makes sense.

So the doctor says, “You feel nothing…you just hear cracking…OK?” (He’s not the best communicator.) Man, I was about to pass out, and not from the gas.

For anyone that is considering the procedure, but is unfamiliar with what it entails because you have a doctor like mine, I’ll describe it. First of all, DON’T LOOK AT THE WALL CHARTS. If you do, you will see that there are nerves that go up into your teeth. This will make you very nervous, because you start to realize what’s going to happen to those nerves. Now, on to the procedure:

They numb your mouth with some cotton swabs dipped in morphine or something, and then the doctor gives you some “locals”. (This is a nice way of saying ‘shots in the mouth’.) I got 6. This numbs you up, and this is where they ask you if you want the gas. As stated before, ALWAYS SAY YES TO THE GAS. Seriously, it’s the best $40 I’ve spent in a long time. After about 15-20 minutes, you shouldn’t be able to feel your bottom lip. You should, however, be able to feel your upper lip. This was not fully explained to me until the doctor noticed I was rigorously pinching my face all over. Then the doctor uses a special tool that’s like a cross between an ice pick and a screwdriver to pry your teeth around and loosen them up. That was the most painful part for me. After the teeth are loose, he uses a really shiny, sterile pair of pliers to jiggle the tooth around until it comes out.

This is how it’s supposed to go, anyway. The first three went fine, and each time another came out, it was a great relief because I was that much closer to being done. NOTE: I recommend using the “find-a-happy-place” method for coping. It worked well for me.

As I said, the first three went fine. The last tooth, however, was a real bugger.

It was chipped and stuff so the doctor couldn’t really get a good grip on it with the pliers. They kept slipping off and banging around in my mouth. Finally, he put me in a headlock (my wife can verify this, she was there) and had my head pressed up against his side. My happy place was fading fast. I was sucking the gas as deep as I could, and all I wanted was to be back in the waiting room reading Highlights and looking for the hidden objects. Then finally, after what seemed like an eternity of circular jerking, the thing came out.


Then, all that’s left is for the doctor to sew the holes up in your mouth. This is painless considering what you just went through. Another thing to remember: try not to look at the tray of tools, because you will probably see the extracted teeth. It was pretty mind-blowing for me, because the bottom of the tooth (the part in your gums) is larger than the part you normally see. This makes you think pretty hard about what just happened.

Then you get your prescriptions, pay your bill, and take it easy for the next few days. I highly recommend KFC mashed potatos and gravy, and macaroni and cheese. Mmm, mmm, good!

So now I have to go back and get 12 fillings (don’t worry, only 3 per sitting). I’ll let you know what that’s like after it happens.

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