Today’s dental drama

Earlier in the week I wrote about the problem that developed with one of my wisdom teeth. I am now writing with a mouthful of 30 teeth, as opposed to the 31 I had before the day started. (As I mentioned in the previous post, I was genetically endowed with only 3 of those wise choppers, so I only ever had 31 teeth.)

Kelly kept insisting that the dentist would not do an extraction then and there. When her wisdom teeth were extracted several years back, it was scheduled with an oral surgeon and a rather big deal. So she had a different experience. When I got to the dentist today and explained the situation, he took an x-ray and said, yup, that tooth has to come out and they’ll do it right away.

First, they numbed my mouth with a kind of anesthetic paste. Then they shot me up with three separate injections of whatever -caine-based chemical they are using today. My mouth went numb pretty quickly but they waited ten minutes just to be sure. The dentist explained what would be happening in the procedure. I asked him how long it typically takes.

“Could be anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes, it’s hard to say.”

It took 30 seconds.

After come pulling and levering, and NO PAIN whatsoever, the doctor removed his fingers from my mouth, held up the affected tooth and said, “It’s a boy!”

It left a rather deep gap into my gum, some 16 centimeters. The doctor is hoping the bone will come down to help fill that gap. In the meantime he put in a collagen plug. He gave me an antibiotic to take for the next 7 days, as well as gauze to seep up the nastiness that is oozing from the wound. He said I can eat solids when I feel comfortable, but I need to avoid spicy foods for a few days. And no straws or alcohol for 72 hours.

It went far smoother than I imagined. I have a follow up appointment on the 28th, at which time I will also have a comprehensive exam, the first one I’ve had in longer than I’m willing to admit. As I write this sentence, most of the anesthetic has worn of and despite the 800mg of Advil I took nearly an hour ago, it is, shall we say, uncomfortable.

Before I left for the dentist, by the way, Kelly said to me, “Don’t forget to brush your teeth!” I did it for her because I didn’t want to argue with a pregnant lady. But come on, really? Are all dentists in the world under some mass illusion that people come to their offices with remarkably clean teeth and fresh breath?

I should mention, by the way, that my dentist, who is also Kelly’s dentist, was pretty awesome. It’s the first time I’ve had a dentist younger than I am, but it made no difference in quality and care. He did a great job, better than I could have imagined, and if anyone in the Falls Church/Arlington/Alexandria area is looking for a dentist, I recommend him.

And thanks again to everyone who kept my spirits up during this nervous time. I was not as bad as my writer’s imagination allowed me to believe it would be and I kept apologizing to the dentist and his assistant for feeling foolishly nervous about the whole thing.


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