Filed under: @ 12:27 pm

A unique experience in the life of someone in her forties. I’m teething.

Or, at least, my body wants to THINK that I’m teething.

See, due to genetics and good luck, I’ve never had any wisdom teeth. That is to say that I HAVE them, but they’ve never come in. Ever since the 12 year molar on the lower right side decided that it wanted to come in with the crown of the tooth rotated towards my tongue, the series of dentists that I’ve dealt with over the years has been drooling (sorry, couldn’t resist) over my wisdom teeth.
That was the year that our childhood dentist, Dr. Lillywhite (no shit) told me “When you get home you have your mother give me a call. I think you’re going to need braces!”

An aside — Isn’t that the dumbest thing that ANY dentist could say to ANY kid? I mean, did he REALLY think that I was going to have my mother call him so I could voluntarily subject myself to four or five years or orthodontia? How naive can you get? Trusting an 11 year old to volunteer the information to her parents that the dentist wants to spend years attaching bits of metal to her teeth is like trusting a fox that tells you it won’t kill the chickens in your henhouse.

To get back to the main point though, I never had my mother call the dentist (and if it were that important, why didn’t he call her himself?!) and I never ended up with braces. My teeth are fine, it’s just that one molar that’s a little strange. Goes along well with the rest of me.

The full facial x-rays that the dentist takes once a year have remained pretty spooky. The wisdom teeth are there, it’s just that they’re rotated 90 degrees and the crowns are pointed rostrally -forwards that is. If they ever decide to move around they’re going to put pressure on the roots of the teeth in front of them and cause all sorts of chaos. But since they’ve never been an issue, and since I’d seen the remains of my sister and brother after THEY had their wisdom teeth out, I’ve been remarkably reluctant to voluntarily subject myself to facial deconstruction just for the sake of having a happy dentist. I’ve been annoying to my current dentist for almost 10 years because I have continually refused her referrals to an oral surgeon.

Until about two Fridays ago when I was brushing my teeth before work and it felt like the crown that’s in the last molar tooth on the upper right was going to fall out. Now THAT got my attention. I went to work, I called the dentist who, of course, doesn’t work on Fridays and carried my mobile phone with me all day so I could catch her when she called back and answered the message I’d left on her emergency number. I was seen on an emergency visit the next Monday, poked, tapped, radiographed and told, of course, that the only notable abnormality was the wisdom tooth and that I should bloody well go and see the damnable oral surgeon.

Which is what I’m waiting to do. Because of my exquisite sense of timing, my odd work schedule, and the oral surgeon’s schedule they couldn’t see me until the 24th. If everything goes *HAH* well the surgery is scheduled for the next week.
In the mean time I’m left with a very much greater understanding of why teething children drool and scream a lot. I don’t suppose that I could get away with it at my age, but it has been tempting. Isn’t whiskey supposed to help when a child is teething? I’m not so fond of whiskey, but I’ve got a nice bottle of rum that might do a lot to improve my state of mind.
All I can say is that the tooth fairy better bloody well appreciate this!

6 Responses to “nnnnnnnnnggggggGGGhhhhhhh!”

  1. SheriHi Says:

    Ok, first, your surgery will go fine and you will enjoy the pain meds afterwards. And I’m sure the procedure is much better now than 20 years ago. That said, I wish I had waited…

    I had all four wisdom teeth pulled on my 18th birthday, simply because I was going to be removed from my parent’s insurance and according to my surgeon, there simply wasn’t enough room in my mouth for four more teeth. I remain skeptical, but went along with the expert. I went into shock during the surgery and spent a few hours heavily sedated, and when I woke up in the hospital I started to weep uncontrollably – I mean completely out of control. They had to break apart bone to get to the teeth, and I *knew* I had experienced some sort of trauma. I mean, when is that ever a good idea? Part of my brain was telling me, “Hey, you just got some teeth pulled, no big deal, you will be fine” while the mammalian part was telling me to run far away and hide. The only lasting effect is my hatred towards dentists.

  2. Margaret Says:

    I appreciate the good thoughts.

    I my case it’s more a question of knowing too much about the process and wondering how the hell I would approach a similar problem. Since the answer has always been “Damn, those teeth would be a BITCH to get out of there!” I’ve never been real enthusiastic about proceeding with the extractions.
    Until now.

    I know it’s going to be unpleasant, I know what sort of a mess the surgeon will end up making, it’s just at this point I don’t care. Which is exactly the frame of mind in which one should be approaching this sort of situation.
    I even tried to convince the surgeon to plan on extracting all four instead of the one that has been the problem for the last three weeks, but he declined stating that in young adults they will extract all four prophylactically, but in older adults (sigh) they tend to wait and see if the other teeth become a problem.

    Effin tooth fairy. I am SO ready for this to be over with.

  3. Curt Says:

    Don’t you still have a bottle of Everclear hiding somewhere? That would dull the pain and as you are already familiar with surgical techniques might encourage a faster resolution 🙂

    But in all seriousness I hope all is well soon.

  4. Teh Ebil Lord O' Darkness Says:

    To drool or not to drool, but that isn’t the question.

    In my experiences, more than 4 milograms of morphine can be your friend!
    Before they come at you with whatever ebil teeth messing upper mechanism,make them shoot you up with some chocolating novacaine. Take pain killing meds before going? I say it with a question mark in case you blow up or something? Just kidding? Heh heh. All this reminds me…

    I need braces…

  5. Val Says:

    Oh Margaret. At the very least you’ll come out of this with another funny story to tell. I think everyone has a funny “wisdom tooth” story. Did I ever tell you mine? Come to think, it happened not far from your house in Bellevue. Oh dear. I may have traumitized one of your family members….

    I had my wisdom teeth out right after college and while I was still on my parent’s COBRA medical insurance as a dependent. Dad was my designated driver, and he drove me home in his pickup after I had the surgery. We stopped at the U&I pharmacy next to the old K-Mart on 148th to get my percocet and antibiotics. Dad left me in the truck while he ran in for the Rx.

    There I was, feeling no pain, sittin’ up high, and high as a kite. I had so much novacaine on board that I literally had no sensation from my eye sockets down to my collarbones. People kept looking at me while they were walking past the truck to get to the stores in the strip mall. I was in love with life–in fact, I loved them–my world was sparkly and new and full of sunshine and rainbows and pink unicorns farting rainbows. I was soooo high. I would smile and wave at the folks passing by like I was Miss America in the fucking Rose Bowl parade. They would stare, then avert their eyes and walk quickly away. It didn’t bother me. Nothing bothered me. They must have been uncomfortable with my inner radiance.

    So eventually Dad gets back with the goods and drives me the rest of the way home. It was impressed on me when I left the surgeon’s office that the first thing I did upon returning home and before napping (I was beginning to find all that inner radiance exhausting at that point) was to change my gauze rolls. When I looked at myself in the mirror I was utterly horrified. I had (what seemed to me to be) a huge amount of blood dripping down my chin and flowing onto my favorite TESC sweatshirt. THAT is what all the folks were staring at. There I was, in the cab of the pickup truck looking like Vampira after a binge, or Sissy Spacek in Carrie waving like an idiot at all the passers-by. Dad was lucky nobody called the cops! I asked him why he hadn’t told me, but he said that I was obviously unaware of it, there was nothing I could do about it until we got home, and I seemed so happy, so telling me about it would only distress me.

    So my advice to you? Wear a bib….

  6. Margaret Says:

    Thanks for the laugh Val!

    A couple of my online veterinary buddies have suggested that I request that they “do my nails while I’m out” (a common phrase that we get for a lot of patients who are going to be under anesthesia -generally meaning “will you trim his nails while he’s out”).

    I imagine if I showed up wearing a bib and asking to have my nails “done” while I’m out, they might JUST call the men with the butterfly nets for me.

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