Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Melinama bites the bullet

I hadn't been to the dentist since before Zed got sick (2000). As part of my psychic rehabilitation, I set up an appointment - with great trepidation, knowing I would be scolded, and that there would be bad news.

I chose a new dentist because I hated my last one, and because I figured I might as well start from scratch. She took 18 x-rays of my mouth and cheerfully announced I'd have to spend $1000 on getting these teeth cleaned, then have all four of my wisdom teeth pulled, and then have virtually all my previous crowns redone ($1000 each) because my previous dentist did such a bad job.

My daughter Melina thinks I should get a second opinion, but in the mean time, the argument for losing the wisdom teeth was compelling, so yesterday I had two of them pulled.

I didn't like the paper I had to sign which said I was aware that during the course of this procedure my dentist might:
  1. Drive a piece of tooth-root up into my sinuses;

  2. Break my jaw.
I particularly didn't like these two possibilities.

She said, "Well, I guess if I broke somebody's jaw I'd probably stop doing oral surgery."

She then told me about a dentist friend of hers who, in the very first week of his new practice, didn't realize the plumbers had installed his nitrous oxide and oxygen lines backwards. He gave 100% nitrous oxide to a toddler and the child died and this dentist never worked again.

After that I was a little tense, and could have had general anesthetic, but I imagined my dad pish-tushing such a wussy choice from beyond the grave.

There was a strange sound as she "teased" (wow, what a euphemism) the teeth out of my jaw, but I didn't feel much. It's hard to comprehend what getting teeth pulled was like before they invented anesthetic.

Her last cheery warning was: don't used a straw, or swish things around in your mouth, because if the clots of blood which develop in those holes are dislodged you will develop "dry sockets" and infection can set into your bone.

I can't think of many less pleasant ways to spend money. Also, when you're done, there's nothing to show for it but bloody sockets and nobody wants to see them. I guess I'm writing this in hopes that you, dear reader, are saying "Eeeew, gross" to yourself right now.

Anyway, a few too-short hours later, I went to Collegium rehearsal and sang for two hours, but then I was woozy and it was time to go home and recap Alborada.

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At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Sylvia said...

Greetings from California! Eeeew, gross! My sympathies, but leave it to you to make oral surgery sound funny. I received my Mappamundi CD and am playing it for the first time at work today. It's FABULOUS and we all love it. It's our new favorite CD and that's saying a lot because we come from 5 different countries and have our own opinions about everything. Did you write the song descriptions? They're hilarious. Darn, pesky old work calls so more later after your next sizzling Alborada recap. Hope your sockets are feeling better.
Cheers, Sylvia

At 1:47 PM, Blogger melinama said...

Thank you, Sylvia! Glad you liked the cd and, yes, I wrote the descriptions (that was before I had a blog). Yes, my sockets feel much better. There are more gross things that I forgot to write but you can imagine them for yourself. I had a horrendous bloody nose this morning - I never get bloody noses - do you suppose she drove a shard of my tooth into my nose vein?

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Mirty said...

I hate dentists with a passion. Quite remarkable that you held on to your wisdom teeth for as long as you did. Mine were pulled before I was 30. One required some very painful surgery.

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Kimberly said...

One side effect of all the medical stuff I've been through with Paul is that I have a really high medical gross-out threshold. No "ewww, gross" from me.

I had my wisdom teeth removed at 18. All four were impacted, so there was surgery involved, and I was out for all of it.

At 11:24 PM, Anonymous Craig said...

I had three wisdom teeth extracted when I was about 26. I got a really good deal because I went to a hospital with a dental school. The roots on one of my teeth straddled the main nerve to my face, so a real dental surgeon was brought in to demonstrate the procedure for the students. The students got to watch and one of them got to administer my demerol cocktail in an IV. He missed the vein twice and I protested, saying "get this clown outta here." The surgeon's regular assistant then stepped in and found the vein on her first try and it didn't hurt a bit. Then the surgeon told me that he was required to inform me of the possibility that my face might be numb for the rest of my life. But then he said that the reason they brought him in is that he's awful good and he promised me that that wouldn't happen. I signed the waiver feeling very good .... about everything. It still hurt a week later and they gave me a second week of percodan. They used this jack hammer that split the teeth like a wedge on a chunk of knotty pine. Then they fished out the roots with some pliers. I kept the teeth in my percodan jar for quite a few years. They broke so cleanly you could put them back together and see what they looked like whole. Some of the roots had lodged in my jawbone, so a few little bits of bone came out attached to the roots, but I think the guy did a really good job. Sure glad it wasn't done by a dental student.

At 11:32 PM, Blogger melinama said...

Thank you all for sharing your own gross stories. Yours, Craig, is particularly admirable!

My daughter Melina researched nosebleeds after wisdom tooth removal and found they are caused by holes where the root of the tooth grows into the sinus.


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