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A Tricky Tooth

Photo credit: Peter Skadberg

Photo credit: Peter Skadberg

I’d had enough of tooth pain. For 15 years, I’d suffered from headaches due to the pressure from wisdom teeth that didn’t have room to erupt.

In April, I went in and had one of my top wisdom teeth pulled. It was a breeze. I was in and out of the office in 15 min. “Oh, it’s out?” I asked in surprise when the tooth was presented to me between the tips of needle-nose pliers. There was so little pain during the recovery that I didn’t even need to take pain medication.

Why had I waited so long? It was heavenly to have that miserable tooth gone.

On Thursday I went in to have another wisdom tooth pulled, this one on the bottom. It was also causing me some headaches and jaw pain.

I was cheerful going in, but the ordeal soon turned nightmarish. The tooth was impacted and the roots wound around my jaw bone. The dentist had to cut through bone at least three times. The pressure was so profound as she yanked and pulled that I was worried my jaw was going to break.

Time dragged on, and more than once my dentist sounded panicked that she wasn’t going to be able to remove the tooth. A significant amount of blood was making it difficult to see. I was worried that I was going to end up at the hospital under a general anesthetic before this was over.

Piece by piece, my tooth was coming out and was carelessly tossed onto the tray. When the last big piece was retrieved, the dentist cheered and relief flooded my body.

“There’s one more piece of root left in there, but I think it would do more harm than good to try and remove it.”

Fine, fine, I thought. Just sew me up and let me out of this chair.

An hour-and-a-half after I blissfully waltzed into the office, I stumbled back out. $430 dollars to be tortured? Hardly seems like a good deal, but I quickly paid.

“How’d it go?” Kevin asked.

My mouth opened and closed as I tried to answer, but I finally just shook my head. Tears were too close to the surface to try and answer.

 

It’s Saturday, and I was able to eat some soft food again after 2 days of a liquid diet. The swelling has subsided in my jaw, and my children no longer startle every time they look up from their schoolbooks and glimpse my distorted face.

Health, sweet, sweet health. I often fail to enjoy it and be grateful for my health until I lose it for a time. The pain of the past few days makes me think of those who deal with chronic pain every day of their lives. My heart goes out to them!

Another thing I’m thankful for is anesthetic. What was dental work like to endure before pain relief? I shudder at the thought.

I find that each day brings opportunity for thanksgiving. I’m not thankful for the terrible experience of having my wisdom tooth removed, but I am thankful for God’s goodness through it.

I’m also thankful that one of my wisdom teeth never grew in. (My mom also only ever had three wisdom teeth.) And the last wisdom tooth? . . . It’s fine. Really. 😉

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