Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In which I make plans to lose my wisdom.

Yesterday I had my appointment with the oral surgeon. I wasn't there to get my teeth removed just yet. It was just a consultation. I sat there surrounded by nervous teenagers and a man whose wife was having dental implants put in. He kept taking phone calls in the lobby, obviously not realizing we could hear him clearly through the walls. Apparently his co-worker is an asshole and his boss doesn't care. Also, he likes playing on the office sports team, but hates that the guy from Accounting is such a sore loser and has to one-up everyone.

They had the world's most uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room. For an office that requires long periods of waiting, you would think they would perhaps get better chairs. But these were tiny wooden ones with thin fabric seats and oddly curving backs that forced you to sit awkwardly as some edge or corner dug into whatever unfortunate piece of flesh came into contact with it. I spent my hour shifting and then shifting again in a vain attempt to find a comfortable position. Apparently such a thing did not exist when it came to the chairs.

They were running behind by an hour. I kept eyeing the clock, wondering if their horrible chairs were part of some mental trick. By the time they call you back, you're practically relieved to be standing and moving around again. Doesn't matter if they're about to yank bits of you out one by one and charge you thousands for it. Anything to get away from the chairs.

The oral surgeon told me that they would take all of the wisdom teeth and the molar in one go. He quoted me a price that was less than I was expecting (I was thinking around $3,000..my total cost will be $1200), which was a relief. He spent perhaps 10 minutes explaining the process, briefing my Fiance on the aftercare, and prodding at my teeth. I scheduled my appointment for August 12th. So long, teeth..I can't say I'll miss them. I'll miss my molar, probably. But the wisdom teeth have been constant trouble. I'll also miss that $1200. I never got the chance to know it.

I suppose when I'm all healed I can go back to my impossibly young dentist and let him fill those two pesky cavities. I would say that after that I am swearing off dentists for a while, but doing just that is what brought me here in the first place. Let my soon to be absent molar serve as a reminder to everyone..don't ignore your teeth. They tend to pack their bags and go off in a huff if you do, leaving a gaping hole behind them.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

In which I learn that wisdom teeth don't actually grant you any wisdom at all.

Thursday afternoon found me sitting in a dentist's chair for the first time in six years. A constant toothache had finally driven me to make a long overdue appointment. Now, there I sat, berating myself for years of neglect as my teeth throbbed. I could feel it through my neck and up into my temple, a constant drumming of pain.

My dentist looked young. Too young to know what he was doing. But I have to keep reminding myself that I am 27 years old, now. Dentists and doctors are starting to look closer to me in age. My first reaction when he walked into the room was "Oh, god, he's 12 years old." Then I realized that he was probably not much older than me.

He pointed to various things on the X-Rays, prodded around in my mouth, and then delivered his verdict. My wisdom teeth had to go. One had actually killed the molar it was pushing against, so the molar was declared to be a loss as well. Other than that I have two cavities. One shallow, one possibly in need of a root canal, but he "had his fingers crossed" on it. He gave me two prescriptions. One for Vicodin, and one for an antibiotic.

I left his office with mixed feelings. On one hand, I was happy to hear that my teeth are not as bad as I had feared. On the other, I cannot delay having my wisdom teeth removed any longer. I have no dental insurance and I know it will cost a small fortune. I also feel regretful that my molar has to go as well. But I let it go too long, and my tooth is the price for foolishness.

I took a Vicodin when I got home, as his probing had sent my toothache into a full blown frenzy. It felt like demons were hammering spikes through my jaw. My gums were raw and swollen.

Vicodin is interesting. Within half an hour my head was swimming. My bones and muscles felt as though they had turned to liquid and were rolling through my skin like the tide. I couldn't walk without falling and my thoughts fuzzy and slow. Eventually my fiance forced me to lay down so that I wouldn't hurt myself. I stayed in bed and watched my arms, halfway expecting to see the skin drag back and forth in time with the swirling feeling inside it.

The next morning I felt terrible. It took hours for the fog to clear from my brain. I was groggy and slow and every bit of food I ate wanted to come right back up. Luckily I was able to keep my breakfast down.

I think I'd rather live with the pain until the antibiotics calm the inflammation down. I'm saving the vicodin for when I have my wisdom teeth out and don't give a damn if I'm groggy the next day.