Over the past six weeks or so, I have been visiting dental professionals in an effort to “catch up” on a little dental work. It’s been a blast.
After a double root canal appointment, and two attempts to get a temporary crown to stick, it all culminated with my last appointment. At that time, I had to get a tooth extracted.
It was way back there in my face – a molar that had undergone its own root canal when I was around 19 years old. And since, it had gone rogue.
I won’t bore you with “root amputation” and “isolated infection” talk. The bottom line is, it had to come out. And it did not come out so quietly. The tooth was not loose. It was in there, man. It never expected to have to leave.
As it was happening, there was a lot going through my brain.
Dentist: Okay I’m going to start pulling now. You shouldn’t feel any pain, but you will feel some tugging.
I nod, thinking Is this like when the gynecologist says “you’re going to feel a pinch” and then you want to punch that person in the face?
The answer? Yes. He was right, I did feel some tugging. Like someone was trying to pull the top of my skull out through my mouth.
And yes, I did want to punch him in the face.
He was pulling for a long time. There were some noises that were not pleasant, like some cracking sounds. Two or three times, he asked me if I was okay. I realized that I was pretty much not moving at all, I was just bracing for it to be over. Of course I nodded that I was okay. Don’t stop now. Just keep going.
I don’t think I can swallow with my mouth open. Okay I can but I don’t like it.
What if I swallow my tongue? I bet you really have to try to do that, right?
The poster on the ceiling really needs to be replaced.
Isn’t the human mouth like a germ laden cesspool of doom? How will I ever recover if my mouth is loaded with life-threatening bacteria?
I wish I could Google that. Wait, where is my phone? Oh yeah, it’s under my leg.
I should stop at Five Guys on the way home and get a milkshake. Wait, no straw after the extraction. I’ll just use a spoon.
[Cracking noise] Geez what the fuck was that? Is the tooth coming out in pieces?
Dentist: Are you okay?
I nod. Why is he asking me if I’m okay? Is this going badly?
I wonder how long it will take for the novocaine to wear off.
Is he still pulling? He is still pulling. Has any of this tooth relented? What the fuck is going on here?
I wonder if I can get any work done after this appointment. [Goes through list of to-do in head] Yeah, I can probably work for at least two hours. < incorrect – I went to bed
You know for dentist office music, this isn’t that bad. Who ever hears Kings of Leon at the dentist? If they changed this poster above my head, this place would be money.
Wait, what is she doing? [Dental assistant pulls a freshly sterilized, small pair of scissors out of a packet and hands them to the dentist]
Dentist: Okay, we’re going to cut away some tissue.
Dentist: This thing really doesn’t want to come out.
IT’S STILL NOT OUT?
I remembered getting one of my wisdom teeth pulled in my early twenties, a difficult job due to the fact that the tip of the root was lodged in my jaw. The small, elderly man who did it had to brace himself for the pulling with his foot firmly planted on the dental chair in which I sat.
This was kind of like that, but slightly worse.
As the dentist continued to pull…
I wonder if this guy would have been good at frontier dentistry. You know, when the dentist was also the local surgeon? Like, how would he be at removing an appendix?
As my mind started to shift to an episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, something finally gave. Gauze was shoved into my deep, empty socket. I was told to bite down.
By the time I got to look my offender in its face, it was laying on a stainless steel tray. One root was still fully in tact. The curve of it demonstrated why it may have been so difficult to remove. Other parts of the tooth lay nearby. Dental shrapnel, if you will.
While a part of me wanted to keep it as evidence of my time here on this earth, another part of me suppressed the urge to pick it up. I then had to suppress the urge to grab my phone (under my leg) and take a photo.
Not everyone needs to know about everything that may come out of your mouth.