June 19, 2010
“I don’t do extractions,” the dentist said to me. “You need to go to an oral surgeon.”
An abscess had formed under one of my wisdom teeth, and I’d been in pain for almost a week, and at that point, I didn’t really care who pulled the damned tooth out. If the dentist had suggested tying a string to the tooth and attaching it to a door handle, I would have agreed.
But I liked the idea of an oral surgeon. An expert. I figured that an oral surgeon would have some kind of high-tech way of removing the problem tooth.
The office was well-lit and sterile, with a whole wall of equipment to my left and a high counter to my right. An assistant in a white lab coat brought out two trays of sterile instruments, discreetly hidden under paper cloth. “You want to be sedated?” asked Oral Surgeon. “Or shall we try this with novocaine?”
I assured him that I wanted to stay awake and watch the procedure. I find medical or dental techniques fascinating. My midwife taught me to do my own urinalysis because I liked figuring out my sugar levels. The aides at the nursing home where my aunt lived used to let me help out when they’d change her catheter. And I got to see all kinds of cool procedures during my husband’s last kidney stone episode. I’m the kind of person who is always curious to see how things work.
The novocaine took affect pretty quickly, and the throbbing pain of the abscess disappeared. It was the best I’d felt in days. Next time I have a toothache, I’m buying some novocaine on the street.
Then the oral surgeon took a pair of pliers and yanked the tooth out. Yep, really. That was the entire procedure.
“Seriously?” I said to him as he was trying to stuff gauze into my mouth. “A pair of pliers? You went to grad school for that?”
He laughed. “See, doing it right makes it look simple. If I’d botched it up, it would have become a complicated procedure.”
“Can I have the tooth?” I asked. I figured I’d show it to the little neighbor children. They were always showing me THEIR teeth.
The nurse shrugged and wrapped it up for me. “Going to put it under your pillow?”
“No, but maybe I’ll take a photo for my blog.”
Posted by jo(e)