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Friday, January 6, 2006

"Get me the double-ended root pick..."
That, I submit to you, is the absolute LAST thing you want to hear your dentist EVER say. For the most part, though, my extraction went smoothly. I was really nervous but the assistant, Maria, was an angel and she really calmed me down. Dr. Wong had decided to do the left side (top and bottom) so he started by smearing around the teeth with some numbing gel. It tasted absolutely terrible. Then, with my iPod cranked up and Maria holding my hand, we started with the shots. I closed my eyes as he gave me six or eight shots around the area, including one to the side of my cheek and one in the roof of my mouth (which was the one I was really dreading). They didn't hurt a lot, but the knowledge of what was happening and the general stress of the situation brought a few tears to my eyes. Within a few minutes the entire left side of my mouth was completely numb. Once Dr. Wong ascertained that I wasn't going to feel anything, we really got started. (For the record, I didn't have any gas. I don't think that "twilight" option that some of you Yanks had is available here.)
 
He started on the bottom tooth. "You may hear some cracking, and there will be quite a lot of pressure," he said. He wasn't lying. I think the bottom one was more painful than the top one, simply because your top teeth are kind of attached to your head but the bottom ones are just on your jaw. He was really putting all his weight on that molar, and the pressure was making my whole jaw ache. But before I'd even reached the end of "Sk8er Boi," that sucker was out! Dr. Wong put a stitch in and we were half done. The upper tooth turned out to be a bitch though. Again, it only took about five minutes to get the tooth out, but a bit of the root broke off inside. The result was fifteen minutes of digging around and the aforementioned request for the "double-ended root pick." He eventually got it though, and with another single stitch it was all over. The whole process took just under an hour.

Afterwards, I didn't feel that bad at all. We'd planned on taking a taxi home from Chatswood but I told the Snook that I felt well enough to handle the train. Dr. Wong had stuffed my cheek with cotton wadding but I didn't look abnormally swollen. We got home an hour later and I changed the wadding, which was pretty soaked with blood. I took some ibuprofen - Dr. Wong didn't think I needed a prescription for anything stronger - and had a bit of a nap. For the rest of the day, I just kept changing the cotton, taking painkillers, and drinking liquids. (I did make a mistake in drinking a milkshake through a straw. I didn't realize you're not supposed to use a straw at all, as the suction can interfere with the blood clots you're supposed to be forming. I still had the cotton wool in though, so I think I'm okay. Incidentally, that's also the reason you're not supposed to smoke afterwards.) The Snook made me a lovely creamy risotto for dinner. I slept pretty well throughout the night and, aside from feeling a little groggy this morning, I feel great. Some of you guys really freaked me out with your tales of weeklong drug-induced stupors. I feel like I could probably even work today, if I had to. (No, Albert, I am not coming in!) Maybe the longer recovery times are related to the general anesthetic and not the extraction procedure itself. I'm feeling really happy with my decision to do it in the chair. Now I just have to wait a month before the other two come out!

Oh, and I kept the teeth. :)

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Comments
 
Ok, that sounded HORRIBLE! I'm so glad I had mine taken out while on IV sedation. I had this long talk with my dentist about what freaks me out and whatnot. I pretty much told him that I didn't want to see anything, hear anything feel anything, nada - because if I heard ANYTHING, I would get sick to my stomach. Just knock me out, do your business and wake me when it's over. It was the BEST decision I've ever made. Expensive, though.

I definitely think the stress and anticipation make the actual procedure worse. While I was recooping, I wasn't in too much pain (well, compared to what i had gone through before my teeth had been taken out), and was able to resume normal activities that night.

(I couldn't use the straw for a while, and no caffiene for at least 3 days... although, I did screw up and use a straw a few times - my doc said that most people forget, but usually catch themselves after a few minutes.)
» Mia [www] » 2006-01-06 11:42:03
 
Huh. I didn't think it sounded bad at all! But I'm not that squeamish, I guess. The sight of blood doesn't make me faint or anything. At one point I opened my eyes and saw the big suction tube Maria was using to clear my mouth, and instead of being clear it was totally bright red. I just kinda went, "Huh." It's needles that bother me, and as long as I don't have to look at them, I'm fine.

I actually remember thinking at one point: "If this is as bad as the pain gets, this is nothin'. I've had friggin' menstrual cramps worse than this."
» Kris [www] » 2006-01-06 11:47:14
 
I didn't know there would be no twilight or IV action, Kris--yikes! (I had the IV going, which is why my first post-extraction memory is waking up in my room at home.) Major kudos to you for getting through it, all 17th-century style! I'm really glad your recovery is going nicely, but I would have started cutting people if someone had even suggested that I should leave the office without a prescription for painkillers! Come on--you gotta get some kind of reward for going through that mess!
» Max [www] » 2006-01-06 13:56:12
 
Sweet Jesus!! Did I mention that my new dentist wants me to consult an oral surgeon? For as long as I've had my chiclet teeth I've relished that both my dentists (and my orthodontist) said I'd PROBABLY never have to do anything because 1. They will never erupt (blech) and 2. I only have three. My first new dentist and what does he say???

Speaking of, has anyone read the dentist bit of 'A Million Little Pieces?' Drugs (of the recreational sort) are not good.
» Jenny » 2006-01-06 15:57:57
 
Hope you continue to feel so well Kris. It is a shock to your system, so keep taking it easy for a couple of days. With the newer local anaesthetics it really isn't as big a deal as it used to be (as you have found out!). Just be careful with those stitches - easy to get food caught in them and ... well, just don't!
» M-H [www] » 2006-01-06 16:17:55
 
Steph (my wife) is lying on the ground twitching at the moment. She has to get hers out at Easter. This didn't help. I enjoyed it though.
» Major [www] » 2006-01-06 17:49:13
 
Poor Kris! I was in town this morning and was going to pop by, but didn't want to embarass! I hope you recover from your battle of the teeth ;) I need to get mine out... Eeep. I will probably wuss and get put under..
» Miss Helen [www] » 2006-01-06 17:59:19
 
Wow, I thought it would totally reassure her, Major! It was a lot better than I expected. I'm surprised at the horrified reactions I'm getting here. Maybe I made it sound worse than I intended. The upshot: I didn't really feel any bad pain at all; mostly it was just pressure. Yes, some cracking and crunching noises, but not really prolonged or anything. I did see a few bloody bits, but if you closed your eyes you wouldn't see anything. (I sat up at the end and had Dr. Wong show me how the bloody cracked tooth bits fit together in case I decide to superglue them. My curiosity outweights my squeamishness.) If I hadn't had the root bit break off, the whole "pulling them out" part would've lasted about ten minutes in total. You can take anything for ten minutes!

Oh, and here's something I just realized: these are the first actual stitches I've ever had in my life. Somehow I made it to 28 without ever requiring them before. Again, I couldn't feel a darn thing, other than when the thread would fall across the non-numb bit of my lip when he was tying it off. The numbness probably lasted about three hours or so in total.

I also forgot to mention that I used ice (i.e. a bag of frozen peas) on my jaw for most of the night, and that definitely seemed to help with the small amount of pain. And as far as I can tell today, I don't have any swelling at all. (The DeskCam shot of me pointing at my cheek was taken right after we got home.) No chipmunk cheeks for me!
» Kris [www] » 2006-01-06 18:02:31
 
Yay for you, Kris! I kept my teeth too, I use them as an educational aide. I didn't feel any pain at all during my procedure either (I did the local anesthetic which is the same way you did it, yes?) but I did have pain afterward. One of my roots broke too and It makes a REALLY cool educational tool for the kids to see the hollow areas for the nerves.
» Frances » 2006-01-07 07:31:20
 
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I'm Kris Howard, a thirtyish Hoosier living in Sydney, Australia. I'm the TV Development Director at Mi9, working with my team on cool stuff like 9jumpin. I knit and sew and have crazy adventures. This is my weblog and personal site.

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