“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.