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Friday, October 02, 2015

Comic Cuts - 2 October 2015

The saga of the teeth continues. If you don't like horror stories, look away now. Seriously. It's unpleasant.

So I went to the dentist as arranged on Tuesday for an hour-long appointment to remove the root of the tooth that broke a month ago and to have a second tooth removed. A very pleasant young lady was in charge and explained clearly and precisely what potentially could go wrong. They're legally obliged to do this, but having it all explained to you as your mouth gradually goes numb with anaesthetic might not be the best time to do it. As I said to the lady when she asked if I was still happy for her to continue, "I wabn'd wowied befow, bud I am now!"

The anaesthetic does its job and I lay back on the seat, open mouthed, light shining into my eyes, although I keep them closed for the most part. I get nervous at the dentist, so I'm trying to stay as calm and still as possible.

The first real shock was the sharp crack when they broke the molar they were removing. It didn't hurt at all, but the sound was terrifying. Oddly, I was still feeling quite calm at this point as the procedure was being explained. I'm still breathing steadily around the sucky thing (I think that's the technical term) that's removing blood, spit and broken tooth fragments.

The dentist then tries to remove the root of the broken tooth. About five minutes in, I'm feeling very anxious; the world is receding into the distance and I'm developing a cold sweat. I indicate my discomfort by raising my hand and I'm asked, "Do you want to sit up for a bit?" Yeth... yeth I oo.

It only takes a couple of seconds to calm down and the feeling that I was about to pass out faded away. Part of the problem was laying flat on my back. As a long-term back pain sufferer I try to support my lower back; one way is very simple: just raise your knees, which pushes the lower back down onto whatever surface you're laying on. I explained this and they were OK for me to put my feet on the sides of the chair so to anyone walking in it probably looked like I was trying to give birth.

Which was around the point when they called someone else in. The tooth wasn't coming out of the socket, so they asked a second, male dentist to have a go. Much wrenching and twisting later, the root was out. The root to the second one—the tooth they had broken off—wasn't easily accessible, so they had to cut a flap into my gum so they could get to it. It wasn't coming out. A third dentist, another lady, came in to have a look and decided that the bone of my jaw needed to be shaved away to free the rest of the tooth.

For the next twenty minutes, they're sawing away, pausing, tugging at the tooth, sawing away a bit more bone, tugging again, sawing again, tugging again. The male dentist comes back in and has a go with a bit more sawing and tugging and wrenching and twisting. And eventually it comes out and to everyone's surprise the tooth has a hook-like shape at the bottom, not visible on the x-ray. That's why it was do difficult to remove.

My hour-long visit has turned into an hour-forty by the time they've put in a series of stitches to hold my gum back in place and close up the holes left by the removal of teeth. I'm not allowed to rinse my mouth because they need the blood to clot. I spit bright red. On the way out I arrange to come back in a couple of week's time to have the stitches removed.

On the bus home I feel fine and bury my head in a book so I don't have to think about what I've just been through. Good thing I did. When I get to a mirror, I realise I have dried blood all over my lips from where I had tried to unsuccessfully spit with my numb mouth and not managed to clean with a tissue. I look like a vampire who wasn't happy with his meal.

I sleep for a couple of hours.

Since then, I've been trying to keep my tongue away from the stitches. My jaw aches. My gums ache. I have a headache. But I'm otherwise OK. I took things fairly easy on Tuesday and Wednesday, and even today I've been feeling wiped out; I managed to catch up on quite a bit of work, but was tired all day. The only worry on the horizon is that after I've had the stitches out in a couple of week's time, I've almost certainly got to have another tooth removed... I'm thinking next time I might ask to be knocked out completely.

And I didn't get to keep the teeth for the tooth fairy to offset the cost of the treatment.


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