Wisdom tooth surgery for cowards

In real estate they say the key is Location, Location, Location; for dental surgery my motto is Sedation, Sedation, Sedation!

Today’s Daily Post is Nerve. And as the saying goes, “She/he had more nerve than a tooth”, I thought I’d present this primer on wisdom tooth surgery for coward.

When it comes to things dental there isn’t a bigger coward than yours truly. That’s why when, in my mid-twenties, my dentist told me all four of my wisdom teeth were impacted and would eventually have to be removed surgically I went into panic mode. The key word for me in that sentence was ‘eventually’. As suggested I went as soon as possible to a dental surgeon for his opinion, no regular dentist for this job, with all four teeth growing east to west in the gum instead of north to south and coming out. He did all sorts of X-rays, had a good look and, much to my cowardly pleasure, told me we could wait and see. No immediate danger being present I was on cloud nine with relief.

Pretty much every bi-annual dentist’s appointment after that he asked if there was any discomfort from the wisdom teeth and reminded me that I’d “not be taking them to the grave” with me. Well I managed to put off the procedure for nigh on thirty years but when my dentist pointed out that there was ‘something’ that had changed on my lower right wisdom tooth that could be a cyst, I knew the jig was up. He pointed out that if an infection set-in a supremely miserable experience would follow. So, back to the surgeon I went, and this time an appointment was set to whip out those teeth, loathe though I was to relinquish any sort of wisdom I may have had.



I explained to my surgeon that the first problem I would face wasn’t to be found in the waiting room or chair, but in getting up the front stairs to his clinic; the flight option of the famous ‘fight or flight’ concept still being available. He assured me he’d give me something for that.

In the interim I tried to put the whole dreadful thing out of my mind lest I consider backing-out, even though in the back of my mind I knew I couldn’t. But one thing kept playing around in my mind – how the hell do you get impacted teeth out of the gum? So as time passed I got the great idea to see what was involved in the procedure via YouTube. There are a bunch of good videos available. I must admit it took me several attempts to be able to watch the whole thing; I’d start watching but would have to turn it off, then the next time I could watch a little more until I could watch it right through.

So a couple of months later was T-Day. I had been given several prescriptions for precautionary antibiotics that I began taking a couple of days before the surgery and an Ativan to get me up those stairs; it worked. I arrived and before I knew it I was at the reception desk checking-in and paying for the operation. I was asked to pay before because I was told I’d not be in any fit condition after to manage a credit card. This was music to my ears.

In real estate they say the key is Location, Location, Location; for dental surgery my motto is Sedation, Sedation, Sedation!

Once done with the paperwork I was given Motrin in an attempt to reduce any swelling, as well as a wonderful little pill that goes under the tongue – sublingual Ativan. Before I knew it I was marching to the chair, dead man walking, but my little buddy had now dissolved under my tongue and I was up for anything. I sat in the chair as an assistant put a blood pressure cuff on me and what looked like a clothes-peg on my finger to monitor my vitals during the procedure.

Now this is the part I still have trouble believing; as the saying goes, the next thing I knew I was waking up while the dentist inserted the needle into my arm that would drip a continuous flow of a cocktail of mild sedatives and pain killers – including Michael Jackson’s favourite Propofol. Yep, I fell asleep with the help of my under tongue pal, prior to actually being hooked up to the sedative drip. Magnificent!

Before I knew it I was marching to the chair, dead man walking, but my little buddy had now dissolved under my tongue and I was up for anything.

I’d like to tell you all about the procedure, but I haven’t got a clue what went on as I was delightfully sedated and woke up when it was all done. Ice on my jaws for a few hours afterwards, (may I suggest the above-pictured icing method that involves tying two women’s knee-high stockings at the toe, filling them with bags of frozen peas, and tying the other ends on top of your head – a hands-free icing. This can be adapted to full-length silk stockings if your’re so inclined) kept the swelling to a minimum. I took prescription pain killers for about 36 hours then Advil every four hours for a week or so, careful cleansing and I was done. The stitches dissolved and the only complaint was a very sore jaw for about two weeks due to my mouth having been wide open for 90 minutes while someone hacked into my gums.

So if like me you’re a dental coward, and have to undergo the same operation, take it from a veteran, it need not be horrific.

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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