There’s no pictures this time. This is about a tender subject for most people.
No, not the movie. Seriously, if you have nothing to watch and want a seriously weird and twisted movie, hit up Teeth on netflix, but this is about my teeth, more specifically, Wisdom teeth.
It seems almost every adult has horror stories of their wisdom teeth. We should have evolved past them by this point, unless nature is a cruel mistress that has evolved to make us suffer at the hands of dentists for what we have done to the planet.
“Ha, pollute the lakes and rivers, will you? I’ll show you revenge through your last molars!”
So, anyway, onto my tale. My wife had to have hers out many many years ago. She went the expensive route, of course, because hers were seriously messed up. They put her in the hospital and put her to sleep, and cut hers out of her head. She got lots of good drugs and took a while to recover, but she was okay.
My first experience was getting the bottom two teeth out, by a maniacal demon sent to the surface in the form of a kindly older man who said, “Oh yours are fine, I could take them out in the office, no problem”. So he proceeded to. He numbed me up, gave me a valium or a xanax or something along those lines and set to drilling and pulling and yanking and finally, two and a half hours later he pronounced my bottom teeth removed. I was the only one in the office by then, I think my screams and swearing (it’s amazing how much you can swear while two people have their hands and various instruments at the back of your mouth) drove the rest of the patients and some of the hygienists out. He sent me home with instructions and gauze.
So the following day, a Saturday, while I’m still under the influence of the wonders of modern chemistry, the dentist calls.
Yes. The dentist calls. Me. He calls ME, on a Saturday morning. A morning when most normal dentists are sleeping in, or doing dentist-y things like golfing or driving sports cars or waking up next to underwear models saying “look, I paid you, go home now, I’ve got to go to the country club and I have to wash the gold-digger off of me first!”
So this dentist calls my house and says, at nine in the morning, “Hey, are you busy?”
No, I’m not busy, I’m bleeding through my gauze and feel like you removed my teeth with a 3/8″ Dewalt Drill bit. What am I going to be doing? Playing Golf? Driving a Sports Car? Washing the Skank off after a night with a Percocet-addicted underwear model? “No, doc, I’m not”
“How about come on down to the office,” He says. So I go, because when the dentist calls you at 9am on a Saturday and says, “Come on down to the office”, you go. Why? Several things run through your mind:
- He fucked up.
- He has been thinking all night that he might have fucked up
- He has been thinking that he may have fucked up enough that he needs to see you to make sure he DIDN’T fuck up
- He’s concerned enough that he fucked up that he’s pushed back driving his sports car to the club to play golf, in order to open the office himself and see you on a Saturday morning
- The visit’s going to be free, because he called YOU, and not the other way around, so why not go on down there?
So I go, he looks me over, says, “Yep, I was a little concerned (see #3 above), but you are looking good, so go home and rest.”
Fast Forward Six Years or more later:
My top teeth are fully in, and have been since the bottom ones were removed. The maniacal demon that removed my bottom teeth had wanted to remove the top ones after I recovered, and I told him in no uncertain terms what he could go and do with himself.
My new dentist also expressed concerns, saying “You’re going to get cavities on those top wisdom teeth, because they aren’t chewing against other teeth, so if food gets on them, it doesn’t come off as fast.”
I saw an oral surgeon guy in October of 2014, and he said, “Oh I can pull those right here in the office.” I should have remembered my last wisdom-teeth-in-the-office experience, but that was years ago and this guy is a surgeon. He should know what he’s doing, and $250 to pull some teeth sounded a HELL of a lot better than what I would have to pay to have it done in a hospital. I’m a guy, I’m cheap, and I owed Minnie Mouse her Alimony once again. I’ll never get that bitch paid off. You’d think I had married her and she caught me on Ashley Madison or something.
So back in January I was to have the teeth out, but had to spend around $1000 on brain tests instead, so the teeth had to wait. It turns out that in fact, I DO have a brain, and dentist #2 was right. Late in July I was eating something and felt a crunch on my right wisdom tooth (#1 or #16, I don’t know… I never could read teeth charts), and the Grand Canyon of cavities opened up in the side of the thing. It was gross, to say the least. I could stick the side of my tongue into it. Which is a bad thing to do when theres a giant hole in your tooth, because sooner or later it starts hurting like hell, and usually sooner than later.
I called the oral surgeon guy again, and was told, “You need to come next week, bring $250, and someone to drive you home.”
Great. So I show up at my appointed time, and fill out the forms. They take me back at 8:40. All the way back. Like, as far away from the patient waiting area as you can get and still be in the same building, back. I’m thinking, “These guys know how to do it. No screams running off new patients here.” The nurse gets busy, tells me to sit in the chair (which I notice has straps on the arms. Why are there straps on the arms? I sat in the Electric Chair once*, that’s the only other chair I’ve ever sat in that had straps on the arms, and this isn’t a comforting feeling), and tilts me back. She jams two of those extra-long q-tips on wood sticks in my mouth with some type of topical painkiller on them that’s supposed to taste like cotton candy. Instead it tastes like burning gums and makes me salivate like Pavlov’s dogs. That was some nasty stuff.
She wanders out and leaves me in a pool of my own sweat and tears and drooling (not in a good way), and all I can hear is quiet, and Jesus music on the radio. As if the experience isn’t bad enough already, I have to listen to religious music while a guy comes at me with pliers. If Jesus is so good and gracious, why doesn’t he zap my teeth with his magic wand and make them fall out? Does he even have a magic wand? That would be cool…
So the dentist comes in a few minutes later. He looks at me and I update him on my medical changes, including what I’m now taking as a result of my $1000 brain tests. He gives me prescription for Percocet and an Antibiotic, then gets right to work. He comes at the side of my face with this needle/syringe combo that looks like something out of a 1920’s sci-fi/horror flick and says, “Big stick”. He puts it to the side of my gum on the outside of my wisdom tooth and I’m immediately struck by an odd sensation.
That cotton candy anesthetic stuff works about as good as it tastes. I think he’s trying to get to the inside of my nose with that needle. Its over in a couple of seconds, and then he comes at the same tooth from inside the roof of my mouth. “Little stick” he says.
First, to get a good measure of what this feels like, put your finger in your mouth. Tap the roof of your mouth. What does it feel like? Bone. Thats what it feels like. Solid bone, with a little piece of muscle or tissue covering it, less than the thickness of a slice of bacon. Don’t start thinking about bacon yet. Stay with me.
So he says, “little stick” and heads for the roof of my mouth. I’m thinking, “Where the hell is that thing going?” And I find out: He’s trying to scratch the back of my eyeball from inside my skull. It’s all over pretty quickly, too.
Then he does the other side. Oh yeah, We’re getting TWO teeth removed, on OPPOSITE sides of the mouth, so two more shots later, and he’s ready to begin the real work. The nurse comes at me with a green towel. I’m like, “Hey, what’s with the towel?”
“We don’t want to get anything into your eyes,” she says. Oh. I’m cool with that. Not getting stuff in my eyes is right up there with not having giant needles poked into my skull through my gums, and I already failed in that today. So, I relax and she tosses a towel over my eyes like I’m a parakeet. I seriously just think they don’t want me seeing whatever pliers they are coming at my teeth with, because if the patient saw them, they might need those straps on the chair.
So I’m laying in a chair with straps, with a towel over my eyes and the dentist tells me I’m going to feel a lot of tugging and twisting, like they are trying to pull my face off. It’s cool, I’ve had this done before. In my teen years I had to have two teeth pulled to make room for braces. The doctor didn’t get me quite numb enough and when he twisted there was a crack and I screamed bloody murder. He turned white, I told him to hurry up, and he snatched it out. I was hoping this would go better.
He comes at my Grand Canyon tooth first. I feel a lot of pressure, a little twist, and hear a very dull crunch in the background. All over in less than thirty seconds. Then he comes at my other tooth, and I figured he must have given up on the first one, possibly because of the cavity in the side, maybe he didn’t want to break it off. He grabs the left one: pull, twist, pressure, and the tooth drops onto my tongue.
“You’re finished,” he says, as nurse lady whips the towel off and jams cotton into my mouth. “that’s it?” I reply, thoroughly nonplussed. I point to the right side and he says, “yes, all done”. Then he runs out to get coffee, and my wife comes in. They give me all my instructions and send me home. Less than forty-five minutes in the office, including time to fill out the paperwork. Now that’s getting some teeth removed. Then I got to stay home from work for two days and take Percocet, which is a fun way to drunkenly pass the time while you spit blood for a few days around your mouth gauze that’s essentially just tooth-tampons.
*About the electric chair: In case you missed that entry and I’m too lazy to find it and link it here.
Yes, I really sat in the Electric Chair. It was in the Broad River Correctional Facility in Columbia, South Carolina sometime in 1994. I was on a prison tour with a corrections class in college as part of my major. We toured death row, and part of the experience was the actual “death house” where they carry out sentences in the electric chair. It was a very modern facility at the time, clean and well kept, washed and and painted. The chair was a wooden construction sitting on a 4″ rubber mat.
The woman giving the tour showed us everything, talked about the procedures and how it all worked. Right before leaving the room, she asked if we had any questions. I asked to sit in the chair. She gave me a strange look and said yes, and I sat in the state’s electric chair. The last person to sit in that chair and not get up was Pee Wee Gaskins, and the next person after me was Larry Gene Bell, both quite nasty people who deserved what they got. We didn’t joke about it, we treated the experience with the respect and morbidity it deserved, and I described what the chair felt like. It was a hard wooden chair with a leather seat, more comfortable than you would think it would be. When I was later asked why I would ask to sit there, I thought about it and said, “Really, how many people get to say they’ve sat in the electric chair?”