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Pulling Teeth

A while ago my chiropractor was telling me how much she believes in the power of words. She was telling me about a guy she knew who always used to use the term “ball ache” and ended up having to have surgery on his testicles. Another guy always used to say “pain in the ass” and he ended up in hospital with…you guessed it…a pain in the ass. Stay with me. I’m going somewhere with this. Of late I have been using the expression “pulling teeth” fairly frequently. I would saying something like “trying to get feedback from x department on this query is like pulling teeth”. I shouldn’t have.

Remember 3 years ago, while I was pregnant with Gabby I had a root canal done? Well, of late I have been having similar pain on the same side. I went to have it checked out at the dentist, but I had pumped myself so full of pain killers he could not determine the source of the pain by tapping on my teeth. He tried to take x rays, but apparently I have super long roots and he tried several times and could not fit the entire root into the x ray. He did notice that there was a dark spot on the root canal tooth though and advised me to come back to have it seen to. The pain came back and went again. It kept coming back intermittently and one day while I had pain I tapped my teeth and managed to determine that it was in fact the tooth that had the root canal treatment that was causing the pain. I decided to go back and have the dark spot seen to anyway.

I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, describing the nature of the pain and the fact that it is intermittent. He agreed that it sounded like a root canal had failed. He took one look at the x ray he had taken before and said “Yup. It needs to come out.” I was panic stricken. I had never had a tooth extracted before. Surely this was going to HURT?! I sat shaking in the chair. I think I might have squeaked. He insisted everything would be fine, but was also willing to let me come back another day. I remembered promising myself 3 years ago if this tooth ever gives me any issues again I would just have it ripped out, so I told him to go ahead. I sucked it up.

He gave me several injections to numb the area. They didn’t hurt at all, there was one injection in my palate which he warned me would sting, but it wasn’t too bad. I remembered a former colleague had a tooth extracted and had pain for ages afterwards. He realized that the tooth had shattered when they pulled it and he still had pieces of tooth stuck in his gum which caused the pain. I asked my dentist to please make sure he didn’t leave any pieces behind. He assured me he would be using a technique that would prevent that. When I had the root canal done, in between appointments the tooth split in half and was filled again, meaning there wasn’t really much tooth remaining. I was worried that he wouldn’t have enough to grip onto with his instruments…I was worried about so many things actually. Then the one thing I wasn’t worried about happened…I heard my bones grind against each other. I still get shivers thinking about it. He was wiggling with something, then grabbed another instrument and said “I’m going to be busy for a few minutes, just bear with me”. Less than a minute later he triumphantly held my tooth out for me to see saying “Am I good or am I good?”. Honestly, I didn’t feel a thing. I was more scarred by the psychological aspect and the bone grinding sounds than by anything else. I had cotton wool shoved into the hole where the tooth used to be and was sent home with some instructions. After an hour of biting down on the cotton wool I was to replace it with a tea bag soaked in warm water with more cotton wool and after that I could remove it. I was instructed to rinse with salt water 3 times a day and not to suck on anything for a few days as well as not to smoke for 48 – 72 hours. Apparently even sucking on a straw can result in something called dry socket which is apparently excruciating.

I was surprised that it didn’t really hurt even after all the injections wore off. The next day it was a little uncomfortable and I took some mild painkillers to help with that. I managed not to smoke for almost the full 48 hours and kept smoking down to a minimum for the next 24. I also somehow managed not to suck on the spot where the tooth was or fiddle with it with my tongue. Anybody who has had a significant change in their mouth will know how hard that is!

I think I’m over the mental trauma of losing a tooth now, although I had trouble dealing with the thought of it. I am very fortunate that it is quite far back in my mouth and it isn’t really noticeable when I smile, at the very least. I had promised myself 3 years ago after having endless complications with the root canal and my tooth breaking, etc that I would pull it if it even gave me the least bit of trouble again, but it was still a little frightening. At least the extraction was a little cheaper than any kind of repairs might have been. All I can say is that I’m glad it’s over. I have previously had my wisdom teeth removed, which I had done under general anesthetic and the recovery was by far worse. There was a lot of pain post surgery and I looked like a chipmunk for a week at least. This was a lot better.

Have you ever had to have a tooth removed? I would like to hear what your experience was like, tell me about it in the comments below 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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