I went to the dentist for a broken tooth in early June. They found that I also needed to have some wisdom teeth and back teeth pulled at the same time as the broken tooth, so they had to refer me to a specialist oral surgeon for the extractions. It took four weeks for the dental insurance company to authorize the procedure and inform us by mail, even though it was a dental emergency. 😮
So, I spent the past several weeks dealing with varying degrees of tooth pain, which is kind of not an experience that I care to repeat. We checked the mail every day, and finally received a letter from the dental insurance company on the 27th. The following scene occurred:
Mrs E: We just got a letter from them! ::hands me the letter::
Me: YES!!! ::opens letter::
Mrs E: Well?
Me: It’s the July bill.
Mrs E: ::facepalm::
We got another letter on June 30th or so, however, and that one was the authorization for the extractions. I don’t think people normally get excited about being able to get their teeth pulled, but it might as well have been Christmas as far as I was concerned. The oral surgeon’s office had received the authorization on the same day and set us up for an appointment on July 3rd, so wheels were finally turning.
I didn’t really have much idea of what to expect. I’d had a total of two dental experiences in my entire life that I could recall–one as a kid where I got my teeth cleaned and received a coloring book extolling the virtues of flossing 144 times a day, and then the initial appointment that I mentioned in the first paragraph of this blog post. For all I know, the oral surgeon throws on a blacksmith’s apron and an executioner’s hood and then goes to town on the offending teeth with an angle grinder or something.
The actual process was, surprisingly enough, rather civilized and there was far less blood, screaming, and power tool usage than I expected. They put me in the chair, wired me up to a blood pressure monitor, stuck an intravenous line into my hand, and shot me full of antibiotics and anesthetics. Once my brain was firmly convinced that I no longer had a face or a head to speak of, they pulled all six offending teeth in less than 10 minutes. All I felt was some vague crunching and snapping sensations and an occasional spike of very minor pain. My mouth was then stuffed with gauze pads and I was discharged with a prescription for Norco and some gauze pads.
My entire jaw was comically swollen and I had absolutely no sensation whatsoever. I drove Mrs E crazy by constantly poking my numb cheeks and giggling. My tongue felt like it was four times its normal size whenever I tried to move it, and I had to communicate exclusively by writing down my comments on paper or texting.
Once the anesthetics wore off, I felt like I’d gone a few rounds with a professional boxer and lost badly. 😆
I also spent pretty much all of the first day and a half with teabags and gauze pads stuffed into my mouth to control the bleeding. By Friday evening, I didn’t need the gauze anymore and was able to eat chunky soups and soft foods, so things are going well. I’m really happy that I won’t have to deal with that toothache anymore!