September 26th, 2010

Doc Brown


"I don't know why you wait so long to get these things taken care of!" my wife scolds.

Assessment. I like to assess things. Sure there's my two arch-enemies "Time" and "Money." But sometimes they become collateral foes in my struggle for data collection. And its part escalation, too. You don't want to run to the dentist every time you have a minor discomfort. They come, they go. But sometimes they stay, and will occasionally get worse. Having a tooth pulled isn't usually my first answer to things - I seemingly have so few left:

When I was in braces as a child, they pulled two - to allow for straightening, you see. Then in Korea as a young man, I had my four wisdom teeth removed - see those voids at both ends of my upturned Joker's smile? And more recently, I lost two teeth in the battle I won against periodontal disease - another casualty of my childhood braces. And while I was the least happy about those (the most visible, speaking out of pure vanity) they played a part in the waiting game I had with the eventual extraction of my molar.

But I'm not here to bitch. Quite the opposite, as I had a wonderful, dare I say, pleasant experience at the oral surgeon, and feel a new man because of it. In an efficient, professional encounter, I was x-rayed and sat in a chair facing a flatscreen of my jaw when the doctor came in and saw everything he needed to know about me from that single high-resolution photograph, the very one I have provided here for you.

"I see that you have a problem with your #15 molar - the dark area extending to the surface of the tooth must be very painful. This tooth is what we call, "non-recoverable" because its sitting up in your sinus - that's the white line intersecting your root there - and we'll be unable to perform a root canal. The only thing to do is to pull it." He went on, "I see that you've had periodontal disease, but that you've beaten it - your gums look very heathy - see that space between your molar and the tooth next to it? I should be able to get my tool in there, loosen the tooth, and it'll just pop out, because your root is what I calll 'snowcone shaped' which makes that easy." He explained possible complications, and how he would fix those, and other unknowns which may further add levels of difficulty to the procedure, and thus my recovery time. But none of that happened.

An appointment was made for the next day. I was in, under, and out all in about twenty-minutes.

So I've been on soup, mashed potatoes, applesauce, jello, pudding, yogurt and ice cream for three days, and a strict regiment of 10/325 vicodin...But the sheer joy of not having the pain of brushing teeth, or eating or drinking items which are too cold, too hot, too sweet, too salty, too ANYTHING, is magnificent. There is no more fear of food and the immediate pain it may cause.

I don't know why I waited so long to get this taken care of :P

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