Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Moment of Tooth

Well, I now have fewer teeth than I did yesterday. Or rather, I guess I have the same number, except four of them are now located in a Dixie cup.

The procedure went astonishingly well. In fact, despite all my worry, from my perspective there was nothing to it at all. The needle prick of the IV was not pleasant, but not watching helped, and it only hurt for a moment. Then the sedation drugs started making me feel very nicely calm... and then the only thing I seem to remember, until they told me I was all done, was a brief flash of people moving around me, talking among themselves in some cheerful, highly reassuring fashion about how good everything was going. Possibly that was right before I started to come out of it.

Now my jaw is starting to ache, which is not much fun, but I have Vicodin, so I can pretend that I'm Dr. House. I also had a very, very large milkshake, which was nice. I'm far less woozy than I expected to be, too, and I suspect to the extent that I am, a fair proprotion of it is due to the fact that I have had no coffee today.


  1. I only two of my wisdom teeth taken out, and I've always been amazed that all-four-at-once seems to be standard operating procedure, given how sensitive one side of my jaw was afterward. My procedure was much the same. I remember them telling me to count backwards, then almost immediately being told it was all over. I never felt like I fell asleep, just lost time. Of course, I had a pretty lousy reaction a few hours later when the anesthesia wore off and the nausea kicked in. But that, thankfully, was short-lived, and probably just a bad reaction to the anesthesia itself. But still, glad it all went well for you.

  2. Congratulations! So they took out all four in one go? That was bold of them. :) Presumably they told you what to do in the event of any bleeding?

  3. Glad you are doing well. We should swap liquid valium stories sometime.

    I found it ok to have coffee in my milkshakes... but only enough to kill the headache.

  4. You've made it! :-)

    I'm glad it's gone well. However common a procedure it is, it's still daunting, and I'm glad that both the result and the experience itself seem to have been ok.

    I hope you're able to take things easy, now...

  5. Fred: I think the idea behind doing all four at once is that at least you get it all over with in one go. Which I thoroughly approve of. Oddly enough, only one side of my mouth is really feeling at all sore at the moment. Probably because that's where the least-erupted tooth was.

    And if they told me to count backwards, I don't remember it. One moment, I was having a conversation about Star Trek -- I was wearing my ST t-shirt -- with the doctor's assistant, and then there was some vague impression of conversation around me, and then I was all done. No sensation of falling asleep at all. Just, as you say, lost time. It was remarkably... event-less.

    I didn't even have any nausea, and the anesthesia seemed to wear off a lot more quickly than I was expecting.

    JH: As Fred says, all four at once is pretty much S.O.P. They would have done them two at a time if I'd asked, but I really didn't want to do this more than once. Plus, I think my insurance only covers general anesthetic if you have more than two out at once.

    Smooge: I don't have much of a story, alas. That's pretty much it. (And I have no idea what it was they actually gave me.)

    I did finally drink some coffee to stave off the headache. Very lukewarm coffee.

    Paul: I made it!

    The idea was a lot scarier than the reality. You know how it is. Everybody wants to tell you horror stories. :) Plus I know that I'm a lot older than most people are when they have it done, and so I heal slower, plus the roots get deeper the older you get. But as long as the recovery goes with no complications, I think I'm pretty relieved about the whole experience.

    And I'm very much taking it easy. My mother doesn't even want to let me get up to get a drink or anything, so I have no choice but to rest. Which is find by me. I am feeling pretty lethargic. I'm just lying here on the sofa with a book and my laptop, and a couple of ice packs. :)

  6. I'm like Fred in that I only got to count three numbers backwards, but then I definitely remember the sensation of falling asleep, but extremely quickly. When I woke up, I kept trying to move my arm to see my watch, but I couldn't, and I couldn't ask what time it was because my mouth was packed full, but I finally was awake enough to mime asking what time it was, and my mom figured it out. It was the best sleep I'd ever had, and it lasted only 45 minutes. Oh, and...

    Hi, Mom!

  7. I hope that you're soon feeling 100%.

    I think that taking out at most two at one time is SOP here. I think that may be because most dentists, apart from those at hospitals, don't seem equipped to handle general anaesthetic. (That may have changed since I was a child, as I remember once having general anaesthetic in the late 1950s. It may be that the licensing procedures became more onerous - maybe it became necessary to have a fully qualified anaesthetist? - and most dentists decided that it wasn't worth it.)

  8. Captain C: Apparently I missed out on the best sleep of my life, because I don't remember any sleep at all. And I had no problem moving and talking as soon as I came out of it, although they wouldn't let me walk right afterward, and talking was just a little difficult around the gauze.

    And Mom says "hi."

    JH: Dentists aren't usually equipped with general anesthetic here, either, although I think sometimes they have nitrous oxide. They will do it without, though, if it's not too complicated an extraction. But it's usually not necessary to go to a hospital, just to an oral surgeon, because they do keep an anesthetist.

  9. Glad everything went well. Heal soon and listen to your mother.

  10. It's hard not to listen to her. She can be very insistent. :)

  11. I had mine out and went back towork, but they were pretty "normal" as teeth go. Not too bad...2 at a time a week apart so I could chew on the other side.

    My husband was put out and after a few days of painkillers and banana peanutbutter milkshakes was doing quite fine. He was told no straws for a few weeks and gargling with salt water...all in all not too bad. I hate dentists...and he's downright phobic, so it was all out for him. In a way I envied it...a lot shorter and simpler.

  12. I'm surprised, but very pleased by how well it's going for me. I'm definitely still in the "no straws, keep rinsing with salt water" stage. I may start cutting down on the painkillers, too. I have lots of unpleasant achiness when the medicine wears off, but no horrible screaming pain.

    And I loathe dentists, myself. I'm kind of a bad patient in general. So the general anesthetic was absolutely the way to go for me. It was an astonishingly non-traumatic experience.