Saturday, August 2, 2014

Minus Four Wisdom Teeth

So, I got my wisdom teeth out on Thursday. I've had them in for about ten years now--they came through when I was in college--but they're in perfectly straight and they've never caused me any pain. Dentists have told me I need to get them out because my mouth is way too small for them, but I've put it off, primarily because I've never had dental insurance, and also, who wants to volunteer for surgery without significant motivation?

But we have dental insurance now, and they did need to come out, and the dentist convinced me it would be okay for breastfeeding because he would just give me standard post-C-section narcotics (presumably safe to nurse with), and I would only need local anesthetic.

That's right. Local anesthetic. So, basically, being wide awake while someone puts multiple shots into my mouth, and then holding my mouth open while four teeth are extracted.

But, I bit the bullet and scheduled it. Because sometimes you just have to.

It was unpleasant, not gonna lie. It's disturbingly easy to remove teeth--just a little bit of pulling and shoving, and out they pop. Or, at least, three of them did. The fourth was a bit more stuck--the dentist accused it of having "very long roots"--and it took pulling, shoving, and a fair bit of drilling. Eventually, I took to just closing my eyes. Because I wasn't in pain (twelve shots will do that to you), and I wasn't even that uncomfortable, but watching the dentist approach the inside of my mouth with various torture devices was a bit much. I still have no idea what the drilling was all about. I know it required three stitches to repair. But, I wasn't about to ask him.

Also, teeth sometimes crack when they are being pulled. I had been warned about this, but I thought I could handle it, seeing as how I wouldn't be feeling them cracking. But, it turns out, the body has a very visceral reaction to hearing its own bones breaking, even if no pain was involved. It was gross, memorable, and will now haunt my nightmares. As will the smell of something burning during the drilling episode.

It was funny, however, how much they expected me to communicate with them during the surgery. Not just yes-no questions either. They would ask me if I felt pain, or just pressure, or a little bit of both? They asked me how old my kids were. While my difficult tooth was being drilled, the dentist squirted a lot of water in, and most of it ended up lodged over my tracheal opening. When I politely indicated that something was wrong, they started asking me all sorts of questions about what, exactly, I was feeling. Pain? Pressure? Coldness? Sharpness? Bad sound effects? My mouth was completely numb, and wedged open, with a drill inside. Unfortunately, there isn't a convenient hand sign for "Chinese water torture."

My recovery has been pretty easy, though. I was on Vicodin for a day, and it was gross. I felt awful while taking it, so I've just been on ibuprofen since. Andrew has been home to help with the kids, which means I can just rest, which is bliss. I haven't been too swollen, and I've been able to talk.

And the kids have been sweet about it, too. Sylvia is kind of missing me, since I'm not supposed to lift her, but Peregrine has some basic understanding of what's going on. When I first came home, all numb and unable to talk, he put his arms around my neck and started singing "Rockabye Mommy" to me (actually, he started with "Rockabye Peregrine" and then realized that he was in the caretaker role, not me).

However, small child understanding only goes so far. Later that afternoon, after snuggling in bed with me for awhile, he nodded and me gently and said, "Mommy, get up and decided to give us dinner."

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