Wisdom Lost

When I was growing up I loved going to the dentist every six months. Since brushing our teeth was part of the morning and nightly routines in our household, I typically left the dentist with flying colors. No cavities, no plaque build up and no worries. Occasionally, my dentist would remind me to floss more often but that was about it. I had regular fluoride treatments as a child and was lucky enough to have the braces “ordeal” over at a relatively young age. I left with sparkling teeth and some sort of prize (slap bracelets, bouncy balls, plastic rings, etc). Needless to say, I love the dentist… That is, until now.

When I was younger my dentist would recommend that I have my wisdom teeth out. I never really saw a need for it because they didn’t hurt, my older sister and dad both still had theirs and they were fine, and I honestly didn’t want to take time off swimming for the surgery. Also, we didn’t have dental insurance so it seemed like a lot of money to spend on something I didn’t see a point to doing. So I went along and kept all of my teeth in my mouth.

With my first job came dental insurance. I thought a little more about getting my wisdom teeth out but none of my dentists told me that it was necessary to get them out. Years passed without the need to get my wisdom teeth out, until a month ago.

I went to a new, very highly recommended, dentist in NYC. I scheduled a routine cleaning and was super excited to experience this top-notch doc. At my cleaning, he suggested that I fix a filling I have on my lone baby tooth (yes, I still have a baby tooth – it is building massive interest with the tooth fairy). The filling was put on years ago to keep the tooth strong (no because I had a cavity!) but it needed to be fixed. Ok – no big deal. But then he recommended that I also get at least one of my wisdom teeth out. I questioned this to see if it was necessary or just a ploy to get money.

Unfortunately, my wisdom tooth was half exposed and food was getting caught under the gums and it had started to decay. The tooth would need to come out at some point and now seemed as good as ever. So I scheduled an appointment to get both wisdom teeth on my right side out last Friday. As someone who hasn’t had much medical trauma in their life, I was kind of excited about the whole procedure.

My dentist took out the top tooth in literally 10 seconds. Unfortunately, the bottom tooth was impacted. It took 40 minutes, drilling and cutting into my jaw to get thing one out. I had a couple shots of novocaine but I was awake during the extraction and could hear the tooth cracking and bring ripped out of my gums. It wasn’t the best experience I have had in a dental chair. I left the office with s new sort of “toy” – a prescription for Vicodine. I spent the weekend resting and in a bit more pain than I expected. My cheek swelled up so I looked a little like a chipmunk and I was very tender, which I found out when Matt accidentally hit me in the face (nice work Matt).

I work up this morning still swollen and decided to work from home for the morning so that I could ice my cheek and get it down to a more normal size. When I went into work at noon today, I thought I was looking pretty good.

Unfortunately my boss and co-workers felt differently. After laughing at me, they started to feel bad and kept offering me Advil. After two hours my boss looked at me and said, “ok, you really need to go home. Your face is seriously disturbing me.” I laughed a little until I realized that she wasn’t joking. I was being kicked out of work for being too disfigured. As I walked out, my boss said, “please get some rest and don’t come back until that swelling is gone.”

I guess it is nice to know that my work cares so much about my well being, but I can’t help shake the feeling that they were looking after their own…

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