Today was one of those days. We started out at our GP to get test results. I was collecting x-ray results of my jaw (TMJ) to see if that was anything to do with the recurring pain I had been having throughout two months of sinus infections and unspecified viruses was related.
FYI – this post is specific about dental procedures. If you’re squeamish, don’t read it!
The x-ray came back clear, my joint was fine. I had managed to luck my way into the public dental clinic with an emergency appointment, less than two weeks after the appointment was made.
I wasn’t planning on working today, but had been called in. I dropped the husband home after the GP and drove to the dentist, planning to leave from there to go to work.
I gave the dentist my recently jaw history and explained some of the severe trauma I had in my face/head/teeth as a child.
He started looking at my teeth and the only possible source of pain he could see was my very awkward wisdom tooth, which had apparently gotten a hole in it where I couldn’t reach to brush it. Apparently down to the nerve. That explained why the pain was all around my jaw and not at a specific tooth.
He offered to take the tooth out. In theory this was fine with me. He said it was easy, very commonly done and I could drive home. I was nervous because I had never had a tooth taken out before and had heard that you can hear the grinding and feel the pressure. I had images in my head of cartoon-style yanking with someone’s foot on my face.
I agreed to do it (because why not) and he did a small x-ray to make sure the tooth was in the right place. It was.
I was getting a bit nervous by then but just trying to breathe evenly.
The first thing they did was put numbing gel on my tooth so that I wouldn’t feel the local anaesthetic injection. This was the worst part, because it easily spreads around your mouth, numbing your tongue (and your throat if you swallow enough of it, which I sort of did). It made me feel like I was constantly unknowingly choking on my own saliva. I was lying pretty far back at this point so they could see into my mouth, which compounded the choking feeling.
I think it was at this point that I started getting a little shaky. Mostly because of the weird choking thing… I had to stop a few times to spit and went through a lot of tissues. I managed to control my shakiness until after the local had been injected.
Then I lost control and started shaking a lot and crying. Apparently local anaesthetic has some adrenaline in it, so this isn’t uncommon. Probably compounded by the fact I was already nervous and slightly shaky from having a procedure done that was brand new to me!
The dentist and the dental assistant were wonderful, passing me tissues for spitting, crying and to keep the safety glasses from mushing my eyelashes. They stopped and let me calm down. The dental assistant asked if I had come with anyone so she could get them from the waiting room to be with me. At that point I really, REALLY wished I hadn’t left Ben at home so he could hold my hand!!
I was still tempted out of sheer nerves to pull out but seeing as I did calm down pretty quickly and had already been numbed, I figured there was no reason not to go ahead with it.
The actual pulling out wasn’t that bad. It was done fairly quickly and without even feeling a great deal of wiggling or pressure. The sound was a little odd but nothing that was disturbing. And it was all over quickly.
Obviously, I was bleeding a bit and chewing down on gauze. I got an after-care kit, including more gauze (and I’m still bleeding a bit an hour later as I write this, so may have to go buy more) and the best instruction in the world:
People, a medical professional has TOLD ME (ok, written on a generic care sheet) to eat cheese. Now that’s a command I can follow!
Naturally after a wisdom tooth removal, anaesthetic, crying and shaking I called my boss and let her know what happened, so I’m sitting at home with bloody gauze and tissues for the rest of the day now.
Hopefully the bleeding will stop soon, because it’s getting a little irritating! I’m wondering how much pain I’ll be in later too – I don’t know how long the local anaesthetic takes to wear off. Spitting up blood is now my wild Friday plan. Life as a blogger is so glamourous.
The dentist & dental assistant were both really very lovely, explained everything every step of the way and let me be in control of when I was ready to go ahead. Can’t ask for more. It’s nice to have a positive experience with the public health system sometimes!
Have you ever had a tooth taken out at the dentist? How did you deal with it?