A few days ago, a thought occurred to me and made me wonder if all the wisdom of a person could possibly be kept in those four extra teeth that will emerge from a person’s mouth. We call it wisdom teeth though I do not know why. Having them does not seem to make anybody wiser at all. In fact, it proved to be a nuisance to some people whose jaws seem to be unable to carry all that teeth without the risk of harming the other teeth that had been there first. What if it was taken out then? Would it mean that the person loses all his wisdom? What if though, by doing so would bring about the release of all the wisdom a man may have been keeping in these four teeth and giving it the freedom to enter man’s consciousness thus making him a wiser man in the end? It was a funny thought but a thought which I liked all the same for it sounds like a beginning of a good story.
My story however, for now, threads on the waters of reality rather than fiction. I had been earnestly thinking on when I will have the strength to write about it but I do now. After days of much rest (as required by the doctor,) I am finally able to narrate what happened to my wisdom teeth.
Easily guessed, they were pulled out – all four of them. I have never had any of my teeth pulled before so this was a first for me. To how I got to this situation began when I had my teeth cleaned by our dentist and family friend. He suggested that I have my teeth x-rayed which I did and it showed that my wisdom teeth were impacted. (Did I get the spelling right? At least that’s how it sounded.) It meant that they were emerging diagonally and on the brink of hitting the permanent molars beside them instead of the usual way they should – straight and beside my molars. He referred another doctor who would do the surgery for me for a lower price than the usual 10k charge per tooth and was due to be done last Wednesday.
Came Wednesday and I plus another patient, this time an elderly woman who liked talking a lot, went with my doctor to the hospital where I would have my surgery done. We were there since 10am but my procedure began only at 2pm. Hours of waiting were spent on texting my parents, talking with the nice elderly woman, and reading the book I had brought, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love. It was a favorite of mine and reading it passed the time well enough for me to forget that I was there for an operation – even if it was just a dental one. Finally, it was 2pm and my dad had still not arrived. I proceeded to sit on one of the chairs and the surgery began. My doctor and the new doctor, a nice female one, suggested that I only have two taken out first because I might not be able to bear it but in the end, I thought I could have all four taken out and out they all came.
Now for the interesting part, I would like to describe what she (the new doctor who did my surgery) did to my teeth with the help of another lady assistant. They were both dentists but the other was only there to assist in placing the straw-like thing that sucked the blood and saliva in the right places. She was also there to hold my head in place whenever I cannot hold it in place on my own. So now the surgery began on the right side. Cotton dipped on a bitter liquid was rubbed on the areas where the anaesthesia will be injected. The anaesthesia was next – one of the most painful episodes for me. It was injected four times and I could feel it spreading from my veins and spreading to parts of right cheek. Afterward, my right cheek felt thick and I was unable to close my mouth fully even when the doctor told me to do so.
What happened next was having some metal thingy that knocked on my tooth continuously. It did not hurt but I felt the way it boxed or hit that area of my mouth over and over again. Then a drill was produced which began making whizzing sounds against my teeth. There was blood and I could tell because some of them were on the glasses of my doctor. I closed my eyes most of the time but there were times when I opened them to take a look at her and her assistant. After that drilling, my tooth was knocked out again and again with the same metal thingy till it finally gave up and was pulled out. That part brought tears to my eyes when my upper right tooth was being taken out because the friction on my skin was too painful – all that pulling and rubbing on the side of my mouth. They were gentler on my left side after that.
The suture took the longest (what I keep hearing them call it.) It’s the stitches actually and they did more than one till they were satisfied. By the time the first tooth was taken out, my dad has arrived according to my real dentist (who was also there to supervise) and who waited patiently till I was done. All these things happened four times till at last it was over and they made me bite on two moist gauzes to absorb all the blood. The operation lasted for three and half hours ending at 5:30pm. I was laughing by that time, glad it was over and at the same, finding it humorous that I could not feel most of my lower mouth or move it that much due to the anaesthesia. I thought I looked funny and when I checked in the washroom, I actually did! My dad was wondering why I was laughing when I had just gone through a difficult physical ordeal. I guess that how it is, when the hard part is over, one cannot help but give a hearty laugh.
On the way home, the anaesthesia wore off and I started feeling the pain. I fell asleep because of that but without forgetting to take mefenamic acid first, a painkiller. I woke up when we were already at home and that’s when I saw my mom who looked relieved to see me. She was worried, being a mom and all that, and she said that she kept praying that everything will be all right. She praised me (everyone did) for being brave and have all four taken out the same day. I did not feel brave but I felt certainty when I chose to do it, praying to God while my teeth were being pulled out. I had been absent both Thursday and Friday, resting and doing all that I can not to be stressed over anything. I was not allowed to travel long distances or carry heavy things – stuff that may cause bleeding again – so I was stuck at home. Not that I complained because I knew I needed the rest too. I realize it now.
I am not allowed to eat warm or hot food and only those which are easy to swallow such as ice cream or soup. I cannot swallow nor slurp so I had to treat all my food as if it was like water – letting it pass through my tongue and straight to my throat. Imagine how my choices have become limited in an instant. I could not open my mouth or smile that much as it pains me when I try to exert more effort. I had to put cold compress for the first 24 hours which shifted to warm compress after. For a funnier (and perhaps cuter) physical but temporary change, my face had become swollen making me look like I had chubby cheeks or perhaps resembled that of a chipmunk’s face. They all said it suited me (perhaps to make me feel better or perhaps they really thought so) and claimed I looked more charming and resembled my mom more. My dad was the only exception who saw me and laughed before saying, “MONAY!” (a kind of bread which was very round)
The before and after version of me (taken through my webcam)
PS. I suddenly thought how amazing those people are who are able to endure having their teeth pulled out during moments of torture. Imagine that – they didn’t have anaesthesia and even when I had that, I felt pain. What more for these poor people who didn’t? They had their teeth pulled out yet they endured it all to protect the things they believed in or to keep their secrets forever a secret. What trauma it must have been for them and the endless pain over the days that followed when they had been left alone without any painkiller to comfort them before the next torture happens. The thought of it all makes me sad.