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2010: the year of the teeth

March 8, 2010

This post is going to be long and it’s not about sewing. Well, it is a bit. It’s about why I’ve been so present and active in January and just as absent eversince.

It all began last November, when I went to the dentist because, well it feels weird to say it but I was teething. One of my right-side wisdom teeth was trying to come out. My dentist didn’t even have to make an X-ray to see that there was no room in my jaw for the extra tooth. She advised me to have it extracted. Actually, she advised me to have all of them removed, one side at a time. She also said I’d rather have it done after Xmas so I could enjoy the holiday and eat whatever I want. Wise woman. A couple of weeks later, I went to the orthodontist to have an X-ray done in preparation of the surgery. He told me the exact same thing (no room in jaw). He also showed me on the X-ray that the bottom tooth was crooked and pushing on the neighbouring tooth, and that the nerve ran juuuuust under its root, so that he’d have to be careful during the surgery. He also said something I was hearing for the third time, that people of african descent are “real people” who tend to have “real teeth” i.e. teeth that don’t let themselves get extracted so easily. Experience talking right there. I made an appointment for January, riiiiiight after the holiday.

D-day came. I had planned to stay home two, at the most three days after the surgery. Yes, I was going to have two teeth extracted on a Monday and be back to work on the Wednesday of Thursday. Silly girl. The surgery turned out to be horror. He started with the bottom tooth. I think the only thing he didn’t try to get it out is pulling on it with his foot against my cheek. He ended up having to break it in three and remove each piece separately. I was under anesthesia, but I felt most of it. Oh the pain. From my jaw into my ear. At some point I was stamping my feet from pain. He was mortified and so sorry but kept pulling. I swear I have no idea how the seamen underwent this kind of procedure without anesthesia. My only explanation is that they’d eventually pass out from pain. Anyway… The upper tooth got extracted relatively easily and I was sent home with pain killers. I spent the week home. My jaw was so painful I could barely open my mouth i.e. I was unable to eat, speak, laugh or yawn. Barely able to give a kiss to DD or read her a goodnight story and forbiding her to stroke my right cheek. The funny thing was that although I felt pain deep in my jaw (later the orthodontist said it’s bone pain) and upper right gum, the bottom right gum and the right half of my chin and bottom lip was painless. More than painless: numb. Anyway, after a week home literally licking my wounds and sewing like cu-ra-zy to distract myself from the pain and numbness, I went back to work, despite permanent pain. And bone pain is a b*, believe me. From that point on, I was just functioning. Trying to get the work done and have enough energy to still be a mom to DD in the evening. I didn’t do anything else, which explains why I have hundreds of mails to sort out and read through. If my rent wasn’t a standing order I’d probably live under a bridge by now. That’s how bad it was. Over the next few weeks and I visited the othodontist several times. He said the numbness was probably due to a lesion to the nerve. When asked how long it’d take to heal, he first said he didn’t want to play prophet. When asked again, he said something like 6 months. When asked again, he said something like a year. Eventually I stopped asking. I also ended up with a unilateral bacterial sinusitis that demanded a few visits to the ORL and turned out to be a complication of the surgery.

My chin and lip are still numb but I notice it’s getting better. And the pain is finally gone. Honestly, between giving birth and a tooth extraction, I’d pick giving birth anytime. At least afterward you have a kid in your arms and tons of euphorising endorphins in your veins. The upside: I’m SO glad I didn’t have both sides (right and left) done at once as my dad suggested. The downside: the left one MUST be done and I WILL have it done rather sooner than later, because I’m convinced the more I wait, the worse it’ll be.

As I thought everything was said an done a couple of weeks ago, DD got the intestinal flu. And I took such good care of her that I caught it a couple of days after hers was over 😦

If you’ve read up to this point you deserve to be rewarded.

This is what my dentition looks like at the moment:

If you look at the previous picture squinting long enough, you should see following outlines:

The red outline is the bottom right tooth (the picture is reversed) and the yellow line is the nerve that is causing the numbness. How cool is that? I find it fascinating to see a part of my body on a picture. Reminds me of the pregnancy ultrasound 🙂


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