Wisdom Teeth Aren’t So Smart After All
For nearly half a century, I managed to hang onto them. But now, after much insistence from my dentist, I’m finally without my wisdom teeth.
By the time I graduated from college with all four of my wisdom teeth intact, I thought I’d lucked out.
I’d heard the horror stories from my classmates, all of whom looked like woodchucks after having wisdom teeth extracted. I’d seen the YouTube videos of people saying outrageous things under extraordinary amounts of anesthesia.
I thought I’d somehow escaped such a distasteful fate.
But I was wrong.
It turns out that while my wisdom teeth all managed to come in straight and none wrapped themselves around bone or did any of the other peculiar things they might be known for. There was no immediate need to remove them.
I have an extreme, nearly irrational fear of the dentist and a phobia about anything in the mouth. (Same goes for the eyes, but that’s another story.)
So I managed to go for more than 14 years without visiting one. By the time I met a friend who just happened to be a dentist and promised he could get me back on track and be very gentle, I had enough plaque buildup, especially back around the wisdom teeth, that I had developed periodontal disease.
It turns out those wisdom teeth, because of their position so far back in the mouth, present a real problem for most everyone, my dentist says. It’s nearly impossible to reach all the way back there to clean sufficiently with most toothbrushes, and I have the fancy-schmancy electric sonic variety that my dentist wholeheartedly recommends.
More and more people who didn’t have them out in their teens are now having them out in their 20s, 30s and even 40s, my hygienist says.
Well, who knew?
Still, there are more appealing ways I might like to revisit the days of my youth than tooth extraction.
So for the next few days, I will be blogging with lots of gauze, salt water and plenty of soup until I’m cleared to eat solid food.
As for the outrageous things said under anesthesia, fortunately, if I did say anything untoward, my escort home from the surgery, my dad, was the only one who heard it: he has no idea how to operate a smartphone so there can be no recording of such remarks.
Thank goodness for small favors.