Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Joys of Monday

It's not every Monday that I get a tooth pulled. In fact many, many Mondays have gone by since I last had to have dental work of that calibre. This extraction was not a surprise, not any kind of emergency, it was scheduled, and I guess falls under general preventive maintenance or something. A while back a crown came off and took part of the tooth with it, the dentist decided the tooth had to come out. There was no rush, but eventually (in years) it would cause problems. So last July, at my last semi-annual checkup, cleaning and lecture from the dental hygienist, we scheduled it for Dec 1.

The procedure itself was not very painful, for which I am thankful. Novocaine, or whatever they use now to shoot into your gums to deaden pain, seems to work very well on me. Patti Anne has a harder time with it, and it doesnt seem to work very well on my father at all. I don't know how anyone could stand the pain of having a tooth extracted without something like Novocaine, but it was done that way for centuries, so I guess people managed.

Though the procedure wasn't painful, it also turned out not to be routine. You can just tell when things aren't going well, and I was thinking, the dentist doesnt have anyone else to fall back on. He's the only dentist there, so there is no one around with more experience, no one for him to grab and say hey look at this. If he decides he can't do this, I don't think he can just stop in mid-extraction and tell me to make an appointment with a dental surgeon or some other specialist - I'm not sure how that works, but I don't think that is the way things go. But he managed. It involved drilling and a little tiny back-hoe operated by little tiny construction workers, and eventually the tooth relinquished its position in my mouth.

Though I could tell things weren't going smoothly, I still felt no pain. It wasn't what you'd call comfortable, but nothing that would make me levitate either. The pain came after things wore off. But it's not that terrible as long as I'm careful, and I've got some pills I havent really had to take yet, and I probably wont. And today I re-entered the world of solid food, though I still have to be careful.

So, that's what I've been up to. Next month I have an appointment for my next semi-annual check-up, cleaning, and lecture from the dental hygienist.


Anonymous said...

In olden days you wouldn't have lived long enough to have this procedure. Life expectancy in Stone Age England was in the early
20s and it only increased a year or two in Roman times. Around 1200 AD, life expectancy was about 30. And, you'd not be going to the dentist, anyway. Probably the blacksmith.

A Valdese Blogger said...

Anon: Ah, but in olden days one of the things that caused such short life expantancies over all was infant and child mortality. In ancient Greece, at the time of Aristotle, if you managed to make it to 5 years old, you stood a very good chance of living into your 60's - the trick was making 'till age 5. But you are correct, life could be brutal and short - for most of history if you got a disease your body could not fight off, you'd just up and die, and up until sometime in th 20th century, the doctors pretty much helped you along.

And a blacksmith could probably do the job of pulling a tooth as well as anybody. Give you a couple of drinks of strong whiskey, have a couple strong assistants to hold you down, and he could yank that thing right out of there. Swish some more whiskey around as a disenfectant, give'em a couple of bucks and head back to your farm.

Martin MY said...

The old string and door trick used to be used when I was a kid, we hated going to thge dentist. Now, very much like what you go through, the only thing we hate about denstist now is the cost, that's enough to put anyone off regardless of the thought of pain.

Ivanhoe said...

Novocain works on me, too. I had it just twice though: When they were pulling my two wisdom teeth. But I went to the surgeon for that. Anyhow, I'm glad you're alright :o)

A Valdese Blogger said...

Martin: I remember my father pulling my baby teeth with a string too. The anticipation hurt a lot worse than the actual event. And you are right, even with insurance, a dental visit can be very expensive. I dread it.

Ivanhoe: Thank you!