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Yesterday I visited the dentist for some tooth work. Last year I put off having a crown repaired because it wasn’t painful nor did the tooth have a nerve in it, so I wasn’t too bothered about it. I also didn’t have enough money in my dental plan to deal with it. I told the dentist I was going to increase my dental plan and use it this year to fix all the problems. Ha! I remember the expression on the dentists face when I told him that. Leave a bad tooth in your mouth, are you nuts?

Three months on and Murphy’s law called upon me, since I have had some pain somewhere near or on that tooth. Just some throbbing every now and again, no stabbing pain when eating or drinking hot or cold food/drink, so I arranged a dentist appointment.
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The original tooth had root canal and was capped with a metal crown. I reckon it was done about 10 years ago by a dentist in Surrey Quays. The crown was now broken and had a hole right through the top and side, so my dentist wanted to investigate.

When he lifted the crown he told me he could some broken tooth was wedged between the crown and the gum, so that might be what was causing the pain. He said it could also be the root canal. He offered me three options;
– he could re-do the root canal, build the tooth up and cap it with a new crown (metal or white) although he couldn’t confirm if that would fix the problem OR
– he could pull the tooth out.
– With the tooth out he could fill the gap with a titanium rod and a false tooth anytime between now and six months.

Option 1 was the most expensive and time consuming, meaning multiple appointments to get the work done. I wasn’t keen on that idea as I have a few holiday trips planned in a few weeks, and that would be a problem.

Option 2, for tooth extraction sounded like the easiest solution for both of us.

Option 3 sounded great because it could be done anytime after option 2, when the gum had healed, and it would also give me time to think and decide if it was worth having done, since there would be a large gap between my teeth.

Option 2 it was. The dentist gave me a few numbing injections in and around the gum surrounding the tooth and then he got to work.

I’m 43 and the last time I had a tooth extracted was… well I don’t think I have had one extracted ever before, maybe when I was a toddler, but then it was normal to have baby teeth pulled out. So I wasn’t really prepared or expecting what was about to happen. I didn’t know either how they extract a tooth these days and I honestly thought it would be numbed and drilled out with ease. How naive I was? I probably should have researched it beforehand. The dentist didn’t really say much to me either, as he probably thought I knew. 

He started jabbing with what felt like an ice pick into the tooth, twisting it with some force. I could hear the tooth creaking under the pressure, or was that my jaw? There was no pain, but I could feel the pressure as he was pushing up.

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I was wondering why he was pushing up, instead of drilling or pulling. I was thinking if he just slipped suddenly, that instrument would go right up through the top of my jaw and come out through my nose, cheek or eye socket. You can imagine how nervous I was becoming.

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Then he got some pliers or forceps or something similar, gripped the tooth and said “open as wide as you can now”, and tried pulling it out with force. It didn’t budge.

By now my brain was working overtime and thinking of every horror story possible. The tv show “Sons of anarchy” that I have been watching recently had a scene where one of the gangsters had his teeth pulled out by a rival gang member… They just came out with ease, although it was a bloody mess. (Only on tv of course). Why was mine being so difficult? My hands, feet armpits, forehead started to sweat. I really wasn’t comfortable. He stopped and asked me if I was okay. I said I was, but trust me I was freaking out inside my head.

He started again with more stabs at the tooth, almost like he was trying to break it, which turned out to be exactly what he was trying to do. The tooth apparently has three branches or roots, that are sunk into the gum. Normally breaking one or two of these branches makes the tooth weak and the extraction easier. But not this time. He pointed out in my case the three roots were fused together, making it very tough to break. (Murphy’s law, he loves me NOT!).

He started drilling into it, which caused a lot of vibration. Then he used the pick to break a bit of tooth off. Then back to the drilling. This was taking some time.  I could smell the drill bit or tooth burning. Shame their were no diamonds in there, to make the drilling worth while (one thinks of strange things while lying on the dentist chair). He drilled it about 50 times, then stabbed it and pushed with so much force, I thought my jaw was going to snap.

Nothing worked. Given the tooth is like an iceberg, only 10 percent sticks out of the gum, you can imagine how difficult it is for me, trying to open my mouth as WIDE as possible while he drilled and applied pressure to the tooth to crack it into pieces.

Eventually he asked his assistance for a scalpel and told me he has to cut my gum away to expose the bone to give him a better angle to the tooth. My nerves were now shot. Was this normal? I was trying to think positive but I could see he was thinking of more options.

“It’s out Mike”, bloody hell, was I pleased to hear him say that. I could feel my mouth was full of blood, all I needed was a fresh celery stick, and I had my own bloody Mary drink. ?

He spent a few minutes stitching the gum where he had cut with the scalpel. I couldn’t feel the needle, but could see the nylon disappearing into my mouth and could feel him pulling the stitches together. Afterwards he made me bite onto something while his assistant cleaned up and he updated my file on the computer.
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When I eventually had a chance to rinse my mouth, I could see it was full of blood… And then it was all over. He mentioned that was a tough extraction. It made me think he hasn’t done one in a while, so at least Bowen made him work for his money. Ha ha!

He prescribed me a course of penicillin and told me to take Nurofen, as it would be painful after the numbness wore off. He also gave me some of these swab things I could bite on, if the bleeding started again and told me not to eat or drink for a few hours.

Walking back to the office got me thinking about how other folk have teeth extracted, like wisdom teeth, don’t they put people to sleep for those? Luckily my wisdom teeth are fine, you hear that Murphy! so I am not likely to have them extracted anytime soon.

I definitely don’t want to experience something like that again.

I got back to the office and noticed my mouth was still full of blood. I used one of those swabs, which quickly turned bloody. It looked like I was sucking on a bloody tampon. Time to go home.

The numbness wore off and was replaced with pain like the dentist said. Also my whole jaw is sore on both sides. The whole right side of my face is swollen, along with the gum where he cut. Not pleasant at all.

One thing I can say, the dentist was great, very professional despite the pain and anguish he put me through.  He called me today to ask how I was feeling and to tell me the tooth extraction was a tough one, so I am guessing that was not normal.