Monday, October 12, 2020

You can’t handle the tooth

Let me just say this now – toothache is not a lifestyle choice I would recommend.

Late last year I began having trouble with a tooth at the back. It was loose, rubbing against the one in front and giving me some discomfort. After a while my dentist said it would have to come out and an appointment was set for the following week.

Then lockdown hit here in the UK and dentists were ordered to lay down their drills and step away from the chair.

I was told I would have to live with it for now. And I did, manfully putting up with the pain. I’m a Scot. If we can put up with bagpipes, we can put up with anything. (Author’s note: I actually love the skirl of the pipes).

And then it went away and stayed away for a few months.

Then, suddenly, it came back. I bombarded it with painkillers. It vanished again.

You can’t keep a good pain down, however, for it returned and stronger than before. Then it stopped again.

It was as if it as playing with me.

Then, last Monday, it returned again while I was in picturesque Glen Trool in south west Scotland (I’ve included a photograph just so you can see what you folks are missing).

And this time it seemed personal. No painkillers could overcome it. It resisted all attempts to dull it down.

Frankly, I’ve never experienced pain like it. Yes, I know I should try child bearing but as I am a) not physically equipped for such an endeavour and b) not Big Arnie in ‘Junior’ I am unlikely to experience that so I have no frame of reference. Take my word for it, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being no pain and 10 being exposed to any kind of reality TV, toothache is a big fat 20.

All this means I wrote nothing for a number of days and the subsequent guilt stabbed at me in counterpoint to the ache radiating from my offending molar.  

I have managed to arrange an emergency appointment tomorrow – given I made it last Thursday clearly not much of an emergency but that’s the way of it at the moment. In the UK we are in a strange twilight world of not quite lockdown and dentists don’t offer full services.

That prospect now gives me something else to worry about. I haven’t had a tooth extracted since I was a child and I’m not ashamed to admit I’m terrified. I have visions of the dentist washing his hands carefully and then turning to ask me ‘Is it safe?’

I’m sure he won’t be drilling Szell-like into a healthy tooth but it’s amazing how powerful scenes from films – and of course William Goldman’s masterful book – stick in the mind. Especially with someone like me.

Seriously, though, I just want this damn thing out of my head. I’m certain there will be discomfort but that’s a small price to pay to stop this agony.

I’ve also been assured the process is painless but we’ll see about that when I bite him.


Anna said...

I had a molar extracted a couple of months ago. Trust me: it gets better. Recommend a recording of bagpipes (Highland Laddie, etc.) plus earbuds to soothe you during the procedure. Keep us posted?

Douglas Skelton said...

Thank you. It has now been extracted - impacted wisdom tooth, which was a surprise as I didn't think I had any wisdom at all!

Douglas Skelton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna said...

Scientific studies have shown that wisdom teeth function to keep wisdom itself bottled up (impacted). Removal of each wisdom tooth activates more wisdom. You are a lucky man.

Rick Blechta said...

I never got my lower wisdom teeth, and still have the two upper ones that both came in quite well.

All this leads me to assume a)I'm not as wise as I think I am (half-wise?), and b) I'm only wise about certain things.

My dentist keeps bugging me to have them extracted, but I always smile and answer, "They ain't broke, so why the need to fix 'em?"

Love the post! Thanks.