A Jar of Minds

Collecting thoughts in a container

Tooth Surgery (Part 1)

September 29, 2016 • Braces Life, English

“I want to take out all these four wisdom teeth, Mr. Fajar” said my dentist.

After listening to the explanations I agreed that there are more benefits to take out these late popping teeth. Both for my health and also for allowing more spaces to push back my teeth when doing braces. Alright so we arranged another appointment to do the extraction surgery.

Yes, it’s a surgery.

Two of my wisdom teeth on the lower jaw are partially covered by gum, so it couldn’t be taken out with normal extraction procedure.

The day before the said appointment date I got a phone call. “Hi Mr. Fajar, this is from Solaris Dental Center.” a person behind the line introduced, “We would like to remind you for tomorrow’s appointment at 2pm. Please have a big lunch before coming.” I remembered that voice was from the pretty young lady working at the receptionist desk there. And her signature closing “Thank you, bye…”

The first surgery in my life

On the appointed date I came to the dentist. I thought they are gonna take out all four teeth today. But no, it’s only one for today. Phew! I was both relieved and slightly annoyed. Because it means there is another surgery and extractions I have to attend for the next three.

I was brought to the X-ray room to scan my jaw. “Please stand here and bite this device.” said an assistant. After I positioned myself following the instructions, she told me to close my eyes during the process. I closed my eyes. I could hear she started the machine followed by a door closing. I didn’t feel a presence. Looks like they went out to avoid the x-ray light. The light must be dangerous, otherwise how could it see the bone through the flesh. I closed my eyes firm.

We checked out the scanned picture with the dentist. She told me the tooth she want to take out today. It’s the lower right wisdom tooth. Between the roots of the teeth there is a line along the joint of the jaw to the chin. “That’s the big nerve.” On the picture I saw the nerve is pushed a bit down by my wisdom tooth. This was a bit risky that the nerve might be touched when taking out the tooth. If it happened (I hope not) it would cause numbness around the chin and lips. Ah I remembered there’s a clause on the consent letter I needed to sign before the procedure. It’s quite a long list of risks and side effects that might happen during and after surgery. It sounds scary I tell you. But the dentist explain it line by line about the likeliness of each risk and side effect, why it could happen, and whether it is a temporary or permanent damage and how to treat it for recovery. She also convinced me about procedures to cope permanent risk such as nerve damage. If it is risky she would cut the root and leave it there. The leftover would not cause a problem because it is not a foreign object. And overtime the body might either move it to the surface and pop it out or merge it into the jaw bone.

All seemed OK and I trust my dentist.

These days I have been reading books about how important it is to surrender to life, live the moment, and let life reveal each moment without worrying or trying to control the future. I was relaxed. No, actually inside I felt excited. “This gonna be fun!” I thought.

This is the fun part. When I surrender myself to the moment, rather than anxiously thinking what’s gonna happen next, I was curiously embracing what’s gonna happen next.

First she injected anesthetics to the right side of my mouth. Then she let me rest for around 10 minutes. I felt my cheek becoming swollen. Actually it wasn’t. My cheek was still normal. I only couldn’t feel it. Occasionally she touched my cheek or my lip. “Can you feel the numbness here?” Then finally she poke inside my mouth. “Can you feel it?”

“No I can’t”

“Okay good.”

She let me to put on my headphone and play my favorite music. She understood that the drilling sound might be unpleasant to hear. By putting a headphone it could reduce the sound, but I could still hear it inside my head.

During the surgery I felt nothing but the pressure when she tried to pull. Sometimes I felt something wet on my tongue or on the other side of the cheek. I know this taste. It tasted like blood. But then it went away. I didn’t drink it. So where did it go? There is another device like a straw that is put inside my mouth. I think it was blowing something that made my mouth dry. Later I realized it’s not blowing but sucking. It sucks my blood and saliva so it’s dry.

She cut the top part of my tooth, then cut the rest into two so she could take out the root one by one.

I just focus listening on the music and stare blankly. Then she checked me, “Are you okay?” I can’t speak with my mouth open. I gave an OK sign with my hand. Then she continued drilling.

In the middle of the procedure I started feeling pain. It’s like a pain when you got a cavity and eating sweet food. “Is ain he..” I said. She give another anesthetic shot and rest for a few minutes before continuing. “Are you OK now?” Another OK sign from me.

It took about one hour to finish. Phew. So that’s how it is going on a surgery.

After it finishes I received a bunch of medicines and I took a painkiller before leaving the dentist center. Bye bye my tooth.

Post surgery days

The surgery itself is not the worst compared to the days after, as the dentist had warned me before. My cheek became more swollen. The first night when I was about to sleep, I could feel my jaw is replaying the surgery. I felt some pressure, drilling, being pushed and pulled, even though there’s nothing.

The next day I woke up to brush my teeth. I am trying to remember all the instructions to take care for my recovery. No gargling, no rinsing, brush gently. Alright.

I saw myself in the mirror and there was trace of blood coming out from my mouth. I might make a good vampire model who just had a good blood meal the night before! It’s perfectly normal to have some bleeding for one or two days.

I can only eat cold food and drink for these one two days. Back then the lady at reception desk told me to eat yogurt or ice cream. I bought both and have a feast to celebrate myself. Last dinner was nice even though it’s quite difficult to swallow the ice cream. I ate happily. Then another yogurt and ice cream for breakfast. Then another yogurt and ice cream for lunch. Then another yogurt and ice cream for dinner.

Okay that’s enough. I got sick of yogurt and ice cream now. By the day two I switched to ice porridge. I mean rice porridge put into freezer a few minutes before serving. I wonder if I could try something else. How about banana? It’s soft right? Nope, it was not soft enough when I tried to chew. I went back to porridge.

It took about 10 days until I no longer feel the pain and could eat normally. When the day came, it’s time to celebrate with a fried chicken!

Another tooth extraction

I have arranged another appointment two weeks after surgery to take out the stitches and extract the upper wisdom teeth. It’s not a surgery this time.

I sat on the patient chair. The dentist applied a red colored gel which tastes like strawberry candy. Then began to take out the tooth. It took a lot less time to remove. My tooth came out in whole. Now I only have 30 teeth. Bye bye my tooth!

Although it’s not as intense as the surgery, I still needed to eat yogurt for the first day, and take a painkiller when necessary. But this time I didn’t see swelling. And the best thing is, I could eat fried chicken on the third day already! Yay for another fried chicken!