John Walker's Electronic House

by on Jan.04, 2005, under The Rest

My teeth only go wrong on public holidays.

I’m not sure how people whose parents aren’t dentists manage. Although I would still far rather the explosions in my gums would take place during my dad’s normal work hours, and not make me feel all guilty for having him glove up on his day off.

Over the weekend a twinging feeling in my gum became worse and worse, until Monday lunchtime when the increasingly regular pulses of purest agony were propelling me backward in my chair, and making it impossible to concentrate on anything. I was due to travel down on Tuesday to have it poked at, but a phonecall to ask for tips to make the pain go away concluded in my driving the two hours to Guildford on a bank holiday.

My dad’s ace. He hates treating me because my mouth is so utterly rubbish. I think I’ve written about my teeth’s inability to go numb before, but it’s so odd it merits repetition. For some reason, inexplicable by medicine, the teeth at the front of my mouth (ie, everything but the molars) appear to be able to deny the numbing abilities of anaesthetic and deliver perfect sensory feedback for every moment of every drill, grinder, scrapy pokey thing, and even blast of water. It’s like having a hot metal spike driven through the top of my skull which somehow splits at my waist and slices down the centre of each leg. I don’t want to overplay the amount of pain it causes me because I fear someday getting some truly hideous disease like shingles and then realising that I didn’t know what real pain was. But still, in my experience so far, it’s a pain unlike anything I have ever known. And my poor dad, being the person at the other end of the torturing instruments, hates it even more than I do. I think we’ve both ended up crying.

However, I’m joyous to report that this insanity doesn’t extend to my molars or wisdom teeth. I, as is probably quite predictable, was entirely to blame for my situation. Ages ago, months back, a bit of tooth broke off as I was eating. The sensation of biting down on a bit of tooth is remarkable, and I fished it out, looked at it, and thought, “Oh bugger, a bit of my tooth has fallen out. This presumably must hurt. Well, it must be about to hurt. I’m sure it will hurt in a bit. It doesn’t hurt yet. Oh look, time to go out.” And the tooth was forgotten, stupidly failing to send me into convorting twists of hideous agony.

It is of course only months later, after the tooth has been given enough time to rot and die, that the diseased corpse finds its way to stabbing screwdrivers into the nerve ending. And of course it’s only then, when it’s completely disabling me, that I’ll do anything about it. I am an idiot, and the wisdom tooth had to come out.

Having a tooth out when it’s very dead is not a simple thing. It cracked into four or five pieces as the pulling began, meaning that the extraction took quite a while, involving about five different clamps and pliers to be wedged into the increasingly deep hole. The noises were incredible, and I’m delighted to say there was not even a glimmer of feeling, let alone pain. I chuckled at one point as I heard a tremendous scrunching sound. “What’s that noise?” I asked. Well, of course what I said was, “Aahh’s aah oiise?” (I still used the apostrophe. The inability to make consonant sounds is no excuse for sloppy grammar). My dad replied, “That’s you creaking.” Excellent.

So now I have a bruised cheek and a hole where a tooth used to be. If I’d had it checked when it broke, I’d have a filling and a tooth.

This is a cautionary tale. Go to your dentist, you stupid idiots.

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