Tooth Hurty

August 13th, 2007

For my 6th or 7th birthday I got a jokebook from some one (no clue anymore who) and I drove my parents crazy with repeating all the jokes (at least all the ones that I understood). One of the (well known) bad ones was:

Q: When does a Chinese man go the dentist?
A: 2:30

Exactly 2 weeks ago, one day after I decided to visit Holland for a while, my tooth started to hurt. Well, I thought it was my tooth that hurt. I mean, I had never had any cavities and I wasn’t really sure what’s supposed to hurt then. It started out with not being able to bite properly, because the gums around the tooth hurt a bit. I thought it wasn’t too serious and decided not to do anything about it; I was planning to see the dentist the next week, when I was in Holland, anyway; a couple of days wouldn’t matter. After four days though, the pain worsened, I couldn’t eat properly and when I pressed on the gum, pus came out. This really freaked me out and being the optimist I am I started imagining all the possible scenario’s. What started with “The tooth will have to be filled.” turned into “I need a root canal!” and eventually ended with a “They’re going to pull my tooth out!!! And then I won’t be pretty anymore!!!”

I still decided not to take any action; it was a Sunday in a place where I didn’t completely understand the health insurance and didn’t even have a dentist, and it was one day before leaving to Holland (where I did have full health insurance and a dentist I’ve been going to for 13 years). The dentist only had a spot for me on Thursday, but after some pleading I could also stop by on Tuesday afternoon after all the regular appointments to have a quick check. So Tuesday (one week after it started hurting) the dentist finally had a look at it and told me it was “just” an infection of the gum (actually from cleaning too intensely). So no root canals or tooth pulling! I did, however, have to come back on that Thursday for my normal appointment and he would give me an anesthetic and “clean the whole thing out”. He also made some x-ray photo’s, just to be sure there wasn’t anything else.

That Thursday the dentist gave the local anesthetic and within 10 minutes he was done with cleaning everything. Since then the pain has almost gone completely. So that’s the end of the story, right? Wrong. The dentist also showed the x-ray photos which he made 2 days earlier and asked me what I saw. I had no idea what I was supposed to be looking for and just pointed at the gum which was infected. I was completely looking in the wrong direction. Turns out that my wisdom teeth (both bottom ones, didn’t make a photo of the top ones) are ‘horizontally impacted’, meaning they’re not growing upwards, erupting through the gum, but heading straight into another tooth. Not that they’ll bulldoze through the tooth or anything like that, but if left like it is it could get infected.

Meaning they’ll have to be pulled.

And because they’re horizontal, the top has to be sliced first before the root can be pulled.

I am so not looking forward to that.

Tags: Personal