It was August in late high school/early college that I was informed my wisdom teeth (all four) would have to be removed. Why? Instead of vertically breaking through the gum and appearing, it seems my wisdom teeth were horizontal and actually growing toward all of my other teeth. If they were not extracted, I would experience pain, as well as buckling of my teeth, which would definitely ruin all of the work from those years of braces. So out they had to come! This was my first experience with an oral surgeon.
I guess my parents elected or approved IV sedation. This was probably for the best since my wisdom teeth had to be extracted from below the gum; they never broke through the gum. My only surgery to that point had been my tonsils. Since it wasn’t being done in a hospital, I guess I didn’t think having my wisdom teeth out was a big deal - until they approached my arm with the needle! I vaguely remember a white think liquid heading for my arm - and then that was it. I was out - and luckily remember nothing. I remember only a moment of the car ride home.
Being a teenager, I thought I could do it all. Even with having been prescribed Tylenol 3 with codeine as my post-op med, I was unfazed. I was set on going to our county fair that night and wearing my new brown leather bomber jacket! (Remember, it was AUGUST!) Not too long after arriving at the fair, I was overheated (fever) with swollen cheeks. I looked like a red chipmunk with a mouth full of nuts! I quickly headed home.
My recovery was delayed by the fact I’d developed dry socket. The only way I can describe this is it feels like your gum in and around the extraction site is being stretched to the point it might rip or tear. This resulted in a return visit for additional treatment where I was given special medicine to continually dress the site. Yippee. (Do NOT use a straw to drink after an extraction! The sucking motion can dislodge the clot needed to heal the sight and is just one of the things that can cause dry socket!) Luckily, I did have dissolvable stitches, but they seemed to take longer than normal to dissolve or fall out.
In junior high I, like a large number of American adolescents, was introduced to braces. I was actually excited. As an only child I was interested in anything to get attention. In preparation I’d undo and curve a metal paperclip and place it over my teeth.
At the time there were really no options on braces; if you had them, they were on the facial (front) side of the teeth and silver metal. Also, the elastics that held the wire into the brackets came in only one color - dark grey. Ick.
And yowzah! Sometimes they were moderately painful from “tightening” and the pointy end of the wire poking the back of my cheek. I hated using the wax on the end of the wire, because I was afraid it’d come off and I’d accidentally swallow it! So I had a lot of scratches in my cheeks back then - definitely not something you want while eating salty foods. Ouch!
Playing clarinet wasn’t very comfortable either! (Although I felt worse for the brass players whose mouthpieces pressed right on top of their braces.) Soon the novelty wore off. I realized I was smiling much less both from the appearance and additional effort to move my lips off the brackets.
As the treatment progressed, I was again excited to get “bands” that would connect from my upper canines to the lower canines. Again, back then there were no choices; bands came in only one color - cream. Eugh.
My braces and I existed together for approximately 2.5 years. I still remember the feeling of having the brackets removed; my teeth were so smooth they felt like one giant continuous tooth (or what I imagined dentures to be).
When I look in the mirror I see the girl I was when I was growing up, with braces, crooked teeth, a baby face and a skinny body.
Greetings all! My name is Gayle and per my lifetime adventures with dental procedures I felt it might be therapeutic for me and helpful to others to create a blog about it.
In the coming weeks you can expect a lot of background, back story, and tales of previous adventures. Then I’ll get down to business with the current situation that will likely take months to tell (& heal).
As for now, I’m off - to the dentist!