WITHOUT MY WISDOM TEETH

Wisdom teeth hurting? Psh—I had time. After all, I’m a healthy eater, stretches-in-the-morning, habitual tea drinker—all reasons I think to why I barely get sick or achy. But for seven years dentists have been chasing me to get my wisdom teeth removed; food will get clogged in the abyss, infection will spread to my ears, my teeth could KILL me! With warnings like that—naturally I ignored them.

Totally jealous - All I could eat was that soup
Totally jealous – All I could eat was that soup

… leading to my ignorant shock when the pain suddenly started weeks ago and wouldn’t stop! I’ve had small wisdom teeth pains before, but not this long or intense. I didn’t want my teeth to kill me! After all I was a healthy, stretches-in-the-morning, habitual tea drinker! I thought my body liked me!

It was time to dispose of all four of those pesky teeth but with the premise my “dentist” show me those tormentors after their removal so I could laugh at their up-root-al.

THE PROCEDURE
Positive reviews, insurance coverage, and location led me to Doctor Fort’s team in St. Petersburg, FL. Ridiculously friendly (Perhaps the entire staff was constantly high on sugar? No wait… I think dentists frown on sugar right?) they vomited up information, what to expect, concerns, etc. Then they scheduled me for removal in a week.

With the dull ache affecting my sleep, a week couldn’t come fast enough. I’ve never been put under. After the anesthetic injection was given, my last thought was, “HA! This puny prick will make me sleep? No way… no way…” and a ‘second’ later I was waking up. I remember a nurse smiling as she showed me my former wisdom teeth lifeless on a tray—she could’ve been telling me the Pope was going to meet me in five minutes– my reaction would’ve been the same; I don’t give a s***. Let me sleep.

Foods I couldn't eat
I brought all these snacks to a party… and couldn’t eat any of it.

THE LONG RECOVERY

Halfway to "chipmunk cheeks"
You can already see some chipmunk cheeks popping out a day after the procedure… I’m an angry little chipmunk.

Compared to others in their late 20s who were designated as “late” in removing those pesky teeth… my recovery was not as swift and painless. I was aware of the side effects especially since my left tooth’s roots were so close to the nerves.

Of course, my appearance changed. Nothing could disguise the swelling. During martial arts class, the kids would stare completely fascinated at the sudden mutation of my face. I soon came to predict every “chipmunk cheeks” joke.

For a week, I lived off liquid foods. I’m sure by the third day I was healed enough to eat solid foods, but a sharp pain would throb my head if I opened my mouth wider than an inch. Only soups could fit through the gap. I dreaded yawning. I tried not to use spoons because its curvature wasted precious inch space. And it was soooo tiring to chew… I felt like I had been smiling for 6 hours straight. Luckily the pain wasn’t constant—but it was annoying whenever my jaw moved.

By week two my mouth was at “grapes” level… aka my mouth could open wide enough to fit grapes through without hurting. I still needed leveling up to conquer Banh Mi, but fast food burgers could get in provided I squash it first in the wrapper.

The evolution of foods I could eat
The evolution of foods I could eat– by order of how they could fit between my teeth
Thank goodness Golden Corral had cotton candy– one of the few desserts I could eat back then

NOW
A month later and I’m almost back to normal. Although I can now open my mouth to yelling-at-a-Justin-Bieber-concert wide, the entire left side of my tongue has remained numb since the surgery. That includes losing the sense of taste on that side. Swirling that wine around my mouth for flavor? Pshhhh. Licking a seductive cone of salted caramel gelato? Satisfaction only on the right side. But there’s promise of feeling returning. Sometimes a tingling sensation – a strange feeling I associate with believing in fairies – rings on that left side. Mr. Dentist told me that means nerves are growing back.

So that’s my story of my wisdom teeth removal. Unfortunately I have no interesting actions from being duped up on anesthetics or didn’t bother to take a picture of those four teeth lying on their death tray. I’m back to my healthy, stretching-in-the-morning, tea habits self and can’t wait to eat a Banh Mi while tasting a surround sound of flavor in my mouth.

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