Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Secret Squirrel - Meet Chipmunk Cheeks

Some tortures are physical
And some are mental,
But the one that is both
Is dental.
- Ogden Nash

Had a visit to the dentist today for my check up to find out that yes, I'm mumble mumble years old and my wisdom teeth have apparently decided to start being in the way. So they get to come out. I've never liked the dentist. My childhood one's secret hero was the Laurence Olivier character in Marathon Man ("Is it SAFE?" ) and as a result, thought "gentle Dentistry" was only for wimps and enemies of the Reich

So I haven't been to a dentist in a long time. A lot of things were different. The X-ray thing was this 180 degree imaging machine that made whirring noises as it circled me. I half expected a HAL like voice to say: "I've just picked up a fault in the AE35 unit. It's going to go 100% failure in 72 hours."

There was a TV screen in front of my chair, (if they show reality TV, I want sedation), and the dentist was a beautiful, young, and very smart young woman, who made even the upcoming huge bill sound like a pleasant procedure, so I resisted the urge to stomp on her.

Still wisdom teeth extraction on top of a a lousy couple of weeks wasn't good news.

It's a good time to bake something.Thank God for homemade Popovers (with thyme and cracked pepper). Tall, and light, and moist inside, they're even SOFT!!

Some nights, being tough is not easy. Soft will work. Especially with butter.


  1. If it helps when you go I'll be thinking good thoughts for you. Holding your hand virtually.

    And you can always call me to take out your frustrations. That is what friends are for.

    At least that is what all my friends that call me to yell at me say...

  2. If it helps any my Dentist from when I was five until oh about 15 years ago was the bomb. I was not blessed with the teeth in the gene pool. The last time I visited him before he retired he told me that I and my parents played a large part in their kids college tuition.

    Most of the "teeth" in my mouth are semi precious metals and porcelain.

    If any conciliation I had one abscess during a trip to Boston for Intel training. After three days of "self medication" I found someone up there to at least relive the pain. 20+ years later, this tooth is now called the 7 thousand dollar tooth. It is still here and I still don't trust it!

    Hope you feel better soon, it is one of the more vexing of pains.

  3. By the way - I have 4 wisdom teeth. They HAVE made me wise.

    A wise-ass...

  4. I had my wisdom teeth out over 20 years ago. Fortunately, it was only the tops that came in thus having to come out. My bottoms decided to go somewhere else. The tops would have had room to stay in but for the fact that they grew in pointing outwards and tore up the inside of my cheek. The little blue pill they gave me was interesting though. There are whole sections of that day that I was technically conscious but have no memory of whatsoever.

  5. There's little that compares to aching teeth. Even the after-visit leftover pain is bad ... but those popovers look correspondingly good.

  6. Two words: dry socket.

    May you never have one.

    Tylenol#3 and Tanqueray work wonders.

  7. +1 for Mac! He speaks the truth!

  8. It's not all that bad. In fact, having my wisdom teeth pulled was a rockin' good time. I think my surgeon pulled out the good stuff and hit me with a double dose as I was feeling nooooo pain for quite some time.....

    Hope your week improves!

  9. B. If the teeth are not impacted then it will be a simple proceedure and over before you know it. If they're impacted it will be a bit more involved. I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was 18, first the lower two (impacted) later the upper two. I don't think there's ever a good time for something like this.


    After what I just went and had sent to you, you're having your teeth pulled out?!

    I'm shaking my head here.

    I had four wisdom teeth done at once back in the day. Not fun, but survivable. High point of that experience was when a blood vessel in one of the sockets burst a couple of days later, filling my mouth with so much blood that I had to keep pulling over to the side of the road and spitting it out by the mouthful all the way to the dentist as I rushed back in.

  11. Murphy - it never rains. . .

    So what did you send? Taffy? Kevlar gumdrops?? What day is everyone hitting the museum, by the way??

  12. Ahh, the unwise tooth extraction. Memories, painful ones comes flooding back. My lower wisedom tooth decided to take the path untaken, aka sideways. I made the mistake of driving to the dentist.

    After the extraction the happy juice/pills were wearing off. I spend the next hour screaming silently in the parking lot waiting for the new batch to kick in.

    Even then the drive home was very interesting. That day, every indentation in the road made its presence known.

  13. Highdiver - the only relative I had in the State has moved, so one of my girlfriends has offered to drive me there and back and spend the night to make sure I'm OK.

  14. Honestly - Why does everyone have to share their dental horror stories?

    You will be fine, Brigid. Because I say so. :-)

  15. I've bad teeth - genetics and lousy dentistry.
    The Olivier character in Marathon Man set the industry back 300 years.
    Hopefully, being the strong person you are, it'll be no big deal.
    ps - thanks for the secret squirrel preview of the popovers!

  16. Think on the bright side - you're just now dealing with something a teenager normally does. Your body hasn't figured out you're (mumble-mumble).

    Next up - zits! lol

    WV - prout - when Brigid's too proud to pout

  17. The popovers look yummy.

    Sorry about the wisdom teeth and the pain of teething later in life. Now if some of your other teeth were in bad shape you could have them pulled instead and just let the wisdoms grow in. Guess that is what the wisdom teeth are for in the first place - replacement teeth.

    Did you have the fun of orthodontia in earlier years? If not, count your blessings. I had 8 teeth removed (4 wisdom, 4 bicuspit) because the orthodontist thought there was not enough room in my mouth for all of them. All this was before the age of 16. Believe it or not, the pain meds were actually too strong.

    Think of it this way, redheads are supposed to be blessed with a higher pain tolerance. Hope you are no exception and have a quick recovery.

  18. I will save the rest of my story for another time and just urge you to take whatever sedation they offer.

  19. I'm sorry, Brigid! Get some good drugs and check out during your recovery, that'll help.

  20. Wow! I never knew wiisdom teeth came in when someone reached "mumble-mumble!" I got mine when I was a teenager about "mumble-mumble" years ago, but had a Navy dentist, and an Army dentist both tell me never to have anyone take them out. When I joined the Air Force it was hard to convince them not to. Just be glad you don't have an AF dentist! I think they have a quota on wisdom teeth!

  21. You were born with three wisdom teeth? Hell, I was born with that many just in my lower jaw. And like Murphy, a US Navy dentist (full Captain, too) removed them. The two in my upper jaw remain.

  22. I have my four wisdom teeth. They're in a box in the lower drawer of my desk. At 18, my dentist decided it was time they came out, so I had one side then the other, two weeks later.

    Huge amount of anxiety with that first set. Only used novocaine. He wrote me a script for Tuinal, taken 30 minutes prior to appointment time of the second pass-through. By the time I was in the chair, I didn't care if he hooked chains off his tractor to them- I was good to go. Everything was lovely.

    Yes, I had a driver to get me there and home. I had a lovely afternoon in the recliner that day, too.

    I've had a lot of dental/maxillofacial work done over the years due to inheritance of crappy teeth and my tendency to bash my face into large solid objects. Next up for me is another (damned) bone graft and a couple of nice implants so that I can enjoy corn on the cob once again.

    Consider your hand held and patted sympathetically. It'll get better when the sutures are out of your way.

  23. B. I hade all four of these little monster pulled at once. Next day at work the big boss asked me to sit in on a meeting with a new york laywer. I was much younger and most of my time was spent dealing with construction workers. This fellow from big apple made some very interesting statments to my boss. My boss made the mistake of asking my opinion of these statments. This fellow was not pleased with my assement of his heritage, or his ethics. I do not remember much of my statment, but I do remember my boss was smiling and snarling at the same time.
    They sent him packing.
    They sent me home to rest.

    You will do fine.


  24. Ugh, wisdom teeth. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Only had to have my bottom 2 pulled out, but it still sucked. The guy that did it was, IMO, an idiot. To this day, I'm convinced that he sewed the insides of my cheeks to my gums.

    I could rant and rave about my experiences, but I strongly suspect that would not help you. Instead, I suggest you watch this:

    I always watch it before I go to the dentist; puts me in a good mood and keeps the experience bearable for me. Hopefully it'll do the same for you.


  25. The only wisdom I have to share is this: first, follow all the direction to the letter to avoid dry-socketing; second, if you're going to be hazy with pain meds, write the time on the clock by the bed every time you take something, so you can avoid overdosing or underdosing for fear of the former; third, when recovering, there are no such thing as calories! There is only soft and wet and cold and good. Fourth, do not be surprised if the furry part of the house decides he needs to be right next to you, or at least where he can keep a good eye and occasional wet-nose nuzzle on you.

    Hope you heal quickly, smoothly, and as pain-free as possible! And after this - well, there will be no more wisdom teeth lurking near your jawbone and waiting to strike again!

  26. Hey! Your Wisdom teeth stayed in longer than mine.

    I was advised to have them removed years ago - and did so.

    I still remember my jaw wiggling in an un-natural direction as he was prying one of my lower wisdom teeth from its socket.

    I had only 3 wisdom teeth, too. Maybe its an Irish thing.

  27. I was "blessed" with a full set of wisdom teeth, that came in in their correct place, and in the correct directions. So they haven't bothered me and I've still got em. They're highly over-rated, though...four "wisdom" teeth, and I'm just as dumb as ever.

    Your popovers bear more than a passing resemblance to something known as "Yorkshire Pudding". Any relation? Distant cousins, perhaps?

  28. I had 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed in the hospital in my 20s and never swelled 1 millimeter. My friend had 2 removed and looked like that chipmunk in your post. My insurance at the time only paid if it was done in the hospital. Save the teeth and bleach them; you can have a lot of fun with them. I put two in my mouth before biting down on a cheeseburger after a days grouse hunting. I spit them out in front of a horrified buddy who wanted to rush me to the hospital. Only downside for me was that shards of bone worked their way to the surface for the next 6 months. Pulled the last one out while driving on the freeway in Akron, Oh.

  29. Headed to the dentist myself, this morning. Yay!

  30. hah, have fun!

    Seriously, since you have someone to drive you home and keep an eye on you, have the dentist knock you out for it, not just drug you up. Totally worth it.

    I had all 4 removed at once when I was 18, they were coming in sideways and upside down so there wasn't much of a choice (amazing how all the other issues they insisted I needed braces for went away after the wisdom teeth were removed....).

    I got lucky in the pain dept though, I swelled up like a chipmonk, but hardly felt a thing less than 2 days later. My brother hardly swelled up at all, and couldn't chew for two weeks. Just hope yours aren't like a friend of mine's were, one of the roots was wrapped around her jawbone, in the process of trying to remove the root they cracked her jaw. My husband had his removed only a couple years ago when his finally came in, and other than a bad reaction to the pain meds he had no problems and not much pain.

  31. Good luck to you in this, and I hope you have a speedy recovery. I personally dislike the dentist / oral surgeon as well, so I commiserate, completely. And perhaps it is an Irish thing. I only had 3 wisdom teeth, too. You are smart to have them all out at once. That is what I did, and I never regretted it. I hope the procedure goes well!

  32. Dental work is no fun, period. All my wisdom teeth went, removed courtesy of a Navy dentist - no complaints on that outing.

    Later, Navy dentists cut a few too many corners and loaded a couple of my teeth up with too much amalgam, and no crowns. Result: cracked molar that had to go last year. Still bothers me and probably always will. Another molar is cracking slowly, too. So much fun.

    That said, a Navy dentist also introduced me to "sedated dentistry." That was heaven. Unfortunately, my current dentist, a great guy and totally trustworthy, doesn't practice sedated dentistry for some reason. Sigh.

  33. Ah, such dubious pleasures...I had mine out as a poor-and-on-my-own kid. Paid on that bit for a couple years but he did the blessed sedation version. Called me later that day to say I cracked them all up with my rendition of "Yellow Submarine" as I went under.

    I *hate* the Beatles. "What does it mean?!?"

    WV: thshe - what the dog will hear when you tell him to hush.

  34. Oh, golly, yes, avoid getting a dry socket. (Those are sheer misery, and my oral surgeon almost cried along with me when I was back in his office four days after the procedure.) I had all four of mine extracted at once, which, really, was the way to go. I wouldn't have wanted to go through that again. Innyhoo, best way to avoid a dry socket is to not drink any liquid through anything resembling a straw. And, wimp that I am, I insisted on being fully sedated. I did not want to watch those scary-looking implements coming anywhere near my mouth. The worst part, after the whole dry socket experience, was the stitches coming loose as the sockets healed. Ugh. Best of luck to you!

  35. Are you saying that you DON'T know where the diamonds are??

  36. What a litany of dental horror stories have been I won't go there.
    Smmmooooth recovery!

  37. Hoo-boy. I feel your pain, Brigid. I had a couple of wisdom teeth pulled in December 2010. Dentist had to dig pretty deep. He numbed me up pretty well, but once the anesthetic wore off I curled up and whined too. Vicodin & vodka pulled me through....

    ...but not the way you're thinking! I actually used the vodka as an anesthetic and disinfectant of sorts; I swished it over the infected area (spit it out afterward) and it did a pretty good job of keeping the area numb during the day when I couldn't take the Vicodin. I suppose something stronger like everclear would work even better.

    And yeah, dry socket sucks. But I had to have my coffee...

  38. I wish you the best Miss Brigid, I'm having three out week after next, and I ain't looking forward to it. I was told to keep them because I was too old and would have serious problems, but now one of them has caused me a serious problem, so out they come.

  39. Brigid,

    OK...a message to all the well meaning posters...POSITIVE MESSAGES people!! We don't need to scare the bejeesus out of her! :)


    wv: hyper...what Brigid will be on Wednesday!

  40. Ouch... in more ways than one... Good drugs and no flying for you for a couple of days!

  41. Hang in there Brigid. I have few true fears but a trip to the dentist is number one. Lu and I will be sending you warm thoughts.

  42. Broken bones, agony. . :-) Almost as fun as as a slow breach birth to a flaming porcupine.

    I'll be fine. Thanks for all the laughs and the groans.

  43. If you find yourself alert enough to read during the recovery time, check out The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead. If you like it, unfortunately, you'll have to wait for the other books in the series to be released.

    Best wishes and prayers on the tooth extractions and a smooth recovery.

    Are you starting to run out of expendable parts that can be removed? Seriously, what's left - your appendix?

  44. I'll be in Indy then. I'll put on a cute nurses uniform and be your nursemaid.

    Or not with the uniform.

    Either way, I'll be there to help out.

    Go for sedation and the pain meds after. Trust me on that.

    I'll tell you the story of Dave on Percocet and the Teamsters that worked for him.

    "That was the only day we liked you."

    wv:bedsl -Where Brigid will be for a day or three; bedsleeping. Friends will be there to take care of everything else.

  45. You'll be fine! Just be sure to keep your head elevated and ice your cheeks as much as you can stand it. If you can keep the swelling down by icing during the first 24-36 hours, there will considerably less pain, if any. I had my wisdom teeth pulled in two session (first one side, and a month later the other), and with both of them I needed no pain meds afterward because I was religious about putting ice packs on my cheek. There was some soreness, but more so from the injections for numbing.

    The worst part is the sound as the dentist twists the tooth to tear the collagen fibers that hold the roots in the socket... :P

  46. Scout 26. Thanks - I hate to whine. Compared to your chemo it's a walk in the park. Not sure if I'll get out that weekend, there were a couple of folks I know from out east who were going to do a Dayton Air Museum junket and I was going to go, but not sure if I'll be up to it. May just lie low. My friend E. will be here, and she'll make sure I don't do something embarrassing on the meds.

  47. Apparently, when I was coming out of the sedation after my extractions (20+ years ago, now), I was babbling about "the toof fairy is going to come visit me................."

    So, here's hoping you find something nice under your pillow the next day!!!!


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