Infected wisdom tooth!

Do accept my apologies for having buggered off again, and not coming back to post when I said I would. However, I do have a rather good excuse this time.

The last thing my Glaswegian dentist said to me before I left for the US five years ago was “Don’t let those bloody Americans whip out your wisdom teeth”. Apparently, Americans are all about “preventative” medicine. Everybody here gets their wisdom teeth taken out as a teenager whether they need to or not. It’s baffling to me because we don’t tend to have this done in the UK, and yet I only know one person who ever had trouble with her wisdom teeth, and had to get them pulled.

They do the same thing to tonsils over here, too! Midwestern Man had his tonsils removed just “in case” they got infected. We’re a wee bit more hardcore in Scotland, I think. My mother had so many episodes of tonsilitis as a child that her tonsils actually rotted away! Clearly, she should have had them removed but, ach, her father was a shepherd and, well, you just didn’t get taken to hospital back in the 50’s and 60’s farming community unless you were at death’s door. My poor mother, though. She said the pain was excruciating.

It just goes to show what a big fucking scam the whole American medical industry is. Imagine encouraging the whole fucking population to undergo an operation (and general anaesthetic!) “just in case” something gets infected down the line.

But, anyway, back to wisdom teeth…

Given that I’m obviously not a particularly wise person, my wisdom teeth didn’t start to come in until my late twenties, and even then only one poked its wee head through the gum. Just last year (at the grand old age of thirty) a second one started to appear. Of course, my American dentist kept on telling me to get them removed, but I didn’t see any point unless they were giving me trouble. The bottom one did worry me a wee bit (as it was more than half-way in, and was hard to clean) and I wouldn’t have minded getting it whipped out, but all medical/dental procedures over here are so expensive so I thought “Ach, to hell with that”.

On Wednesday, though, my luck ran out, as the wee fucker got infected. The gum surrounding it had been inflamed and tender before, but this time around the whole left side of my cheek was swollen, giving me the look of a chipmunk:

I know that my Scottish friend went through several infections like this before she finally relented to her dentist’s pleas to get her wisdom teeth removed, but there is no way in hell that I will put up with looking like a chipmunk again. Ooh, no no no. My vanity forbids it.

And so it is that I am scheduled to get my wisdom teeth removed on Wednesday morning at 8:45 a.m. The whole procedure will cost $1100, which is horribly depressing given that I am broke enough as it is. Indeed, so broke am I that I am sitting here wearing an ancient pair of jeans with no fucking zip on it (it fell off) because I cannae afford to buy a new pair. To avoid exposing my pubes to the unsuspecting word, I hold up my jeans with a safety pin (the same one that held together my nappy when I came from the hospital as a wee baby. No kidding! This thing is like an heirloom…you’ve no idea the many items of clothing it has held together).

The only consolation is that, for some reason, I only have three wisdom teeth instead of the usual four (thanks DNA!) so I will save a wee bit of money there.

Surprisingly, I am not really in much pain at all with this infection. I am, however, feeling incredibly run down and tired. It’s only 7:00 p.m. and yet I could quite happily go to bed and sleep. I don’t know whether this is because of the infection or the antibiotics I was given. Perhaps a bit of both. This entire year I haven’t felt like myself at all, to be honest. I wonder whether this is why my tooth is now infected – perhaps the infection took hold this time around because my immune system was weaker than normal. I’ve just been so stressed about money and worried about life. Sigh.


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20 thoughts on “Infected wisdom tooth!

  1. Arekino November 21, 2009 at 8:19 am Reply

    About nine years ago two of my wisdom teeth started rotting. I waited almost two weeks before the pain became so unbearable (and this was the only time that I had ever had to take a painkiller) that I was forced to call my dentists’ office and have those damned things pulled out. It was such a relief.

    Regarding vanity; you might start a new trend with that safety pin. Flaunt it if you’ve got it, right? 😉

    I see Xul found you as well. He’d (actually I don’t know if Xul is a he or she, but I’m going with ‘he’ for now ) sent me an email a while ago asking me where you had gone. I meant to ask you if you wanted him to know this but it seems he’s already found you on his own.

    I have send you a short email with, I hope, all your questions answered.

    • petrichoric November 21, 2009 at 5:10 pm Reply

      Funnily enough, I don’t have all that much pain. Well, I can’t open my mouth very wide because of the gum swelling, but it’s far from being unbearable. And now that I’m on antibiotics the swelling isn’t really noticeable anymore, although my cheek is very, very tender.

      Huh, Xul a man? I bloody well hope that Xul isn’t a man, as I’ve always assumed that Xul was a woman. But, now that I think about it, I don’t know why I think Xul is a woman. Has there ever been any evidence to suggest so? Hmmm, actually I think she/he has mentioned having boyfriends, so that means she’s either a straight woman or a gay man. I’m going to go with straight woman. Xul? Where are you? Let us know!

      • Xul November 24, 2009 at 12:24 am Reply

        Maybe I am the Devil, because I always seem to show up when people are speaking about me! LOL While in the beginning I tried to keep my sex ambiguous, I’m pretty sure I’ve let it slip a time or two at my blog(Pet, you assumed correctly!).

        I know this will probably sound rather freakish, but I’ve never been to a dentist. My parents, too, were the sort who would only see a doctor if they were on death’s door and that applied to the child as well. I’m thankful that I’ve always been healthy and my teeth never gave me any trouble. I really don’t get the whole concept of having perfectly good parts removed.

        I don’t know if they have it were you live, Pet, but there is a University near me that does dental work dirt cheap, only that it’s the students doing the work. Of course they have a professor there overseeing. Just a thought. Hope you are feeling better soon! xoxo

        • petrichoric November 24, 2009 at 12:42 am Reply

          Hello, Xul. Yes, I *thought* you were female. I think I always thought you were a woman even before I knew for sure. You can sometimes tell with the writing style.

          Wow, I can’t believe you’ve never been to a dentist! Clearly, you have been blessed in the teeth department, then, as I would surely have rotten stumps if I hadn’t gone to the dentist at all.

          I don’t think there are any student dentists here unfortunately, as there’s not a school of dentistry. There are a couple of clinical trials to get your wisdom teeth out, but they rejected me because I have asthma. Apparently you have to lie to get accepted onto the trial, as they demand an almost God-like health from participants.

  2. Reluctant Blogger November 21, 2009 at 10:43 am Reply

    Oh no, you’re not having a lot of luck at the moment, are you?

    I don’t think I have any wisdom teeth. Says it all really, doesn’t it? Certainly none have appeared and I am 43.

    I have had plenty of chipmunk episodes though as I used to suffer a lot with stones in my salivary glands and the minute the gland got blocked my whole face would puff up and I’d look very silly indeed!

    • petrichoric November 21, 2009 at 5:13 pm Reply

      I suspect that you probably do have wisdom teeth but that they just never came through. I know that some people just don’t have them, but I think it’s a small percentage. It’s a bit suspicious that you’re having problems with your salivary glands, as I know impacted wisdom teeth can cause that.

  3. Judith November 22, 2009 at 1:14 pm Reply

    I had my wisdom teeth out in my early 20s, but mine never would have come in properly — they were growing perpendicular to the rest of my teeth and would have crowded everything forward.

    I can’t believe you’re chipmunking — my perpetual bad tooth (which is not a wisdom tooth, but a molar) is terribly infected again and I am chipmunked on my left cheek. It hurt like hell for a couple days, but then some of the puss came out and relieved the pressure, so now I’m mostly puffed up and in less pain.

    Must be a bad week for teeth? Hope you are feeling better. I’m sorry that you have to spend your money on this sort of thing… that’s why I’ve been putting off getting this tooth finished with the dental procedures that need to be done — we could have bought a car with what we’ve spent trying to save my teeth.


    • petrichoric November 24, 2009 at 12:38 am Reply

      Ha, that’s so funny that we both had chipmunk faces last week! Maybe we are teeth soulmates or something. The antibiotics have really helped the infection, and my face is now completely back to normal if still a teeny bit tender. I hope you’re feeling better. Get that tooth fixed. You can’t go about in agony all the time!

  4. Xul November 24, 2009 at 12:35 am Reply

    BTW, “exposing your pubes” would be a welcome alternative to the full moon arse crack that’s so commonly on display. Would make a better topic for conversation, methinks! ; )

    • petrichoric November 24, 2009 at 2:14 am Reply

      I hope you’re not suggesting that I ever display my arse crack! By the way, are you actually British? You just said “arse” instead of “ass” and you got my “Porridge” reference, which I find it hard to imagine an American would do.

      • Xul November 24, 2009 at 11:03 pm Reply

        LOL Go to the “People of Walmart” website to see what I’m talking about re “full moon fashion.”

        I’m American by birth, but half of my family and many of my friends are British. And since much of the Caribbean was part of the Empire, there’s a lot of cross pollination here.

        • petrichoric November 26, 2009 at 1:00 pm Reply

          You’re of Caribbean heritage? Does this mean you’re black, then? Funny, I always imagined you as being really pale and freckly. No idea why.

          • Xul November 29, 2009 at 1:08 am Reply

            ROFLMAO! My, this is becoming a comedy of errors, isn’t it? What I meant is S.Fla is for all intents and purposes in the Caribbean and we are in close proximity to the Bahamas and Jamaica and other assorted islands that were once part of the British Empire so there is a bit of a cultural influence. I have a grandfather from Bermuda but that isn’t exactly the Caribbean. I’m not black but my hair is quite dark and I am on the pale side; no freckles! Where did you get that?

            • petrichoric November 30, 2009 at 10:24 pm Reply

              Oh, that’s right. I forgot that you were in Florida! I don’t know why I thought you had freckles. It was just one of those things I got into my head. When I was a really ittle girl, I remember imagining that one of my mum’s favourite work colleagues – whom I’d never met – was black but, of course, she wasn’t (there are hardly any black people in Scotland). It was odd that I should have thought that given that I grew up in such a white place but, well, I did.

  5. yogurt November 30, 2009 at 10:04 am Reply

    oh blast the bad timing, not that there’s ever good timing for tooth pain or oral surgery or that kind of outlay of cash.

    I was one of those Americans who got her wisdom teeth removed in my early 20’s. They weren’t giving me any trouble, but doc said they were impacted and “would eventually” give me trouble. I’ve begun to wonder if that was wise preventative, or doc getting in some surgery because he could. I suppose, reading your post, I’m glad I did have them removed? But if I had been paying for it, instead of my parents, I would have taken my chances.

    • petrichoric November 30, 2009 at 10:28 pm Reply

      I personally don’t think people should really bother getting them removed unless they absolutely have to. Hardly anyone I know in Scotland has had them removed, and we don’t seem to have much trouble, in general. My tooth only got infected because it had grown in partially, so it was diffcult to clean, but if teeth are impacted under the gum, I find it hard to believe that they will inevitably be troublesome. I’m glad I waited until that tooth got infected because I didn’t like the idea of shelling out $1100 “just in case” I had trouble down the line. At least now I know my money was well-spent.

      • Arekino December 1, 2009 at 6:19 am Reply

        So how was your trip to the dentist? I can sort of imagine the scene, I think:

        Petrichor: You wanna pull it? (No double entendre intended BTW)
        Dentist: I think I’m entitled.
        Petrichor: You wanna pull it?!
        Dentist: I want the tooth!
        Petrichor: You can’t handle the tooth!
        Petrichor: Son, we live in a world that has teeth and those teeth need to be guarded by women with guns… Wait… no… That can’t be right?! Oh, just pull it… and stop ogling at that safety pin.

        (I apologize in advance for this blatant (if not clichéd) plagiarism but I just could not help myself)

        • petrichoric December 2, 2009 at 10:13 pm Reply

          Arekino, your plagiarism was lost on me. I had to google, and discovered that the above scene was from “A Few Good Men”. Never seen it, I’m afraid. The closest I ever came was the film “A Few Good Dykes”.

          • Arekino December 3, 2009 at 12:25 pm Reply

            “A few few good dykes”? Never seen it. According to the internets it’s a documentary about lesbian women who like to dress up in uniforms. Sounds vaguely interesting.

            I guess your lost tooth has already lost your interest? Ah well, life goes on.

  6. Fantastic Forrest December 7, 2009 at 12:20 am Reply

    Take care of yourself and get plenty of rest. That is surgery, and it can be a jolt to your system. And though we have antibiotics to deal with infections, they do take a toll. I’m a little late to the discussion, so by now I hope the comment I’m making is totally unnecessary, that you’ve got your pep back.

    The worry and stress you have been feeling undoubtedly has a physical impact. I hope you can get into a program soon to get a degree, which should help with money in the long run. How is that going?

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