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A couple of weeks ago, I broke a tooth on a piece of Sweethearts candy. It was a tooth that I’d had a root canal in, so it was more brittle than a “live” tooth. I immediately scheduled an appointment with the dentist, but the soonest I could get in was mid-March. The dental office was aware of the broken tooth, so had been attempting to find me an earlier appointment. I got a call from the dental office today saying someone had canceled and could I come in at 4 p.m. today? You betcha.

Before my root canal, I was never particularly worried about going to the dentist. After the root canal, different story. I was nervous and told both the dentist and the assistant. The dentist took less than a minute to look at my tooth and tell me it was fractured. It would have to come out. I expected as much.

My experience of past tooth removals hasn’t been bad. I had a baby tooth that wouldn’t fall out, even though its replacement had fully grown in. Easy-peazy removal. I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed at once, but I was knocked out for that, so no prob. I looked like a bruised chipmunk with a mouthful of acorns after, but I coped pretty well. Today was a different story.

The dentist numbed me up and waited a serious amount of time for the Novocaine to take effect. While we waited, his assistant reminded me of proper after-care for tooth removal. Then they got to work.

I was leaned back in the chair and the dentist started prying, removing the fractured shard first. That wasn’t too bad. Then he went after the main part of the tooth. Thankfully, the dental assistant had told me what was entailed with tooth removal prior to me undergoing the actual procedure. The tooth has to be … Broken. Off. The. Bone. Yikes! (Strangely, knowing this made me feel better about what was coming.)   I was also warned by the dentist that there would be lots of pressure. I’ll say.

It’s difficult to describe the feeling of having a tooth yanked off the bone, but it’s not an easy job. The dentist had to use my lower jaw for leverage. At one point, there was a loud CRACK! and pieces of tooth flew around the room. Oh, yeah. That’s some drama when it’s your tooth.

But they weren’t done yet. That CRACK! was my tooth breaking; it wasn’t the rest of the tooth coming out of my mouth. The dentist kept working and I was sure my tooth removal was one of the worst he had seen. Not by a long shot, he informed me. Mine was simple compared to some. It can take as long as an hour to remove a tooth. I have no sense of how long it took because, frankly, any length of time for such a procedure is just too long. (The dentist and his assistant were sweethearts about the whole thing, regularly asking if I was doing okay.)

I expected a second crack when the remaining portion of tooth was removed, but it never came, just crank, yank, crank, yank, crank, yank, all done! My chair was straightened and the dentist held gauze in the newly acquired hole in my head to staunch the bleeding.

The after-care instructions were repeated and I was given a baggy of gauze and a printed version of the after-care instructions and I was out the door.

Now I’m carefully nursing the hole in my head, following those after-care instructions as though my life depends on it. I’ve iced my jaw, cautiously eaten a meal, and taken ibuprofen. Before I go to bed, I will brush my other teeth, avoiding the hole, and take another pain killer. I will sleep with my head propped up to reduce the possibility of swelling. And tomorrow evening I will rinse with salt water.

Complications, you can just stay the heck away from me.

Perhaps the best part of the experience was in the waiting area prior to my appointment. I met a darling 3-year-old who has the same name as my daughter. She, thankfully, was just there for a cleaning.

[You know, I’m thinking maybe you’re relieved I didn’t post photos of this procedure. 😉 ]