Recently, a toxic moron was elected to the American presidency by a herd of hooting munters who thought tearing up the social contract they rely upon for everything they cherish was the smartest thing they've done in years. Given that he's more emblematic than germinal, meaning the whole fucking world is already scooting on its anus toward some sort of greasy combed-over oblivion, I thought I'd pop a matte brown cherry on that umber sundae and get my dodgy tooth ripped out. Why the hell not?
It was a good call in a heaving main of terminally dumb shit, so I'd just like to take a moment to conceptually pat that ham-faced, doily-headed ball bag of a creature on his leaky old man arse and thank him for positively recontextualising my orthodontic pain.
If that's wrong, I don't want to be right.
But you know, I'd been in a lot of dental pain for a couple of months. Yes, months, because a prolonged fuck-tonne of pain is ironically the only thing that could have nudged me toward a cubical to get it looked at.
Want to see the actual tooth in question? Ha ha, too bad! I don't do trigger warnings. Here tis- the last molar on the left, disembodied in green disinfectant and a plastic shroud.
If all this feels gratuitously offensive, allow me to rationalise relating these details like some sort of gloating maniac by professing the deeply philanthropic hope that my fellow phobic sufferers will be inspired to stop nursing their gross fangs and go to the fucking dentist. Let my bad experience be your cautionary tale.
Still in the market for something really disgusting? Check out the size of the temporary filling (orange mass) below and all the scandalously out of hand ruination happening behind it.
That means pain. Pain when you sit, pain when you stand, a lot of pain when you eat and pain whilst arguing with your partner about going to the fucking dentist. Alongside the standard on-site agony, I was treated to its thrilling adjunct; referred pain, which is like someone stabbing a screwdriver into one's jaw magnified outward, Matrix-style, along obscure neural pathways so that you imagine half your other teeth are looking to quit the building too.
All this tortuous bullshit was the result of leaving a single, simple and eminently resolvable problem too long. Don't do that. It's not just dumb, but actively destructive to sit at home hoping fairies will magic away all that pain and infection tomorrow. It will only get worse, spread sideways, and there are some pretty serious and costly complications that can arise in lieu of timely treatment.
Go to the fucking dentist, fool.
Regarding the procedure itself, I had mentally curated a tremendous Clive Barker array of horrors, splinters, agonies and stitches in spite of my partner's assurances to the contrary; he has a crowded mouth and is an extraction veterano. But I have the MC1R mutation that makes gingers both more sensitive to pain and resistant to anaesthetic (you don't have to be full redhead for that gene to express in case you were wondering about yourself) and the kind of obsessive, morbidly speculative consciousness that boosts any potential hazard into sizzling orbit. It's possibly difficult for a regular person to imagine the state of towering, reflexive panic I had worked myself into whilst dodging the dental bullet, but by the time the pain was topping out all analgesics and tears were rolling down my face in the waiting room, I no longer gave a fuck about any of that and would have happily forced someone to rip out that suicidal molar with their own fucking teeth at gunpoint.
Don't worry, fellow phobics- as it turns out, the procedure is by far the lesser of two oral evils.
We can't really afford regular dentists so we go to the local university dental school. Extending my wretched deferrals until all the students had fucked off on holiday turned out to be really great thing because I got the house surgeon instead of someone still practising with needles and pliers. I demanded and received next-level pain relief (remember, you can do that); we went with 1.5 doses of hardcore local, administered in two places and if you're still reading this piece I probably don't need to tell you that the cessation of abscess pain is a precious reward in itself. This was only enough to numb a very discrete area around 3 or 4 centimetres square (in contrast, R couldn't talk and had numbness for the whole afternoon with far less anaesthetic), but that level of insensitivity was perfectly adequate.
When you're a big fucking baby on the inside it's easy to forget that, to strangers, you present solely as large tense freak in black with fixed expression. You also tend to forget your ability to infect everyone around you with your personal blend of apprehension and hostility, something I remembered in enough time to ask the visibly uptight nurse what to expect rather than, you know, throatpunching the first person to come at me with something in their hand. The people who have to tear bits off other people for a living get wound up about it too sometimes, so engaging them rather than lying rigid and hissing slowly was the right thing to do.
Pain/trauma/horror rating? A truly pathetic 2/10.
Possibly due to the enviable slickness of the surgeon's technique, I had no pain or bleeding in the days that followed, either. You shouldn't smoke, suck a cock or tongue the shit out of the extraction site for a while and you do get a bloody taste in your mouth for a day or so, but all those skin, gum and bone cells work quickly closing up and after three days there's what feels like total sealing of the wound and blissful painlessness. The gap seems less weird to me that it might to you because I'm congenitally hypodontic, but it's out of sight at the back. Cletus Syndrome: minimised.
On the bright side, this craggy little bitch goes well with the wisdom tooth R had pulled a wee while back (see fig. 4), which means I've finally harvested enough human tissue for earrings. Awaiting vegan powers.