i have a new mouth. well, a renovated mouth.
over the past three weeks i have been getting my wisdom teeth removed...two the first week, two the following week, and removal of sutures on the third. the extractions were performed over a series of weeks because they were done by dental students at the university of washington. it's true. i had my wisdom teeth taken out by students. it's a decision that seems suspect at best, but it wasn't a decision i made lightly and in the end it was a really amazing experience.
the real kicker of this whole escapade is that i didn't necessarily need to get the wisdom teeth taken out in the first place. they were fully present like their second molar cousins, they weren't impacted, there was no infection, just a little decay. recently, however, my brother jason had a wisdom tooth of his removed that caused problems for the adjacent molar. and after his extraction he boldly claimed that wisdom teeth were the mouth's sleeper cells...and eventually they would wreak havoc on the rest of the mouth.
this rang true for me. i could see where he was coming from...especially from my vantage point of being an uninsured individual. and as an uninsured individual i like to be pro-actively preventive. i came to the conclusion that eventually my wisdom teeth would most likely cause me trouble in the future. in the long run it would be better to take care of myself now instead of something more complicated (secret fears of root canals) later on. and when i really thought about it i couldn't really see what my 'thirds' (as they call them in the dental world) were doing for me. they seemed like lazy, layabout teeth, not necessarily improving my food chewing. so out, out damn' tooths.
long story short, i ended up at the dental school after much research and many calls to other clinics and dental offices, folks on the other end of the phone asking me if i understood that i would have to pay for services if i was uninsured, me reassuring that i did, rolling my eyes. anyhow, the student dentists were the best...and that's the thing...i had two different teams of two over the first two weeks and then a fifth student removing the sutures...and there is nothing i like more than variety. i liked experiencing the different mannerisms, comparing and contrasting, creating rating systems...
the first duo consisted of dr. bling and shaky mc gee. unfortunately, mc gee was the extractor that day and lacked the oomph it takes to yank teeth from bone. but dr. bling was very conscientious and attentive to my suction and checking in on me needs. the second team was collectively called 'team handsome'. not necessarily my type of handsome, but there was something ken-doll seeming about them. anyhow, handsome one and handsome two were a tight team. handsome two supported my jaw as he was working on extracting the lower tooth, pulling way ahead in points and stars ahead of shakey mc gee who didn't have this technique in his bag of tricks.
did i tell you that i wasn't put under? that's how i know all of this. i have a long history of surgeries so me and anesthesia parted ways a long time ago...i opted out of it. it was just me and novocaine. anyhow, it was great being awake...i learned a lot, i got to see my teeth...but not keep them, it was like i was giving them up for adoption; they were out and whisked away out of my reach, never to be seen again...and being awake made me feel like a part of the team...maybe the most important part...cooperation.
so dental students rule in my book.