It all started way back almost a decade ago. Every time I’d see my dentist, Dr. Shrek, he’d take an x-ray and quietly suggest that I should think about getting my wisdom teeth out. They were impacted. That is, they just never broke through the surface and were happily staying put as far as I could tell. I didn’t even know they were there, and I never had any pain or anything. Nevertheless, Dr. Shrek kept suggesting that I go see a specialist. Like water against a rock, I finally agreed for an appointment with Dr. Snoots.
I liked Dr. Snoots right away, because his first question was “Are the wisdom teeth bothering you or are they bothering Dr. Shrek?”. He nailed it. I told him it was because of Dr. Shrek’s continued insistence that I was there. Snoots took an x-ray and flat-out said, “Well I won’t take them out. See that white line there? That’s a nerve. Your wisdom teeth are too close to that nerve. There’s a risk that if I take them out I’ll cut the nerve and you won’t have any feeling on that side of your face. You’ll pretty much be a drooler for the rest of your life.”
Well, I didn’t like the sound of that at all. But I was definitely pleased that Dr. Shrek was put in his place. The next time I visited him I marched in triumphantly. “Well, I guess that’s that!” I thought to myself.
Dr. Shrek was not pleased with Dr. Snoots’ assessment and wanted me to see him again.
“But, but!” It’s hard to say “But, but” with a mouth full of gloved hands, but I tried.
I don’t know what Dr. Shrek said to Dr. Snoots, but on my next visit Snoots took on a different tone. “Well, there’s this new procedure we could try…” he mused aloud. I disliked the sound of that almost as much as facing the prospect of becoming a life-long drooler, but I was intrigued. Maybe I would be written up in the New England Journal of Oral Health and Happiness or something. Apparently Snoots was planning on BLASTING my wisdom teeth with LAZERS and removing the toothy bits instead of extracting the whole tooth at once. “It’s less invasive”. What the hell? Crushing my teeth below the gumline with LAZERS is less invasive than what? A sledgehammer? But it’s all for the greater good, right, and so I booked myself in to have it done.
I arrived at Snoots an hour before and checked out the others in the waiting room. Apparently Snoots has quite the operation on his hands. He does about 3 or 4 of us at the same time. I imagine him running back and forth from room to room like the Ed Sullivan plate spinner zapping here, crushing here, cutting over here like a mad man. There was a teenager, no older than about 18 or so sitting next to me. She had big curly hair and was excitedly talking to her friend. “I’m totally going to go out to the bar, tonight. I’ll be fine.”
Here’s some footage of Dr. Snoots at work:
When I got into the room, I was greeted by a nurse and a sketchy looking guy slouched in the corner. He had faded ripped jeans and his hair looked like it needed a good wash. He wore a courier style bag on his shoulder and he was frowning out the window. He looked like the kind of guy you wouldn’t sit next to on a public bus. He was introduced as my anesthesiologist!
“You’re a pretty big guy!” he exclaimed. “I’m going to have to give you a bit more!” I wasn’t sure if that was his way of breaking the ice, or if he genuinely decides how much medicine to give someone by eyeballing their weight. It didn’t really put me at ease, but before I knew it, the mask was applied and out I went.
I’d like to say the surgery went off without a hitch, but maybe if the anesthesiologist spent more time looking at his patients and not out the window I wouldn’t have woken up part way through.
I remember opening my eyes at one point and looking up at the ceiling. I heard a nurse say “HE CAN SEE!” and quickly some towel or cloth or something was put over my head and I was out for the rest of it.
In the recovery room, I was laying next to the teenager from the waiting room. All you could see was a mass of bandages and her curly hair on top.
“I don’t think I’m going to the bar tonight,” a muffled voice from beneath the bandages said. “Was that your wife with you?” she asked.
“She seemed nice.”
When you’re under anesthetic, you tend to say things you normally wouldn’t. Apparently I kept announcing to the nurse that I had the strength of ten men! When my wife arrived to fetch me, the nurse was tired of me and said “Take him and the other nine home.”
Faithful reader, you may wonder when Dr. Moreau comes into the picture, and you would be right in wondering. Do not fear! She is just around the corner.
Through my recovery haze, Dr. Snoots came in all proud. “I DID IT. I EXTRACTED YOUR TEETH WITH THE LAZERS!” He seemed more happy for himself than for me, but I was just glad I wasn’t going to be a drooler. I imagined him shoutING “I’m going to be famous, FAMOUS, you hear? Suck it, suckers!”, but I’m sure that was the anesthetic speaking.
The surgery was a success, but the recovery less so. I had two different gum infections related to the healing and when all was said and done one side (the side with the nerve, the drooly side if you will) never really grew back properly. I guess once the tooth is out and the “hole” is sewn up, the hope is that the jaw and gum will grow in over it and everything will be hunky dory. That happened on one side, but the other side left behind a deep pocket behind my last tooth on the bottom.
And so, to fix a problem that Dr. Shrek solely created in the first place, I was sent off to see the illustrious Dr. Moreau.
To be continued.