My Wisdom Tooth Is Gone, Am I Still Wise?

Created by Anu Anniah

After tugging, pushing, and pulling valiantly for about an hour, my dentist said, “This tooth is refusing to let go of you.” Then she pulled out her drill.

I wish my next sentence could be, “and then I woke up.” It isn’t.

It was a dark and stormy night. It sure felt that way to me. I woke up in the middle of the night with a sharp pain in my tooth — my wisdom tooth to be precise. Why am I so precise? Because the tooth has been making its presence felt off and on for a couple of years now.

Today was a good day to have a full-blown meltdown. My childhood bestie-dentist had just informed us that she was out of town with her hubby. My wisdom tooth which had been lying low waiting for a chance decided to party.

Gosh was I in pain. I swallowed a painkiller. Or two. I am no longer sure. But the pain was awful. Oh wait, I remember. I invented a painkiller cocktail. I took one. It did nothing. I took a different one. Nada. The third one worked — a bit. I became a serial third painkiller addict for the next 3 days.

My bestie came back home, asked me to get an x-ray, prescribed some antibiotics to bring down the infection, and fixed a date for the great tooth removal. Meh — it is nothing she said. She should know — she’s been in the business for over 20 years now!

The designated day arrived. I begged my friend not to use the word surgery. The word messed up my brain. Tooth extraction sounded simpler and less traumatic for my drama-prone mind.

We went in and I took a while to list all my concerns and questions. My dear doctor dispensed them off quickly. I had nothing else to delay the thing. I resigned myself to my fate and lay down on the scary chair.

My friend said if all went well it would be only 15 minutes. I felt upbeat. Even considered listening to music while she dug around in my mouth. I looked at the clock — 12:10 pm. I dreamed about cold coffee and ice cream treats.

When the show finally ended and I was able to clap and hug my brave friend, it was 1:40 pm. Yup! One and a half hours – an epic battle!

My friend proceeded to give me anesthetic shots to numb my face. While we waited for me to lose half my face, we chatted about this and that. I can’t remember because I was busy trying to slow down my heart which was on overdrive. Edward Cullen, if he exists, would have heard my heart 10 kilometers away.

Then she started. She dug. She pushed. She pulled. She kept talking to me to calm me down. She chatted with my husband. 15 minutes later — nothing.

She went back in. Dug, tugged, pushed, pulled, twisted and I tried hard not to shout ‘ow ow ow’ because, truth be told, I knew I was only guessing that I might be in pain.

Half an hour and no signs of the wise tooth departing from my body. My bestie then said the words that drove a chill down my body. Ah — who am I kidding. I had been ready to hear them the whole time. I had been mentally prepared for over 48 hours. She said —

I have to cut through the jaw. I am not able to pull the tooth out.

I lay there as if it was no big deal. But Edward Cullen would have known. My dear doctor then brought out a drill that whirred through my mouth. I had visions of blood spurting everywhere. Sadly, there was no such drama. Not a drop of blood anywhere at the end of an hour and a half. I had nothing to show at the end of such a traumatic time. Squeaky clean.

My heart continued to race. I did the only sensible thing — I channeled my hamster, Bushy, to calm down. He is a picture of calm, a Zen baba of peace. I thought of his cute and calm countenance and did feel better for a wee bit. As wee as him.

My Zen baba Bushy sitting meditatively. Photo by Anu Anniah

After cutting just a little, my friend again heaved and tugged and pushed. This was now getting routine. I wished I could just pass out and let her do her thing. It was ‘knowing’ that all this was happening that killed me. I couldn’t feel the pain as much as I felt the pushing and tugging. My brain was confused. I thought I was in pain and squirmed and grunted.

Then she said another chilling thing —

This wisdom tooth is too possessive. It is refusing to leave her.

I developed a newfound respect for the tooth that had caused me so much pain. In this world where loyalty is a rare trait, here was a body part that was clearly in love with me. I told her to leave the tooth in. Poor thing. I was ready to run home at this point. But my husband was cleverly sitting at the door. Gah!

1:10 pm and no signs of the ordeal being over. I really pitied my friend. I was at least numb. She had been bending over me tugging and pushing for over an hour now. Gosh! And her fingers dangerously in my mouth. What if I clamped down on her fingers? Had a dentist ever lost a finger during a tooth extraction? Would I be creating history? Would I swallow the finger? Would my jaw be hanging loosely after being cut through? All these random thoughts crowded my head.

I channeled my Zen baba Bushy and relaxed for almost 2 seconds before vague thoughts came rushing back in again.

Finally, at around 1:25 pm, wizzy was out. What? Of course, I named the tooth. I can be possessive too. I begged my friend not to throw it away. She lovingly wrapped it in a cotton ball, put it in a plastic bag, and handed it to my incredulous husband.

Wizzy. Designed by Anu Anniah

I have developed an attachment for the tooth. I’ve brought it home. Wizzy now sits in a small bottle close to where I work. A reminder that life is all about attachment and detachment.

To those people who smirk and say I have lost my wisdom — HA! I have it right here!

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