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Tuesday, 15 August 2017


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Things like this always remind me of the "Rockford Files" episode when Jim Rockford had a dental procedure done just before the beginning of the episode.

While numb he sings the praises of the dentist, and even gets hit in the jaw, IIRC.

After the drugs wear off he is complaining that this was the worst dentist ever.

I know the feeling well, having had many extractions over the decades. Disturbing but not generally painful thanks to modern nerve blocks and techniques.

While returning home from my last (and hopefully final) yank I shot this street image. I don't really remember doing it and did not discover it until over a month later. But the EXIF data confirms that I did it. Shrug.

The inventors of Novocain and related products are great benefactors of mankind, and ought to have a statue somewhere.

Fats counter spicy. Add a little olive oil. Good luck.

Glad to hear it went well, Mike.

I also had an extraction this summer, a couple of months ago. The experience was pretty much as you've described it, and was over quickly. I had some painkillers that evening to relieve some aching that came on a few hours later and to allow me to sleep, but that was all. However, I too was wiped out for 24 hours or so afterwards - it was really the morning of the day after the day after, before I felt fully recovered.

We're not as young as we were....

Glad to hear you're doing o.k. Mike. If its any consolation you've reaped vivid snippets of autobiographical writing from the experience. Where are the pictures though? I feel sure you could come up with some props for your Inner Big Baby? :) Then there's the ripe plum of pain. The dentist's chair ...

Perhaps not. I sympathise about the anxiety. When I had a rather lengthy (hour and three quarter) root filling done I meditated on the rings of Saturn. I dabble in astrology you see, and Saturn, amongst other things, "rules" bone, teeth, dentists, fear ... Well, it worked for me. Hope the recovery goes well.

Another case of 'grin and bear it'.

I always find the regular cleaning sessions to be the most painful dental experience! (You can opt for anaesthetic of course, but Im Scottish so I'm supposed to a ) tough and b ) careful with my money)

.. and it goes on for 45-60 mins in my case

When I have oral surgery, which is more often than I would like, and even with simple cleaning I always do two things.

Have my own music on hand that I can control the volume. I use my Zune, original 30GB model, and earbuds with ear loops so they won't fall out.

Gas, good old Nitrous. When I get into the chair for dental work. I have them crank up the gas and I crank up the volume to drown out the drill. My music is set to random so I can get Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Bach, Clapton, Sarah McLachlan, Beethoven, chamber music, Gregorian chants etc. (I have an eclectic set of music on the old player) I can control the volume, so when the doctor wants to ask/tell me something I can lower the volume or stop the player.

I discovered the use of music during oral surgery way back in the early 80's. I had to have a molar that cracked extracted as an emergency. The doctor gave me a FM radio and a set of ear bud like headphones. He held/guided the chisel while dental assistant smacked the chisel with the hammer using both hands. Ever sense that day I have used music, usually pretty loud, during my visits to the dentist. Just don't sing along, that can get complicated.

Glad you're doing better.

Ice cream! Didn't they say to eat cold food?

Apparently not only do great minds think alike, we get the same infirmities of old(er) age at the same time!

Mike, you and I are very close in age, and l also had an unsalvageable tooth removed last week and can totally attest to all that you have written on the subject. Not looking forward to the slow process of the dental implant process, stretched over some months because it is what it is. Yet, my technical curiosity in all things photographic prepared me well to inquire with similar reasoning about the intriguing technical aspects of my dentists' approach to a new fake tooth for the current hole I have in my mouth. Yup, I said dentists, not dentist because it routinely takes more than one dental specialist to get through the whole fake tooth implant ordeal these days.

And it ain't cheap. Dental insurance isn't cheap, either, so there's no simple way around the considerable costs of bad teeth. On the upside, I find the dental restoration process all quite fascinating, so I submit to this process willingly but would still admonish your younger readers of T.O.P. as you have to pay close attention to their ongoing care of teeth and gums.

My single new tooth will cost me more than the exciting new Nikon D850 by all accounts of it's predicted price point. Ouch. There's the real pain!

Glad you're doing well, Mike! Yes, your body and mind are recovering from all that stress and adrenaline, the suppressed fight-or-flight reflex, not to mention the physical trauma (because that is what it was). So, situation normal. I was in the dentist's chair recently and can empathize. One thing I learned this time around: if the recovery isn't going as expected, don't hesitate to ask your dentist about it. I tried to "tough it out" and succeeded only in needlessly delaying my recovery an extra month or two.

Extractions are not that bad. I've done 2 in the last decade and honestly, there are worse things. No sedation nor Nitrous, just Novocain. As you describe, it's mainly noise and pressure.

I've been though a few of these myself , some non dental in origin. Just about all of these things are not painful! Yes, your nervous and tense, and yes, you have no control, it's all in someone else's hands! And that's what make me tense. After these things, I sleep very well too. I guess because it's done and over with!

I'm not surprised you felt tired Mike. It's the stress. The consolation is that after some sleep you feel great because you're so relaxed.

About 30 years ago I had to have an impacted wisdom tooth extracted, right at the back. I was terrified. For a week or more before the appointment I was thinking, "Someone is going to tear this thing out of my jaw!" When I finally got to the surgery, the receptionist took one look at me, before I even had a chance to speak and said, "Oh, you poor thing." I didn't realise my fear was showing so much.

But once in the chair, the dental surgeon very quickly injected me in the arm with Valium. Within seconds I felt incredibly relaxed and I couldn't care less what he wanted to do. He tore that tooth out within another few seconds and the job was done. It was painless then and afterwards, with very little bleeding too. It was remarkable. I wouldn't fear it now, but luckily that's the only one I've needed.

A tooth extraction is a form of surgery, and your body has to put energy into healing, so tiredness is expected. I had four teeth pulled eight days ago, and have napped every day since (not my usual routine).
And try to be aware of how you are holding your tongue, jaw, lips, etc. I find myself tensing up and tightening up, and that has been giving me headaches. So try to relax. Doing something that requires attention/concentration can help.

Nice to know it went all well. In order to reduce anxiety try some relaxing music you like in earphone before the work or if your dentist allows even during the work. It can help a lot!

Coincidentally, I had a tooth extracted last week, my sixth. Given the peculiarities of my dental anatomy (extra roots, long skinny roots with bulbs at the end) I spent three hours with the dentist, with a 10 minute half-time break because I needed to stretch and the dentist's fingers were cramping. A further complication was an abscess that had to be opened up to drain.

My diet for the next few days was heavy on dairy and I discovered a few new brands of yogurt and cottage cheese from grass-fed cows. Excellent! Oh yeah, and green sugar free jello.

None of the extractions were ever fun, but my worst was a tooth badly infected that kept the anesthetic from fully kicking in -- a few times I had to be scraped off the ceiling.

The socket is healing nicely, I can brush and chew in the area now. There was some dull pain in my jaw for a few days but that has subsided. And every time I was exhausted the day after -- which I attribute to the wearing off of the adrenaline.

And a new wrinkle this time -- after years with no issue, I have developed an allergy to amoxycillin that caused a rash to form in various places -- some on my upper left arm, some behind the knee and on the kneecap. So i did not finish the full course of antibiotics.

Next step is to investigate implants for some of the extraction sites. I am running out of teeth and it is harder to chew ...

Good luck, Mike. You will be back to solid food soon.

The getting-more-spicy thing is interesting. My wife (who is a fantastic improvisational cook despite this story and even though it makes me feel bad about stereotypes) once made kiwi fruit icecream. Don't do this: the fat in the cream dissolves things out of the pips of the fruit which you do not want to eat. It eas extremely bitter!

I am glad someone else mentioned spicy food. When you mix it all up you make the pepper angry. sometimes you have to chase it with milk or yogurt.

That said, I had 4 wisdom teeth extracted by, and I am not kidding, Dr. Ripley. Yup, believe it or not that miserable SOB ripped them out of my head. Nothing I could save in a little vial,and my head swelled up like a pumpkin a few hours later. My friends actually came over and played board games with me so that I would not have to be alone. I miss my childhood friends.

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