Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tell them a Yorkshire man did it to yer!

"This is a lot harder now you're older. Really, 28 should be the maximum age for this procedure. Some people say over 30 is a problem, but I say 28."

28? 30? We were only talking about two years and more to the point...

"I was 31 last month. How can it make that much of a difference?"

"Oh, it does." I was assured. "The 40s are the same. 40 is always fine but 41... same with 50 and 51...."

Picture the most unamused expression imaginable and crank it up by a factor of ten. That was a fraction of the look I shot the dentist who was examining an x-ray of my bottom wisdom teeth. It was true that by North American standards, I was late to have these problematic calcified numbers removed. The logic goes that the teeth become progressively more difficult to extract as the patient ages and the roots cement more firmly to the bone. In the UK, the premise is that not everyone has issues with their wisdom teeth and if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Regardless of the right or wrong of the matter, I had to have mine out next week. And I was being teased which was mean.

My dentist was a cheerful Yorkshire man who acknowledged our kindred roots by declaring that there were two types of people in the world; those from Yorkshire and those who wished they were from Yorkshire. He took unashamed delight in first describing the process in detail to me and then the after-care.

"You'll have holes in your mouth like the Grand Canyon! They'll be so big that ... "

I blanched. "Um, is it necessary to describe it so vividly?"

"Yes! Because the most common emergency call I receive on a Sunday afternoon is from people panicking they have holes where I took out teeth!"

Well, I guess that would annoy you. Apparently, the holes take four to six weeks to heal and they must be washed out to prevent food settling in there. I thought that sounded pretty disgusting.

"Oh, you wait till you see what comes out!"

I started to regret eating lunch. The swelling, I learnt, is likely to appear two or three days after the surgery and there were some who claimed they could see the inflammation come up in real time while watching in the mirror.

"... they don't really have very much to do," the dentist conceded after a moment's consideration.

I was also a little nervous about the recommended aesthetic, since the normal procedure involved an extremely heavy sedative. Then the dentist told me he couldn't really freeze with a local injection that deep in the mouth. Suddenly, I was all about sedation.

"Just don't make any important decisions that day," he recommended. "Could you be pregnant?"

"Hell, no!" I exclaimed in surprise.

"That's the answer I wanted to hear!"

Oddly, I was also told not to wear nail varnish the day of my appointment. It acts as a barrier for the pulse reader they clip on the end of your finger.

"Any other questions?" the dentist concluded.

I tried to think of something cool and calculating. Something to demonstrate that I had processed the information and was now calmly prepared to undergo this trifling event. "How long will it take?"

"The actual procedure, about forty minutes."

I felt relieved; forty minutes sounded short and manageable.

The dentist grinned as he left the room. "Good job we took your blood pressure before I came in," he said in way of a parting farewell. "Or it'd be through the roof!"

... Perhaps not so cool and calculating.

"Just tell them a Yorkshire man did it to yer!"

Everybody wish me luck for Tuesday.


  1. Don't worry, Lizzie - I had mine done when I was in my 40s. I looked like a hamster for a few days, but it cleared up remarkably fast. And nowadays they give you powerful antiseptic to rinse with - I only had salt water! Like everything else, you just have to be patient for a bit. Lay in some good reading material/DVDs and allow yourself the luxury of a bit of pampering.
    Good luck!

  2. Thank you Jan! I've roped a friend in for the first 24 hours for a bit of movie watching (I'm not allowed to be alone for that time because of the sedative) and bought a new computer game :)