On the removal of a wisdom tooth…

02/04/2002

So I end today with one less tooth than I started it with. That’s right – the axis of evil that has been building within my mouth-mountain has finally been excised by the pure democratic might of Mr Moselhi – Notting Hill Dentist and International Man of Mystery.

After perforating my jaw and palate with a thousand tiny jabs from his anaesthic needle, I found my dentist passing time in my mouth with a little light drilling. This is clearly always a good start to a dental encounter. No smalltalk – straight to business – let’s drill something good and proper. A quick filling later, I felt almost relaxed. In fact, if I’m honest, the combination of twelve hours without food, forty gallons of industrial anaesthetic and total terror had left me close to tripping. Which is probably just as well.

Do you know how they remove teeth? I certainly didn’t. I’m sure we all have ideas, but what kind of horrific ideas are they? Pliers? Hatchets? Shovels? Lasers? In fact I’d like to be able to enlighten you all, but the device that went into my mouth bore no relation to any tool I’d seen before in my life. Not even Mr Moselhi’s indication that I would probably feel ‘considerable pressure’ was really much of a giveaway.

The weirdest thing about the device itself was that it appeared to be designed to be only able to affect the wisdom tooth from the direction of my right ear. This seemed to mean that my mouth had to be forceably relocated about 180 degrees around my head before anything further could be done.

After about ten minutes of ‘considerable pressure’, Mr Moselhi looked rather exasperated. I started giggling quietly to myself when he turned around. Like you would if you were stuck in a room with a serial killer and after a few hours you noticed he was wearing pink bunny slippers. He reinserted his mystical mystery device, sighed to himself and said “It doesn’t seem to want to leave you!”.

Suddenly hit with the image of a younger Tom being followed around by his faithful tooth ‘Toothy’, I became psychadelically elated. I could have my own TV series, like Flipper except dental rather than dolphine! Or Skippy, but less marsupial-ish. Bear in mind that my mouth was stretched around to my ear. My mood improvement may not have been noticeable to the outside world.

“Tom and Toothy, Tom and Toothy”
“They met at the Dentist’s pad!”
“Tom and Toothy, Tom and Toothy”
“Toothy drove poor Tommy mad!”
“Tom and Toothy, Tom and Toothy”
“They met at the Dentist’s spot!”
“Tom and Toothy, Tom and Toothy”
“One’s decaying, one is not!”

After several more minutes, Toothy still resolutely refused to be removed from his home. Ah, faithful friend. Even with Mr Moselhi pulling at him in alternating directions, causing my head to move side to side (which I seem to remember finding very entertaining), Toothy wouldn’t be separated from me. Until finally poor diseased Toothy was ripped free with a satisfying crunchy noise and displayed to me in a pair of pliers. Half of him was white and shiny and pristene – the other half black and crunched off. Much like that alien in Star Trek. You know the one.

I sat and admired Toothy for a few moments as my mouth filled with blood and saliva and little bits of ground up tooth. And then I was rinsed clean, patched up and sent on my way, with a final word from Mr Moselhi: “This was not an … easy … extraction, ” he said. “I think you should go and buy yourself some painkillers”. And with this piece of advice lodged loosely into my cloudy mind, I stumbled dazed into the bright lights of Notting Hill.

The rest of the day has been pretty unusual. Of course my tooth wouldn’t stop bleeding, and so I’ve hacked up dishcloths and wedged them in my mouth, used ice-packs and tried lying down with my head back. After a while (and after observing a nice film about English people breaking the sound barrier and a match of snooker involving a very attractive young man) I finally decided to talk to my mother about how to stop the bleeding. She suggested, and I kid you not, wedging a tampon in my mouth. I, of course, declared her insane immediately.

I said, “Is that what you used to say when you were a nurse, mother? Take one tampon and call me in the morning?!” For some reason, she laughed. Laughed! As if there were anything to laugh about! It was completely inappropriate. Don’t you agree?