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May 2, 2007

Posted by Teresa at 02:40 PM * 111 comments

Patrick made the appointment.

Thank you all.

Comments on Dentist:
#1 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 02:58 PM:

All in a day's work, ma'am.

#2 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Yay. Hope the news is good. Or at least not too traumatic.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 03:14 PM:

It's my fault Patrick's so scared. He has almost no history of dental work. I more than make up for him.

How it happened: On the day I was having my wisdom teeth out, Patrick came early to pick me up. He accidentally walked through the wrong door and wound up in the operatory room while they were still working on me. I think that was during the "Adagio for Bone Saw" portion of the program.

It's not a good picture for him to have in his head. Dentists don't even want patients to see the implements they use for wisdom tooth extractions, much less procedure itself in all its gruesome glory.

#4 ::: Evelyn Browne ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 03:23 PM:


No wonder, then. I wouldn't have wanted to see my wisdom tooth extraction-- it involved eight wisdom teeth, two complete sets, and all of them impacted; they had to slice the insides of my cheeks almost out to the skin to get at the back set, and sew them up from the inside so tightly I couldn't open my mouth more than half an inch afterward.

I did see a little bit of the beginning of it, when the sodium pentothal was still taking effect: I remember looking down at myself in the chair, as from a very great height, and thinking that someone down there must be in a hell of a lot of pain, and how very glad I was that I wasn't her. Weird stuff.

#6 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 03:30 PM:


Interestingly enough, the dentist who removed my wisdom teeth showed me the instruments because I was curious and asked. My favorite was the little stainless crowbar.

#7 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 03:39 PM:

Oh, great, two whole threads of nightmares for me.

#8 ::: Will A ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 03:40 PM:

There's a great wisdom-tooth-extraction story in Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. Various surgeons explain to the character why they won't operate by showing x-rays of how close to his brain the tooth-roots extend. "And this is the nerve cluster which distinguishes you from a marmoset. And this one allows you to suspend disbelief during bad movies." (quoted from memory, apologies for paraphrasing)

I remember being perfectly lucid when the tooth-removing doctor leaned over and said, with Bad Tourist volume and enunciation, "Can. . .You . . . Understand . . .Me?"

In my head I told him "Yes, of course I can." My mouth said "Uuuughhra" instead. I thought Huh. The gas must be working after all. Then I passed out.

Glad Patrick made the appointment. I guess it's too late to refrain from telling horror stories, or describing instruments of torture, until after he actually goes.

#9 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 03:42 PM:

ethan @ 7... Shall we regale you with further dental adventures? Bwahahahahah!!!

#10 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 03:55 PM:

Hey, I saw this movie one time...

#11 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 04:00 PM:

My wisdom teeth came in facing forwards. Hard to clean around, and they kind of forced the others forward.

When the time came to have them pulled, I got the full "Ooooh, prepare for pain and days of disability!" treatment.

I let my manager and co-workers know I would be out the rest of the day, and maybe the rest of the week. Then dentist wrote me a prescription for vicodin and gave me gauze to pack around the oozing chasms.

And . . . I went right back to work. Didn't need the gauze or the vicodin. I felt sore, but not disabled or even miserable.

#12 ::: Christopher B. Wright ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 04:07 PM:

When I had my wisdom teeth out, I got the same message -- that it would be days of pain. My dentist (who was, oddly enough, the spitting image of Donald Sutherland, only with perfect teeth) did such a great job that I only felt sore for a few hours afterwards. I still had to stay off solid food for a few days, but there wasn't any real pain.

I took the next day off anyway. :)

#13 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 04:09 PM:

#4: Ow ow ow ow ow. And I thought my four impacted were bad enough. No longer.

#14 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 04:13 PM:


I think ethan just fainted.

#15 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 04:17 PM:

Serge, I fainted a long time ago and I've yet to recover.

#16 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 04:21 PM:

ethan @ 15... In that case, interested in a description of my gum surgery?

#17 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Plot summary for 1996's The Dentist:

"...Dr. Allan Feinstone had everything. A beautiful wife, a huge house, and a wonderful job of being a dentist. That is, until he finds out that his wife is having an affair with the pool boy, and now his mind has snapped. Any plaque, tooth decay, or bad breath can set off his mind, and now if you have a trip to the dentist, you better cancel it, unless you want to be dentally tortured..."

#18 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 05:23 PM:

When I had my initial orthodontia exam the doc determined that I needed to have four back teeth pulled, two uppers and two lowers on either side.

When I was in college a few years later, my roomie had two wisdom teeth pulled on Friday and two more on Monday. He was in agony all weekend and through Wednesday.

Thus I was terrified of the prospect of wisdom teeth extraction. Then I saw a dentist who said, "your orthodonist's foresight means your wisdom teeth are coming in fine. No worries, mate."

And it was true!

#19 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 06:16 PM:

A few years back, I had to have all kinds of dental stuff done. It was less agonizing when they let me hold a hand mirror and watch what they were doing. I still have a quick sketch I drew of myself with clamps and dental dam in place that I did when the dentist was out of the room for a couple of minutes. I love the drawing -- I look so hapless.

#20 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 07:11 PM:

Bone saw? Ick.

I think I'm glad that my fibre-optic nervous system means that I'll be getting my wisdom teeth out under *general* anaesthetic this month.

(Maybe it's not fibre-optic, perhaps: but can you think of another explanation for local anaesthetic having *no* anaesthetic effect whatsoever? They might as well have injected me with sterile saline.)

#21 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 07:55 PM:

I'll, ah, be over here hiding under the table with ethan. Braces and getting 4 front teeth pulled (the ones just behind the canines, not sure the name) in my teens were quite bad enough.

#22 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 08:02 PM:

In an effort to help ethan out, I have a positive dental story.

My wisdom teeth were simple extractions. They had erupted through the gums, and the roots were together. Every dentist described them as "ice cream cone shaped", which is apparently a technical term describing dentition. (??)

It took 45 minutes to finally numb me up so I couldn't feel anything. All 4 teeth were extracted in 12 minutes. Fairly painless. Thank goodness!

ethan, dentistry isn't all bad.

#23 ::: Melissa Devnich ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 08:15 PM:

Tania #22:

I have (had) those! I didn't realize there was a technical term; I refer to mine as "shaped like small party hats."

#24 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 08:32 PM:

Tania @ 22... ethan, dentistry isn't all bad

(Think he'll believe you?)

Actually, my own experiences were all painless, during each procedure and after it was over.

#25 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 08:41 PM:

Should this be an annual blog event, then?

#26 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 08:46 PM:

I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth out and went to a job interview the next day. When I apologized for mumbling a bit, and explained the reason, the incredulous interviewer asked me why I hadn't cancelled.
I told him I REALLY wanted the job.
He said "Now that's determination!"

(I didn't get it. though.)

#27 ::: Carrie V. ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 09:07 PM:

Still have all my wisdom teeth. I'm dreading the day someone tells me I need them out.

But...I had an impacted 6-year molar removed when I was about 14... an oral surgeon named Dr. Looney.

#28 ::: Scott D-S ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 09:17 PM:

If you have a simple extraction of a whole tooth, not to worry. The previous accounts of a fairly painless process are accurate.

However, if you get told that you have a cracked tooth that needs to come out, RUN - do not walk - to an oral surgeon. You don't want to be awake for this. Fractures often don't really show up very well, so what looks like two pieces or a simple crack can be a lot more than that. 3 hours in a chair just plain sucks. I almost felt sorrier for the dentists whose afternoon/early evening I shot to hell than I did for me - for about 2 minutes. Not their fault, they just didn't realize what they were getting into until they were already into it, and it was too late to stop.

#29 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 09:28 PM:

Go Patrick!

I've had some bad experiences with the dentist but now I have a lovely woman who came highly recommended. Still, I'm so scarred from my previous experiences that I wish I could start the nitrous oxide before I leave the house. I tend to sit in the waiting room and snivel even though she's been very gentle with me. Luckily she's also quite understanding,

#30 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 10:09 PM:

Tip for those with dentist fears:

If you ask around, you can usually find dentists who specialize in patients with dental phobias and are good at it. This helped me get back into seeing the dentist after a number of years of not going at all, after my fears and stress level got out of whack. (That may have had something to do with my wisdom tooth extraction, which was rotated completely sideways, so they had to cut it up in place and remove it in chunks. Or maybe not, because it was mostly the routine cleanings that I was freaking out about.)

Since I found my specialist, who has some outstanding hygeinists, I've been going twice a year with no further traumas or mental problems and only minor filling work needed. Fortunately I'd grown up with fluoridated water and fluoride treatments and had good brushing habits, so my teeth hadn't deteriorated significantly during the years I wasn't going in for cleanings and checkups.

#31 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 10:20 PM:

Nenya, the teeth just behind your canines are your first pre-molars.

I get my teeth cleaned and checked twice a year. (It's never occured to me not to go -- except when I had no insurance.) I've had fillings replaced (One is Under Observation now.), and a mouth guard made.

That's it. Are you paying attention, Patrick and Ethan?

#32 ::: Scott Wyngarden ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 10:27 PM:

Scott D-S: RUN - do not walk - to an oral surgeon.

Oral surgeons are a goodness. About a year out of high school, I went for a long overdue dental check-up where the dentist decided that I really should get those two stubborn baby teeth out. He gave me the card of a surgeon. I went. There was plenty of novocaine and instruments that looked rather like needle nose pliers and a wrench. I heard the tooth snap from all the twisting the surgeon was doing, but didn't feel anything. It was neat.

#33 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 11:00 PM:

I was, thank ghu, unconscious for the extraction of my wisdom teeth. The fractured bits of the roots of one of them are still in my face; they were very close to the sinuses and nerves, and the doctor did not want to risk probing deeper to pull them out.

I dug out the insurance info today (involved a trip across campus to HR) and will be making the appointment tomorrow.

Thanks for the kick in the pants!

#34 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 11:56 PM:

My fear of hypodermics is so strong that for years they used to have to put me on pure oxygen for 10 minutes before they even considered xylocaine or gas.

Is this the place not to mention Arch Obler's A Trip To The Dentist? I thought so...

#35 ::: Chris W ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 12:14 AM:

Pshaw, I say.

Sure, wisdom tooth removal can be nasty and leave you in serious pain for a week or so, but I've had the joyful experience of walking into a dentist's office (actually it was an oral surgeon) and having him tell me that I could look forward to years of agony.

See, I don't have any wisdom teeth. I also don't have three other adult teeth, and a fourth is only half the size of the space it's meant to fill.

This resulted in many years of orthodontia in middle school and early high school, and a retainer which I wore 20+ hours per day, mainly to maintain the gap on the upper right where we intended to put an implant once we were sure I'd stopped growing. Now I didn't wear this retainer out of any inherent virtue. Mostly I wore it because if I left it out for more than a couple hours at a time, it hurt like the dickens to put it back in. I could actually feel my teeth move in my jaw as I wedged the little fake tooth attached to the retainer back into its appointed space.

So junior year of college rolled around, and we were pretty well convinced I'd stopped growing some time around Sophomore year of high school, so I went in for a consultation with an oral surgeon on putting in an implant. I was promptly informed that while my retainer had done an admirable job of keeping the teeth apart, it had been remiss in dealing with the roots. See the implant is basically a screw placed into your jaw, with a fake tooth attached to the top. This screw is about 3 mm wide. The space between my roots was about 2.5 mm wide.

So as a junior in college, I got to get braces again.

Long story short, after 18 months of braces, two oral surgeries, one small bone graft, one false tooth shattered in my mouth, several weeks with a bare steel peg sticking out of my gums, one custom-built implant and about a millimeter sanded off of my bottom teeth to keep the implant from screwing up my bite I now have a full set of teeth.

Except for the two baby teeth on the bottom that are bonded to their neighbors and will rot out some day...

And the gap over on the top left...


#36 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 12:20 AM:

See my comments on the other thread. I'm so sensitive about my teeth that If I'd had to have orthodontics I'd probably have demanded that they pull them ALL.

#37 ::: Paul Lalonde ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 01:13 AM:

4 wisdom teeth, all in, all fit, all happy.

Dentists tell me I have a big mouth.

But ask me some day about the anesthetics they use when they have to work on your retina. Totally aware. Totally didn't care. That was very disturbing. The follow-up injections were *much* worse.

#38 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 02:11 AM:

Two wisdom teeth taken out a year apart on the grounds they were rotting and I didn't need them anyway. I baulked the first time, so my dentist explained that at the current rate of decay they were coming out regardless sometime in the next five years, and he'd rather do them while there was still enough left that they were a pliers job rather than having to go in after them with a chisel.

They were taken out by my own dentist under a local, and the worst bit of it was having the injections. Other than that, didn't feel a thing. They hurt horribly while the local was wearing off, as far as I can tell mostly because the nerve objected to being hit with that much lignocaine, and then ached slightly for the rest of the day. By the time I'd been to the pharmacy to buy the codeine and then got home with it, I didn't need it any more.

The impacted wisdom tooth and the molar with the very deep cavity and possible crack, on the other hand, were done under a general. So I didn't have to be awake for the gruesome details the oral surgeon gave me later. "It fell apart as I pulled at it and I had to take it out piece by piece with a chisel."

Someone wave the smelling salts at ethan.

#39 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 06:15 AM:

I made an appointment for a checkup next Friday.

Making Light: Language, fraud, folly, truth, knitting, and growing luminous by eating light. Oh, and nagging about dental appointments. I love this place.

#40 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 06:20 AM:

Plot summeary for 1998's The Dentist 2: Brace Yourself...

"...Dr. Caine, the murdering dentist from the original movie, has escaped from the mental hospital where he has been since being caught. Hoping to resume a normal life, he makes his way to a quiet Midwestern town under a false name and takes on the responsibilities of the town dentist Things are starting to look up for Caine, until the day when he catches his new love in the arms of someone else. Just as in the first movie, this sends him back over the edge and into another homicidal rampage, with his unfortunate patients bearing the brunt of his hostility..."

All right, everyone, get on with it. You know the drill.

#41 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 07:27 AM:

By co-incidence I was at my dentist yesterday. He thinks the gums have improved a lot as a result of the root planing, and the molars aren't moving as much as a result. But the bone loss is still irreversible.
Moral - when your dentist says you ought to see a periodontist but the one he used to refer to has retired and he doesn't know any and a couple of phone calls don't find one and then that dentist leaves the practice and the next one doesn't say anything, don't leave it a few years until another new dentist says "you really need to see a periodontist" (though he still couldn't recommend one), keep trying the first time (though it would have helped a lot if the dentist I went to before that had said anything). Gum disease is serious and only fully reversible in the early stages.

#42 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 08:22 AM:

At my dentist they have video monitors on the Wonder Bright Light Arm(tm). I asked just what they were for thinking that maybe during my next cleaning I could request a program or something. That's when he explained that they use them to show people just what they're doing while they work on their teeth. If I hadn't been on my back I probably would have fallen over.

#43 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 09:40 AM:

Another tip: if you have persistent heartburn: go to the dentist.

Thanks to my untreated acid reflux, I now have a shiny new (expensive, time-consuming) crown on a back molar. And extra-strength toothpaste to prevent more teeth from rotting away while the acid reflux is being treated.

It had never occured to me, you see, that my heartburn had not only gone chronic but was having serious consequences.

#44 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 09:43 AM:

Alan @ #41:
I go to a dental service which has a periodontist on staff. He's only in the office one or two days a week, so I make my appointments on those days so he can do some poking around and admire his work.

I will not join the dental horror-fest by recounting the joys of being resodded and patched, but those procedures are very motivating incentives to get checked regularly.

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 09:52 AM:

Susan @ 44... I will not join the dental horror-fest by recounting the joys of being resodded and patched

C'mon, Susan. You know you want to. Besides, ethan expects no less from us.

#46 ::: Barbara ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 10:23 AM:

I am a survivor of wisdom teeth extraction and gum surgery - no biggie!!!

#47 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 11:01 AM:

Tania #22: Thanks for the thought, but it's really not the pain and difficulty of the process that terrifies me. What really bugs me is imagining the sensation in the mouth of tooth pieces, or missing teeth, or....ugh. It's the actual physical part of it that scares me. Pain I'm OK with.

Oh, and I have no problem going to the dentist. Every six months like clockwork (except that I had to cancel this visit because of stupid American lags in insurance-getting from job to job).

Serge #17 & 40: You are cruel. Cruel, cruel, cruel.

Time to pass out again. (thud)

#48 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 11:05 AM:

ethan @ 47... You are cruel. Cruel, cruel, cruel.

You're welcome.

#49 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 11:16 AM:

Ethan @ 47

the feel of missing teeth - don't worry, it's just a soft pit when you poke it with your tongue. Follow the instructions the dentist gives you, and you shouldn't have problems. (Probably something will be said about rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater. Think chicken soup without chicken.)

#50 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Alan Braggins @ 41: Correspondingly, if your orthodontist tells you that you need to have your wisdom teeth out, do it right away instead of waiting until just before you get kicked off your parent's dental insurance. I made it through years of mostly-preventive orthodontia, only to procrastinate so long on getting my wisdom teeth out that they'd forced some of my other teeth slightly out of position. Arrrgh.

When I did finally get them taken out, the extraction itself was fine — at least, I don't remember anything about it, so that's close enough to "fine" for me.

#51 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 02:10 PM:

Oo, wisdom teeth removal story time!

I got mine done under some sort of painkiller I can only describe as "Take this pill an hour before the appointment, then this other pill when you arrive." I was awake through the whole procedure, but not...quite...there. And very happy! I distinctly remember thinking, "Oh, hey, that sounds like they're cracking the tooth into pieces inside my mouth and then removing the shards. Cool!"

Afterwards I was incoherent from the drugs for the rest of the day, and back at work the day after being...very happy on Vicodin. Lovely stuff, that. Made me feel happy and floaty and all fine with the world.

Which is actually the part I consider a valuable learning experience about the whole thing. I was down to one pill left in my bottle of painkillers, and holding a prescription for a complete refill. The pain had subsided to the point where I could really deal with it with some ordinary ibuprofen. I looked at that last pill in the jar, and my brain went "GIMME" with such charming intensity it scared the shit out of me. I promptly threw away the last pill, shredded the prescription, and swapped to ordinary painkillers. Having my wisdom teeth out wasn't very scary. Realizing how easy it would be to just keep taking those happy pills was very, very scary indeed.

#52 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 03:01 PM:

Fade Manley #51: Afterwards I was incoherent from the drugs for the rest of the day, and back at work the day after being...very happy on Vicodin.

The sequel to my wisdom teeth story was fairly lurid. I didn't have a car, my boyfriend (later husband) didn't have a car, and we walked the almost mile to the surgeon's. I got out of the surgery, and had two tasks before I went home: get the painkillers at a nearby drugstore, and get some icecream at the grocery. We got through the pills part, but at the grocery I started feeling faint, and had to establish myself on a pile of fertilizer bags in front of the store while boyfriend called cab. (This is back in the 70s--no cell phones.) When the cab appeared, it drove around, decided it didn't see anyone who resembled a likely customer, and drove off. In the meantime, I began serious lapses into unconsciousness, punctuated by bloody drool. Finally some total gentleman of the old school volunteered himself to drive us home. He declined to give us his name, but I'm eternally grateful to him.

I took the next day off. Maybe the day after that. It turns out, via later experience, that I don't react well to any anaesthetic, which I really should have already figured out after I had a bad trip on laughing gas getting the chipped tooth fixed.

#53 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 03:40 PM:

#50. We in the UK have a National Health Service that will take out wisdom teeth, so no need for dental insurance. But the NHS doesn't cover the work to discourage them from falling out....

#54 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 03:47 PM:

P.S. Though I should have said that it is getting harder and harder to find NHS dentists taking new patients. I think UK dentistry is still generally cheaper than the US though. On the other hand apparently it can be worth taking a holiday to somewhere like Hungary and paying for major dental work there (I know someone who is going to St Petersburg to have implants, but that's partly because she's been offered free use of a flat (apartment) there).

#55 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 08:03 PM:

Fade at #51,
Realizing how easy it would be to just keep taking those happy pills was very, very scary indeed.

Oh yeah. I had an outpatient hernia operation and was prescribed 25-30 painkillers. I took two and decided I wanted no more of those; it felt like I lost way too much control.

(Being a smoker and, at the time, someone bordering on functional alcoholism, I knew I had an addiction-prone personality. I've since quit the booze.)

#56 ::: Nick Fagerlund ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 08:08 PM:

My siblings (pair o' twins two years younger than me) and I had all 12 (combined) of our wisdom teeth out under general anesthetic on the same morning. It was a cheery damn house after that, I tell you what.

Awesome epiphenomenon of your mom being a Dental Assistant who knows the oral surgeon socially: we got to actually keep the offending teeth. (They dipped them in some kind of bleach solution first.)

I still haven't completely abandoned my plan of making a necklace from one.

#57 ::: Nick Fagerlund ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 08:17 PM:

Fade Manley, #51: Opposite cause, same effect: I stopped taking my painkillers* early because the buzz they offered made me want to bang my head against a wall. I hated that... what would I even call it? That suppressed feeling. Hated it with a passion.

Which told me that I'm a low risk for painkiller addiction, but probably a massive risk for stimulant addiction.

* Tylox, aka oxycodone+acetaminophen.

#58 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 08:28 PM:

Nick @ #56: I, too, have my teeth. Mine were tossed in a cup with a lid, with little pieces of flesh still attached to the roots. I find the container in the junk drawer every few years, and plan to do something with them.

I'd asked the dentist ahead of time if I could keep my teeth. The assistant thought it was weird, but the dentist was unruffled.

#59 ::: Geri ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 10:24 PM:

After I realized that I'd had all four wisdom teeth out on my friend's birthday, I gift-wrapped them and mailed them to him. He thought it was a hoot and made them into a necklace. My partner thinks this means my friend and I are married in some way.

#60 ::: Nick Fagerlund ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 10:53 PM:

You know, I wanted to keep my tonsils, too, but I couldn't use any mom-based leverage in that situation. Plus they were apparently some kinda biohazard. And also revolting.

(I was the only one of us three who had his throaty-bits hacked out. Turns out that our family's twice-yearly strep infestation was all coming from somewhere back there, and none of us have contracted it in the 12 years since. My sister still says my tonsilectomy was the nicest present I ever gave her.)

#61 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 11:14 PM:

Jim had one his extracted molars turned into an earring. (One of our friends, a jeweler, did it, at the time I wasn't into that craft then.)

The only time he got called for jury duty while we lived in KS, he wore that in one ear and an eyeball earring in the other ear. Otherwise he dressed respectfully. He got sent home during voir dire. Big fat surprise....

#62 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 01:01 AM:

Nick @ #60: The ongoing similarities here are kinda creepy.

My dad always claimed the dog was my brother. Yeah, I've made all the jokes about that one. Anyway, the dog and I kept getting sick with hacking coughs. A tonsillectomy for the dog was $60*, one for me was more expensive. So, the dog's tonsils came out, we both stopped getting sick, and I still have my wee bits of lymphoid tissue.

*1977 dollars

#63 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 01:31 AM:

When I had my wisdom teeth out (fairly uneventful in and of itself) my mom made me a big breakfast that morning, pancakes, bacon, the woiks.

Unfortunately, bacon doesn't go well with nitrous, and I got a bit nauseous. So no gas for me, just needles.

#64 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 01:34 AM:

"I, too, have my teeth. Mine were tossed in a cup with a lid, with little pieces of flesh still attached to the roots. I find the container in the junk drawer every few years, and plan to do something with them."

Have a taxidermist implant them in the jaws of some incongruous little critter - a roadkill rabbit with big honking human molars...

#65 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 01:42 AM:

Jon H at #64 "Have a taxidermist implant them in the jaws of some incongruous little critter - a roadkill rabbit with big honking human molars...

Have you got some sort of animosity toward future archaeologists? Some poor schmoe will waste at least an entire afternoon trying to figure out what the heck happened to that skull. Or, if it's post-apocalypse, an entire new origins legend will develop.

#66 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 02:56 AM:

Linkmeister - I take it you don't approve of Custom Creature Taxidermy?

PS: If anyone wants to make some baby scorpion earrings, I have about 15 plump white newborn Emperor Scorpion babies that I'm not sure what to do with. ('Sautee' keeps coming to mind.)

#67 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 03:06 AM:

Jon H @ #64: Like a jackalope. I like it. I have a marmot skull on the shelf, I could get creative. Hmm.

#68 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 06:55 AM:

I got to keep three out of four wisdom teeth too - my mother was dating the pathologist who did the, um, tooth autopsy. The fourth tooth shattered in the extraction process. Being a wimpy teenager, I had the procedure under general anesthesia.

Sometime in the intervening moves the teeth have been lost, alas.

#69 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 08:13 AM:

Susan @ 68.. my mother was dating the pathologist

This is starting to sound like something from John Lustig's Last Kiss Comics.

#70 ::: CJColucci ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 12:39 PM:

One of my favorite Columbo episodes was the one about the evil dentist who murdered a patient by putting a dissolving, poisonous filling in one of his teeth. Then, one day, my wife and I saw an episode of McMillan and Wife (which for a time was in a rotation with Columbo) with the same evil dentist plot!
My own wisdom tooth experience wasn't so bad, except that I could feel the tooth cracking (no pain, just awareness) from the pressure of the extractor.

#71 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 12:50 PM:

When I had gum surgery, there was no problem, no pain, no nothing. At some point, thanks to the laughing gas, I found myself thinking about how interesting the situation was. Then I found myself thinking about finding myself thinking about how interesting the situation was...

#72 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 01:41 PM:

I react to lidocaine. If I have to have a filling or worse, I'm stuck with having a less-effective anesthetic, carbocaine (about three shots during the course of a filling are usually necessary, as it wears off very quickly), or have to go without.

Pain-free dentistry. Interesting hypothetical concept.

#73 ::: Linda Daly ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 02:06 PM:

Don't listen to them, Patrick!

I went to the dentist yesterday. Everything was fine, except for one old filling that has to be replaced.

I asked the dentist if having a filling replaced is more painful than getting a filling in the first place. He looked at me as though I were nuts and said, "New ones, old ones, it doesn't matter. You'll be totally numb and you won't feel a thing!"

I heart my dentist. Then again, talk to me next Friday.

#74 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 02:17 PM:

Jon H at #66,

I'm, er, agnostic. I wonder what PZ Myers of Pharyngula might make of his neighbor's art.

#75 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 02:53 PM:

I had four wisdom teeth out two days after finishing my first quarter at college.

I remember remembering "100, 99, 98, 97..." Not sure about 96 and 95, but by "94" I was waking up.

As I remember, the greatest anguish was the looking like a Cabbage Patch Doll for a few days. Ubiquitous cameras weren't around then*, so there aren't any permanent records of said transformation.

The horse-pill sized codeine made the subsequent two days pass in a happy "Hey, does anything exist except the tip of my nose? Because I can only see the tip of my nose" blur.

* Sad that they weren't, really, except in this one case. Back then I'd go on a trip and at best take 24 pictures a day, and most weren't good. Now I'll take that many in an hour, but I'm spending much less time thinking about photos, because of all the enabled-by-digital practice.

#76 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 04:17 PM:

You know, I thought I'd dreamed it, but it turns out that it's real, and I read it.

Piers Anthony wrote a novel about an interstellar dentist.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 04:39 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 75... the greatest anguish was the looking like a Cabbage Patch Doll for a few days

I can't wrap my mind around the idea. Truthfully. You might as well ask me to think of Katee Sackhoff as a Cabbage Patch Doll.

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 05:32 PM:

(Cont'd from #77)

Suddenly I find myself thinking of a Cabbage-Patch-Doll version of Battlestar Galactica...

#79 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 05:34 PM:

Serge #78: That's what they used to call thinking the unthinkable.

#80 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 08:19 PM:

Sarah S @ 76

Piers Anthony wrote a novel about an interstellar dentist.

Avram Davidson wrote a short story about a dentist abducted by aliens to to take care of their awful, rotten teeth, who hides a message in a filling he deliberately installs badly so it will have to be taken out while the alien is on Earth. Help, I Am Dr. Morris Goldpepper

#81 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 08:25 PM:

Serge @ 78

I like the idea of a Garbage Pail Kids BSG even better.

#82 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 10:24 PM:

Good to hear he made the appointment. So how did he like Buffy #3?

#83 ::: DILBERT DOGBERT ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2007, 07:08 PM:

I came in late but has anyone had a tooth abscess or known anyone who had one? Two of my friends were told that they came very close to death from theirs. In one case the infection was moving towards the brain and in the other the transferred abscess was on one kidney and was first diagnosed as cancer. Big time hospital stays for all.
Take care of your teeth! The damn things can kill you. The problem can be that by the time you are feeling some pain the problem is well advanced.

#84 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2007, 07:09 AM:

Marvel Comics had a She-Hulk story about ten years ago where we discovered that Doctor Doom had a cousin who was a dentist. Back in 2000, when Grant Morrison started writing X-men, he had Xavier's evil twin sister trying to re-activate the Sentinels, and her best way to do that was to find someone genetically related to their creator, and she found one here in Albuquerque and, yes, he too was a dentist.

All this to say...

Sure, Patrick made an appointment, but did he actually go?

#85 ::: cosmetic dentist ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 02:29 PM:


[Posted from]

#86 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 08:05 PM:

Whoa! I didn't know you could be officially subscribed to this blog! Sign me up!

#87 ::: Gabrielle ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 02:02 PM:

We were all hoping for it.

#88 ::: Gabrielle ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2009, 02:05 PM:

My wisdom teeth are just growing in. I'm kinda scared to get them pulled.

#89 ::: Serge sees contour-pillow spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2009, 05:42 PM:

Why contour-pillow spam in a thread about dentists?

#90 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2009, 05:49 PM:


Because the spammers can't handle the tooth?

#91 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2009, 06:24 PM:

Michael I @ 93... Or they just like to gum up the works.

#92 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2009, 09:03 PM:

Let's just cap it here, before we hit a nerve.

#93 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2009, 09:11 PM:

An incisive comment, Ginger.

#94 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2009, 09:39 PM:

The spammers, clearly, don't know the drill here.

#95 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2009, 09:43 PM:

Maybe the cushions are for the seats of the Molar Express.

#96 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2009, 07:17 AM:

Brace yourselves, it may be a rough ride...

#97 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2009, 12:36 PM:

I see all the old retainers are commenting.

#98 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2009, 12:42 PM:

Of course, Xopher. We always bite an an opportunity to brush up on our punning.

#99 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2009, 02:54 PM:

Any means is proper if one wants to throw off the shackles of indenture.

#100 ::: Gingivitis ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2009, 02:59 PM:

Why, these puns are simply unpalatable. A plaque upon you all!

#101 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2009, 03:08 PM:

I fear the quality of this discussion is beginning to decay.

#102 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2009, 03:21 PM:

I see the same crowd caries the discussion again, by gum!

#103 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2009, 03:21 PM:

The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth...

#104 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2009, 04:02 PM:

Abi, I guess those puns do make a dent in the level of ML's discourse.

#105 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2009, 05:15 PM:

I think we can al get to the root of this matter.

#106 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2009, 06:09 PM:

Fragano... We can then say that the check IS enamel.

#107 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2009, 08:28 PM:

What an amalgamation of wordplay, such quicksilver wit.

#108 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2009, 01:42 AM:

"Mmmf mn nnngh, mfmfmmgnn" as I wittily remarked during my last dental appointment. Oh, how they laughed!¹

¹ Until they found the nitrous oxide leak.

#109 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2009, 06:57 PM:

No one is going to put a dent yne these puns, they're just going to have to pulp all of them.

#110 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2009, 08:18 PM:

Fragano, that seems to be the root of the matter, all the rest is just gumming up the works.

#111 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2009, 08:44 PM:

So, the solution to this problem really is "drill baby drill"!

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