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Last week I did something I've dreaded for the last 29 years.
I had my wisdom teeth extracted. All four of them.
Like I said, I've dreaded this almost my entire life. When I was old enough to understand what wisdom teeth are and what usually happened with them, I prayed that I would never have to have mine removed.
Sorry, Charlie. No such luck.
In the last few years, my wisdom teeth came to surface. Once or twice every six months I would endure a two-week marathon of pain as those teeth slowly came in.
After a few rounds of this, I was ready to remove them myself. Thankfully, I never did.
At the request of my dentist, I finally scheduled the procedure. I was referred to another dentist for the extraction.
"Would I like to remove two at a time so I could have one good side to chew on?" the dentist asked.
"No. Take them all. I may not come back if you only take two," I said.
So, last Friday, the dentist took all four of my wisdom teeth. The worst part (so far) has been my anxiety.
First, I worried that I was allergic to whatever it is they used to numb my mouth. My face felt extremely odd after all of the injections. I'm sure I left a pool of sweat on the dentist's chair.
Then, once I assured myself it was fine, I worried about when to change my gauze. My face was so numb that I couldn't feel it, and I had no idea if it was in the right place to help form blood clots.
I changed the gauze too early and sprung a leak. Thankfully, I recovered in time to avoid dry sockets.
From the time I got home until sometime Tuesday, I worried relentlessly about dry sockets. I avoided anything but super soft foods (losing five pounds in the process) and stayed on the couch all weekend.
I've finally relaxed a bit. Last night I had a cheeseburger. Today I had coffee.
The extraction was a breeze for me. I was in and out of the office in 30 minutes. I bet it took the dentist 10 minutes to pull the teeth. I was thankful for numbing agent. I couldn't feel a thing.
So far, I've noticed one great benefit of having four less teeth: flossing isn't nearly as hard. Every time I floss now I think, "Is that it?"
What's the moral of the story? I need to worry less. This hasn't been as bad as I feared.