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You're pullin' my tooth

I never minded going to the dentist because I am one of those lucky ones with non problematic teeth. I was always told that I had good teeth but that all changed a few days ago.....

I had taken my usual Monday morning yoga flow, met a friend, wrote some emails, took a dance class but then on my way home that evening, I could feel a niggling sensation in my mouth which felt like a popcorn seed stuck between my teeth. When I got in the door, I went for it full throttle with the dental floss and toothbrush, but this only made the pain worse.

The following day, I called the surgery receptionist and told her that I needed to see the dentist urgently. Within a half hour, I was on the dentist's chair listening to him telling me that he would have to pull out my wisdom tooth from my top gum to make room for the very painful wisdom tooth growing through my lower gum. It all sounded like a raw gum deal to me but while I was contemplating all of this, the dentist gave me a local anaesthetic, I had no idea that he was just about to go for it

with his dental pliers. A short while later, a big ole wisdom tooth was yanked out of my mouth. Now, if ever you have had a similar experience at the dentist, you might remember that it is a rather gross and gruesome sensation, although the area has been numbed you can still hear and feel the dentist's pliers gripping, digging, twisting and pulling, I am sure it is no easy task extracting a stubborn large tooth that has been lodged deep into the gums for years but yikes, it hurt! I was quite surprised at what happened next, especially as I had planned on going to an event that evening, in fact when the tooth came out, I wondered if I would ever be going out again; there was heavy bleeding, a sharp shooting pain followed by major swelling.

For the next 7 days, I went on a course of antibiotics, painkillers, sleeping tablets and a diet of banana & blueberry smoothies, mushed up avocados and yogurts. Each day I imagined the pain would lessen and that my ballooned up swollen cheek would go down but it just got worse.

I do have a pretty strong pain threshold and did not consider going back to the dentist so I googled my condition and what came up was a dry socket which is a complication that can sometimes occur after a tooth extraction but is rare. The symptoms described were very similar to what was happening to me. I was curious to know if this was indeed a dry socket so I went back to the dentist this morning and he confirmed that not only was it a dry socket but that it was extremely painful and the pain and swelling could last up to 10 days. It was actually a relief to hear this as I knew I had not exaggerated, but the good news was that it was going to be all over soon.....

I whole heartedly believe in the expression 'what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger' and although I had only suffered a particularly bad tooth extraction experience, I got a taste of a few days of experiencing consistent physical pain, feeling weak, mentally low and debilitated.

As I left the dentist surgery this morning, I felt like one helluva lucky grateful lady knowing that my mouth would soon be better; and what a wake up reminder that health is true wealth. I also believe something good comes from every set back. I am glad to say that I have had more than a few nice things happen since my dental tale of woe began and of course dance next week will feel extra sweet but more than anything, I have a much stronger feeling of appreciation for my own health, probably because I know so many people who have either suffered from shocking ill health or who are unwell now.

For years, I have been taking my health for granted, but it is only recently that I realise how fortunate I have been to be so healthy all my life; a recent leg injury, and the tooth experience has made me acutely aware of this I write this, I know that I need to keep practicing an attitude of gratitude especially at wobbly moments. I also know that any challenge becomes a little bit easier to handle when there is an appreciation for all the good stuff....hint hint Shorty!

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