A bright light blinds me as my eyes squint open and I try and make sense of my surroundings. A strange hand clumsily prods my face. I unsuccessfully try to sit up when a face with kind eyes and a surgical mask on appears and tells me to relax. It’s then that I realise it’s my own hand touching my numb, swollen face and I’m in a bit of pain.
I’ve just had all four of my wisdom teeth surgically removed in hospital. And now face a few weeks of recovery and a lifetime without my third molars. As I melt into a stack of pillows and bite down on the some gauze to stem the blood flow I think back…
From your humble beginnings as blurry X-ray smudges you grew into piercing blades that pointed all the wrong directions. Yours was a slow, relentless journey towards some non-existent space on a jaw that didn’t want you. Among other crimes, you threatened to knock my $6,000 smile out of alignment (the estimated price of five years of orthodontic treatment) and, like that annoying drunk dude at a party, you proved yourself impossible to ignore. Many trips to the dentist resulted in the same advice: “I’d really recommend getting them out as soon as possible”. Until the day I finally I ran out of excuses.
“But why must we be extracted?”, you asked once… Well what the hell have you done for me lately? I need a set of teeth that meet me half way. Evolutionary biologists classify wisdom teeth as ‘vestigial organs’; meaning you have become functionless due to evolution. Not once did you even try to evolve!
Hey there, please don’t cry, we’ve all had the feeling that our lives have no purpose. For me, this happens when I run into old friends that are now productive members of society and giving back to the community, and in contrast I spent Sunday watching re-runs of The Nanny and eating dry soup mix straight from the packet. It’s important to stay positive. Try to remember your life wasn’t always so pointless. Cavemen’s jaws used to be much larger and the foods they ate would grind teeth down faster. By the time you lot came through our ancestors were grateful to see you – even depended on you. Those sabre-toothed tiger legs weren’t going to eat themselves, you know. You just haven’t kept pace with the world. Do you even Snapchat, wisdom teeth bros?
Back in the hospital I await the friendly nurses’ return – I was told there’d be ice cream. With nothing to do but listen to my septuagenarian roommates swap constipation stories and remedies, I pondered the operation. How would life be different post-extraction? Maybe it would be better. My other teeth could now relax now you lot wouldn’t be jostling for prime jawbone real estate, threatening my thousand dollar smile. And as soon as the giant holes had healed, I’d rest in peace knowing there weren’t great chunks of food stuck in my gums plotting my demise one grain of plaque at a time. Maybe you were just holding me back this whole time.
No, I think, sitting up in bed as promised ice cream is delivered, we had so many good times together. Upper Left: I’ll miss the way you protruded out of my gum headed straight for my cheek, as opposed to the usual downward direction. You were always such an individual. I couldn’t forget you, even if I tried! The inside of my cheek will be permanently scarred from where you have been gouging it for the last 6 months. And you, Lower Right, the way you would pretend like you’re going to come through the gum, but don’t. You would inflict a few days pain, some swelling and then nothing. LOL – good one, lower right. And to Lower Left, so many memories… all that food that got stuck in the gum where you were half sticking through that we got to relive later? “But I haven’t eaten corn in days!” I would think. “I know” you’d reply, “I know”. You always knew.
But everything comes to an end, and it was just your time. Farewell dear sweet teeth. May you rest peacefully in enamel heaven where the calcium flows freely and the fluoride rains on demand- we will always have The Chair. I’ll miss you guys. Except you, Upper Right… you’re a real piece of work.