Friday, June 26, 2009

Wisdom teeth are done

I did something this week that I've put off for a long time. I had my wisdom teeth out.

Dentists have been suggesting I do it for well over 20 years. For different reasons I've put off doing it. But this time when my dentist suggested it at my last visit I just decided to go ahead and do it.

The process was went rather smoothly and quickly. I had the initial referral within a couple of weeks. They take this cool wrap around the head x-ray with a 3-d image of your mouth. I could see the bottom wisdom teeth one of them was sideways. Then I set the appointment for a just a couple of weeks later. That was fast. I'm not used to such quick delivery of health services.

I did the procedure on Tuesday morning at 7:30 - earlier than I'm usually out of the house or anywhere. I elected to go with just local freezing instead of mild sedation or being fully knocked out. The assistant was curious why I didn't get sedation as local freezing is apparently unusual. I had a couple of reasons.

- I didn't want to skip breakfast. You can't eat before if you get sedation.

- With sedation you need someone to drive you home afterward and stay with you the rest of the day. I didn't really have anyone to drive me around. So going with local freezing I can just drive myself there and back afterwards.

Those were the reasons I told her. The really BIG reason of course I didn't want sedation is because of what happened when I was in high school. A friendly girl named Sherrie died while getting her wisdom teeth out. Ever since then of course wisdom teeth and Sherrie have been unbreakably linked.

I was quite happy to have an alternative to sedation so I didn't have to risk my life for an optional dental procedure. I didn't even realize you could get your wisdom teeth done without sedation. I might have done it before now if I'd realized that.

The procedure itself went well. He got all four teeth out in around half an hour. Two of them were really fast, out in probably less than 2 minutes each. The others took a bit of work with lots of yanking, drilling and cracking. But Dr. Powell was very good and it all went quite well.

Afterwards I just sat around my place not doing much. I felt a bit grungy around 1 PM when the freezing was wearing off. The dentist (who is also an MD) gave me a prescription on the way out for Ibuprofen and Tylenol 3. I went back to the Medicine Shoppe to get it filled. The pharmacist was helpful as usual and she took the time to explain to me what they were for that the Ibuprofen was for swelling and to make sure to keep taking it for 3 days even if I felt well. The Typlenol 3 was for pain and I could take them together.

I must say after I took the two Tylenol 3 the effect was immediate and positive. The pain went away and I was in a much better mood all afternoon. Since then I've taken 2-3 a day when my mouth feels sore. The bottom right side has been a bit painful a couple of times a day over the last couple of days. There hasn't been any bleeding in the last 2 days so it seems to be recovering pretty well. I went back to work the next day and it was OK. I didn't want to burn up a lot of my vacation on this.

I was a bit surprised at the cost. It ended up coming in at a bit under $1000. I was expecting that since I'd got an insurance estimate done. I was surprised though that my insurance from work covered it at 90%. That was nice. I had it fixed in my mind it was 50% at best. I think it was maybe 50% at a previous employer. So that was a nice bonus. I was prepared to be out around 5 bills for this. Instead all together including the $5 prescription co pay on the 3 prescriptions, gas money driving to the clininc and back twice, incidentals like McDonald's milk shake and Farmers ice cream I was only out a bit over $100.

So now it's finally done and I'm glad it's done. This is a good time to get it done when my teeth feel alright, I don't have other complicating health problems to deal with, I have insurance coverage on it, and I have some cash to pay the rest.

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