I am feeling less wise today than yesterday. (Make up your own jokes.)
“It’s a wisdom tooth, you’ll never miss it,” I was assured by Dr. Andrew Miller, my peerless oral surgeon, as he reached for the pliers.
Miller is youngish, and my go-to guy for implants. The only pain I have ever experienced under his care is the needle he uses to shoot me up with pain killers.
At a certain age, and with certain genetic conditions, your teeth begin to give out. Hey! — better than having your heart or liver malfunction. (That’s coming next.)
We — meaning me, Dr. Miller, and my general dentist, Dr. Sherry Zhao — had been keeping an eye on Mr. Wisdom, way in the back of my mouth. Mr. Wisdom had already been root-canaled by my great endodontist, Dr. Barry Rhome. That would turn out to be the good news.
Mr. Wisdom had a nice filling in him about the size of a marble, but was causing no trouble until about two weeks ago, when the filling fell out. It caused no pain, the tooth was not sensitive to heat or cold — because the root canal had removed the nerve — so I figured I would let it slide until the next scheduled dental visit, which are more frequent than seasonal changes.
That was true until a few days ago when I was eating takeout from Fire La Scala at 7th & Chestnut. I would eat there occasionally when I worked in the neighborhood when it was just La Scala. I don’t know when it caught Fire.
I was enjoying pappardelle, which is pasta, when I felt a pit in my mouth. Pasta doesn’t have pits, so I carefully spit the pit into my hand.
It was Mr. Wisdom, or most of him anyway.
It was gross, as Half-Pint said when I showed it to her.
So, it was off to the dentist, Dr. Zhao, who doesn’t do many extractions. She recommended Dr. Miller, who does them in his sleep.
Around noon Friday, he was awake.
Because I have a very high threshold for drugs, I always get an extra dose of Novocain. It was full throttle, and 15 minutes later it was time to open the front door and allow him to dig in.
He said he’d pop it right out.
I said, “You don’t have much tooth to grip.”
He said, “I have my tricks.”
Dr. Miller warned I might feel pressure, and I did, and I might hearing a cracking sound, and I did.
In less than 10 minutes, Mr. Wisdom — or what was left of him — was in Dr. Miller’s hand.
It was done in Miller Time.
No pain, no trauma.
So I get to relax today, chew a pain killer and apply cold compresses. And memorialize this little dental experience.
If this goes like all of my previous procedures, there will be no pain.
How do I know? I go by experience, which creates Wisdom, even without the tooth.