Well this past Friday I went ahead and had all four of my wisdom teeth removed.
I had written in previous columns that I had put it off for years but it finally got to the point where my dentist, Dr. Kyle Rush, was right and I needed to have them pulled.
Y'all let me say that it is not even half as bad as I thought it would be. I'll just give y'all a little summary of my experience and I hope it helps anyone else out there who's anxious or afraid of having the procedure done.
First of all, I should say that my wisdom teeth weren't impacted. They were all four just sticking out of the gum. I think that makes a difference.
My dentist had been singing the same song for years about me needing to get 'em removed and we finally decided (he finally put his foot down) that the time was right.
I had heard that local oral surgeon Dr. John Beninato was very good and so I wanted him to perform the surgery.
Let me say that Dr. Beninato and his entire staff made my experience a VERY pleasant one. From my initial consultation to the procedure itself, everyone in that office made sure to put all my fears to rest. They explained everything that would happen and let me ask as many ridiculous questions as I wanted to.
And they assured me that no one at the office was allowed to video patients after surgery which was one of my big fears about this whole ordeal.
I didn't want to say embarrassing things and have it go viral on the Internet.
I had to take some pills the morning of my procedure (Friday morning) to sort of relax me and get me ready for the surgery. So, by the time I got to Dr. Beninato's office I was pretty woozy.
All I remember from before the surgery started was that a guy named Matt was in the room. I remember him saying that he was an Alabama fan but I don't remember anything after that and I'm really nervous that I may have been mean to him simply because he's an Alabama fan.
I have zero recollection of the procedure. But when it was over (in about an hour) my mouth was filled with gauze and I was being driven home while being videoed saying embarrassing things.
Dr. Beninato's staff have no jurisdiction on the ride home so this couldn't be helped.
So, I'm sure I said some crazy stuff which I hope don't get leaked publicly.
I also remember freaking out for a few seconds when I thought my tongue had fallen out of my mouth but it was just some bloody gauze. However, since I was high on pain meds those few seconds seemed to last forever as I contemplated not ever being able to talk again. I cried and blamed Dr. Rush for the entire thing and was going to send him a photo of my dismembered tongue... which is when I realized it was just gauze.
The entire weekend was spent making sure I took the right meds at the right time. I have to say that I had the best nurse a guy could ask for. Terra made sure I was eating what I needed to eat and taking the medication and icing my jaw. That was apparently a big deal. For the first two days, putting ice on my face helped keep the swelling down.
For two days I ate delicious chicken and beef broth as well as pudding and yogurt and banana malts from Dairy Queen.
Malts, in my opinion, are better than milkshakes.
And all the while my new best friend's name was Hydrocodone. Between it and Ibuprofen, I really didn't feel any pain. I could tell my jaw was swollen and if I didn't take the meds, my face was really sore. But as soon as I took the medication, I didn't feel a thing.
And all weekend, Dr. Beninanto kept calling to check on me. His staff member, Lisa, also kept messaging to make sure I was doing well and to let me know that they were there to help if I thought I needed to go back in to see them.
It's now Monday and I'm back at work. I look sort of like a hamster who's been storing food in his cheeks but I'm really not in a lot of discomfort.
I even had lunch at Duffy's Deli today. I had a little bit of chicken salad and some soup and some of that delicious fruit cut up in the red syrup.
I go back to see the doctor in a few days to make sure everything's healing properly but I'm afraid to show my face in front of that Matt guy.
I really must say that this whole procedure has not been as bad as I thought it would have been. Everyone heals differently and reacts to medication differently, but if you think you might need to have your wisdom teeth removed, don't put it off for too long like I did.
I hate admitting that my dentist was right all along. That's probably the most painful part of this entire thing. He told me to have the procedure done long ago and get it over with but I was stubborn. I should have listened.
And I'm fortunate that I had a good doctor and his staff taking care of me. They really made sure I had absolutely nothing to worry about. They provided me with all the information and support I needed for after the procedure.
So, if you're thinking that you may need to have your wisdom teeth removed, do a little research (I watched several Youtube videos) and talk to your dentist. Trust me, I was petrified of having it done and it really wasn't that bad.
Just don't freak out if your tongue falls out of your mouth when you're high on meds and don't be mean to the dental assistant just because he's an Alabama fan.
Severo Avila is features editor for the Rome News-Tribune.