When I was a little boy, probably around five years old, I went to the dentist. They put me under anesthesia for some type of procedure that I have forgotten. I woke up with a headache, sobbing and inconsolable. The dentist offered me one of those shitty suckers but I didn’t care. I was a mess.
As a result I have avoided anesthesia for all dental procedures since. It was that traumatic to me as a child. I’ve always gone for the local anesthesia instead, figuring I can tough out whatever they’re going to do to me. And until last week, that seemed like the case.
I’ve been needing to have a gum graft for some time now. What happens is they take some synthetic tissue (or from a cadaver) and grafting it onto the gums of a healthy patient. This is something I should have taken the anesthesia for.
For one thing, you have to keep your mouth open for a very long time while the dentist makes incisions, implants the new tissue and puts in the sutures. It’s a lengthy process. Eventually, you will get a headache from keeping your mouth open so long and from staring up into the lights the whole time. They beam that bright light into your mouth, you know? It’s exhausting.
I severely underestimated the amount of sutures it would take to close up everything. In September, I accidentally cut my left elbow and needed five stitches to sew it back up. Now there’s a bit of scar left but it’s patched up reasonably well. I figured there’s four teeth that need to be patched up, I’ll only need a few stitches.
WRONG! The dentist pulled out a suture over a foot long and began sewing in and out of my mouth. Then he got another. Then he got some smaller ones. It was exhausting. I left that place a broken man.
These sutures will remain in my mouth for eight weeks. I can’t eat solid food for a week and I’m supposed to talk as little as possible. Do you know how difficult that is for me? Shut up and enjoy your applesauce, KP.
I have some tips for you if you go to the dentist and need to have something as intense as a gum graft done. First, DO get anesthesia. Second, try to drink water before you go in so you won’t get dehydrated. Third, if you choose to not get anesthesia (because you don’t have the insurance for it or whatever), don’t just stare into the lights the entire time like an idiot. Feel free to close your eyes or put on some sunglasses. Four, if you choose anesthesia and wake up with a headache, it’s probably because you had to keep your mouth open wide for a really long time. And then you’ll realize why you cried when you were five years old after waking up from anesthesia at the dentist. It will all make sense to you eventually.
The way I walk through life, it really is a miracle that I have lived this long.