I’m Angry at My Wisdom Teeth

2010 August BlogHer 2010 BlogHer 10 Blogher '10 New York City American Association of Orthodontics Jennie Garth Style and Smile Fashion Show Events for Kids Tweens TeensI’m angry at my wisdom teeth.

I’m angry that I have to have three small cavities filled on three of my teeth.

I’m angry that these three small cavities are in my wisdom teeth.

I’m angry that my dentist advised me 18 months ago to have all four wisdom teeth removed.

BUT, that I am absolutely NOT angry with my dentist.

I am angry with the oral surgeon, howwever.

I’m angry that the first oral surgeon I saw for a consultation who said that if he removed my wisdom teeth, he would most likely cause damage to the teeth immediately next to the wisdom teeth during the removal. He said my wisdom teeth are very large. He said the roots are very deep and entrenched in my gums and bone.

I’m angry that I listened to the oral surgeon.

I’m angry that I am a rule follower.

I’m angry that I accept medical and dental advice.

I’m angry that I am not a risk taker who would willingly take a chance that the oral surgeon would not break any teeth during the extraction of the four wisdom teeth.

I’m angry that I won’t risk damaging my other teeth by removing my wisdom teeth.

I’m angry that the second oral surgeon I saw was more emphatic than the first and categorically stated that I absolutely should not have my four wisdom teeth surgically removed. He showed me on the x-ray just how deep the roots of these teeth are. That’s two specialists who concurred with each other, but I am still angry.

I’m still angry that I am not a risk taker…that I always follow directions…and that I value medical advice.

I’m angry that when I was 13 or 14 years of age and my wisdom teeth were coming in, I had no pain. No pain whatsoever. You would think teeth with really long roots would cause pain, but I was never in pain.

I’m angry with my dentist in England who never suggested or noticed or considered removing my four wisdom teeth. I saw this dentist from age 11 through sophomore year of college. I had regular dental visits and x-rays, too.

I’m angry that instead of removing my wisdom teeth, this dentist instead removed four other molars before I started orthodontia. This dentist was probably following British dental guidelines, but I don’t care…I am still angry.

I’m angry that my orthodontist in England never suggested or noticed or considered removing my four wisdom teeth when I saw her for an orthodontic evaluation at 13 years of age. I had x-rays at the orthodontist too.

I’m also angry that the orthodontist only put fixed braces on my teeth for one year, and then only on my top teeth. Once she took the braces off my top teeth when I was 14, she gave me a retainer, but never required me to come back for follow up visits. Eventually, the retainer stopped fitting as I stopped wearing it. And yes, I am angry with myself too for not wearing my retainer.

I’m angry that though health and dental care is (was?) free in England (through the government agency, the National Health Service), the policies for who got medical and dental care were very strict. For instance, a child could only see an orthodontist for an underbite, a severe overbite, or very overcrowded teeth. If you didn’t fit these criteria, you didn’t get a referral to an orthodontist. I’m happy that I had an overbite severe enough to pass muster and a mouth so overcrowded with teeth that I needed to have four teeth removed before I got braces. I’m only angry that the four teeth removed were not my wisdom teeth. I had an elderly uncle who was on the waitlist for a relatively minor surgical procedure for almost two years, but died of another health issue while waiting. I had a cousin who waited a long time for a very minor procedure that had she lived in the United States she would have been approved for without even a backward glance. Is the British health system so rigid? I haven’t lived in England since I was 20.

I’m angry that private dental insurance in England was beyond the reach of most people.

I’m angry that no dentist since I moved to America when I was 20 ever suggested removing my wisdom teeth or thought to mention the deep, long roots of these teeth. I have visited the dentist every six months for years. I’m consistent about regular visits. I have regular dental x-rays. I haven’t done any research, but maybe just maybe if I had had my wisdom teeth removed when I was a teen, the roots wouldn’t have become so entrenched and so hard to remove that an oral surgeon would actually break a tooth removing a tooth. I’m hesitant to start researching the eruption and growth rate of wisdom teeth for fear…you guessed it…that I will become angry reading the research.

I’m angry that 18 months ago my dentist noticed these three teeny specks of decay on three of my four wisdom teeth.

I’m angry that once I had the first consult and then the second consult with an oral surgeon about 6 months later, that there was nothing we could do, but wait to see what happened to these spots of decay.

I’m angry that the teeny spots of decay now necessitate that I have these cavities filled.

I’m angry that even though I brush twice a day with an Oral-B electric toothbrush, floss, and use Listerine that these cavities have still formed. Of course I know that dental health has much to do with genetics…but I am still angry.

I’m angry that I am paying for cavities on teeth that are useless and should have been removed 18 months ago.

I’m angry that in 20 years or more I may need crowns on these useless teeth once the filling material disintegrates with the passage of time.

I’m angry that my dentist who I respect — and actually like going to — doesn’t take my dental insurance. So I will have to pay out of pocket for any treatment of these four wisdom teeth.

I’m angry that the reason I saw an out-of-network dentist in the first place was that my in-network dentist was on sick leave for an extended period, which meant that I had to see another dentist for several 6-monthly visits. I’m also angry that the in-network dentist I saw didn’t have a great bedside manner and examined my teeth for about a nanasecond. I’m angry that for one reason or another (poor reviews from friends, driving distance to office, office hours), I had to cross off most of the names on my dental insurance’s list of approved dentists, leaving me no choice but to see an out-of-network dentist..

BUT I love my dentist and will not be switching any time soon. My dentist understands my situation and is willing to discount his services to be not that much more than what I would pay for an in-network dentist. His office staff and dental techs are wonderful, too. One summer, I was at his office during a tornado and the staff were so well versed in tornado and extreme weather preparedness that they comforted and keep patients safe until the tornado passed.

I’m not angry with my present dentist AT ALL. He is as frustrated as I am with my massive, deeply rooted, and entrenched wisdom teeth.

I’m also not angry at my dental insurance. I’m very grateful that my husband’s job has great medical and dental insurance. I’m also relieved that we also have a health care spending account through his job that covers co-pays and expenses above what insurance pays.

And I’m not angry with my children’s dentist and orthodontist. Both recommended that my two oldest have all four wisdom teeth removed at age 14 and just after their braces were removed. You better believe that I will insist that my youngest child have his wisdom teeth removed when the time comes. I’m not taking any chances that one of them ends up with my massive and massively inconvenient wisdom teeth.

So over the next few weeks, I will visit my beloved dentist twice, get the small cavities filled, and then continue practicing good oral health. I’ll try to squelch my anger towards my silly, useless silly wisdom teeth.



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