A Bloody-eared Tooth Doctor!

It will soon be two months since I had one of my wisdom teeth extracted (euphemism for “cut into pieces and yanked out of my mouth”) and it has been a decidedly difficult dental experience. Expecting the aftermath to be painful, I suffered through a dry socket for a week before going back and saying “something is wrong”. During that week, I found my comfort in the bottle (Ibuprofen). The doctor stuffed a wad of gauze into the crater and the pain almost immediately subsided. The bottle was put back on the shelf and only used occasionally. We went through that process three times as he checked it every few days and finally I was relatively pain free … until the infection was discovered. For a week I was hitting two bottles, the antibiotic and the ibuprofen. When I was finally released from the Dr.’s observation I was feeling pretty good. I was not yet painless but the discomfort was of a very low level so that 95% of the time I was unaware of it.

A week ago that all changed with the growing awareness of pain in that area. Somewhere along the line in this experience, I think probably during the “infection phase”, I noticed that I have begun clamping my jaw shut while relaxing. This tends to give one a jaw ache … even a headache after a while. I read on line that one solution is to place your tongue between your teeth to keep you from doing that. Apparently the prospect of clipping off the tip of your tongue is enough of a deterrent that it will keep one from clenching his teeth. I returned to the oral surgeon when I had had enough of the recurring pain.

My Dr. was on vacation so I saw his “substitute”. I knew I was in trouble the minute he walked in the room. The man had blood dripping from his ear! It occurred to me that it might have spurted from the mouth of one of his patients and landed there. That was something I did not want to contemplate for long so I channeled my imagination to consider other causes. That did not make me feel any better!

He was polite and ordered some more Xrays. After a brief examination and reading of the xrays he told me that the main source of the pain seemed to be muscle spasms, possibly related to the clenching. He told me one option was to inject some medication directly into the muscle in an attempt to treat it. I must have blanched because he quickly added that he could prescribe a muscle relaxant. Then, however, he told me that the socket where the tooth had been didn’t look quite right and that he would suggest re-opening it, excavating it to clean it all out and then letting the healing process begin again. I suddenly felt faint. The nurse put her hand on my shoulder and asked, “Are you OK?”. I managed to play the man and said, “I’m fine.” The Dr. with the bloody ear wanted to go excavating in my mouth? I’m fine? I lied.

Thankfully he said that he would prefer that my original surgeon do the deed if he was of the same opinion. So I left with an appointment for next Tuesday and a prescription for the muscle relaxant.

I’m finding my solace in the bottle again … and in a muscle relaxant that the pharmacist told me might make me “hungover”. There is an entire paragraph of nasty symptoms that this med may cause and one wonders why it is even legal to sell!  However … here we are … waiting for the next chapter of Jeske’s Law to unfold.

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