In my mind, the year 2002 will always be associated with my teeth. That year, I suffered the most painful toothache I have ever experienced in my life. It was brought on by my wisdom tooth that had only partially erupted. The eruption caused an opening in the gum which allowed bacteria to enter around the tooth in front of the wisdom tooth and caused an infection.
I have to eat antibiotics and wait for the infection to heal before removing my wisdom tooth. Luckily, the extraction of wisdom teeth was covered by the private medical health insurance plans (Bupa UK) provided by my employer. I only had to pay GBP100.
The dental surgeon I consulted with advised me to remove all 4 wisdom teeth at one go. He asked me whether I prefer to do it under local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia. I asked him which one does he prefer. He said general anaesthesia so I agreed to it.
The operation was done as a day case. I checked into the hospital and was given a single private day room. The anesthesiologist visited me before the operation and asked me if I have any concerns. I told him that the previous time I went under general anaesthesia for an appendectomy, I vomited when I woke up. I also told him about my fear of anesthesia awareness where some people wake up during the operation, paralyzed but fully aware of their surroundings. He assured me that he will give me the correct dosage of drugs to ensure that both events do not happen.
I was given a combination of inhaled anesthetic gases and intravenous drugs and I promptly blacked out. For both times I underwent general anaesthesia, I was completed "out of it" - no dreams at all. It was just black out and came to. Nothing in between. I wonder if death is like that. Just black out and no coming back. Well, I digress.
Back to the removal of my wisdom teeth. When I came to, my whole jaw was sore and painful. I then slept until the drowsiness wore off. Then I was discharged from the hospital.
The recovery took a few months. The lower part of my face around my jaw swelled up big time. There were stitches in my mouth and it was painful. It was soup and porridge for me everyday for what seemed like eternity.
Before the surgery, I asked the dental surgeon to please keep my wisdom teeth intact when he removed them and he did. You can see for yourself, here they are:
They are so big. I can't believe that the teeth were fully formed and hidden in my gums. I still have them with me today. Perhaps I should string them up and wear them around my neck in order to keep my wisdom.