I’ve had two wisdom teeth taken out today. The good news is that it was very straightforward. A couple of injections near each tooth, and then less than 15 minutes each. But despite the anaesthesia, there is something unspeakably uncomfortable about having a tooth extracted. You can feel the instruments being put into your mouth, and clamped around the tooth, and then the tooth is wiggled (I assume to break the roots, or whatever it is that holds them in.). Eventually the tooth is loose enough to be levered out. If the anaesthetic works (as it did for me) then there is no pain; but you can feel the threads breaking as the tooth is worked free and removed. I wonder if the discomfort is caused, in part, by Hollywood’s portrayal of sadistic dentists, for example in Marathon Man (and Little Shop of Horrors). I couldn’t quite get out of my head the feeling that I was being tortured. Even though I could feel no pain, I felt very vulnerable as my dentist used a pair of medical pliars to work my teeth lose and remove them. My grandmother had all her teeth removed when she was quite young. I think that is what they used to do before the second world war, to avoid tooth decay.

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