Crooked Teeth And Straight Hair: Because We Just Can’t Have It All

In life, none of us have it all when it comes to our bodies. For every straight strand of hair, there’s a wonky knee. For every well-defined jawline, there’s an embarrassing unibrow.

In my own family, I’ve been blessed with a fast metabolism and it looks as if I may just make it into my 30s with a decent head of hair. Both my brothers were less fortunate, having lost the beautiful hair they once had long ago. That said, they don’t have the terrible eyesight, sensitive digestive system and crooked teeth that I do.

As a family, we’re generally quite tiny. This means we have mouths that can’t deal with a normal number of teeth. I got the worst of it, and have always struggled with crooked teeth — my awareness of it means I have the same closed-mouthed ‘smile’ in every picture. You’d have to be an eagle-eyed photographer and there would have to be a moment of spontaneous laughter for you to catch me showing my teeth off to the world. Oh, and I’m too stubborn to consider orthodontics, not to mention my perpetual fear of braces.

Anyway, yesterday I started the process of dealing with my recently troublesome wisdoms. Naturally, they started growing out exactly as they shouldn’t: in the wrong direction and impacting other teeth. They all have to go, but yesterday I had just two removed.

After fretting about ‘only’ getting a local anaesthetic for the job, I nevertheless trusted my dentist enough to go through with it. It had been some time since I had half of my face numbed — while I waited for 15 minutes for the anaesthetic to settle in, I tried to put on some lip ice, but ended up applying half of it to my face, not my lips. What exactly would we do without front-facing phone cameras?

Sufficiently numbed, I entered the operating room to the screeching sound of drilling.

Yes, on this specific day — at this specific time — construction workers were drilling into the ground right next door for renovations. The dentist apologized for the noise, perhaps forgetting the psychological consequences of such a noise considering I was about to have my own mouth renovated.

The procedure itself wasn’t painful, just uncomfortable. Very quickly, I realised it would be best to close my eyes. There were simply too many sharp-edged instruments being used and I thought if I removed at least two senses from the equation (sight and feel), I’d be okay.

The pressure needed to remove the teeth was unbelievably intense, and I found it disconcerting that I didn’t know which tooth was being removed at which point. The dentist and his assistant also kept mumbling to each other in hushed tones, which is always unsettling. About 20 minutes later, it was done and an offer from the dentist to take my teeth with me was immediately (and somewhat angrily) declined. Also immediate was the pain.

Intense, excruciating pain.

If ‘local’ anaesthetic covered only the southern suburbs, my dentist must surely have drilled through the exposed Kuilsriver area as well.

I broke out into a sweat and felt dizzy, not helped by the antibiotics I was on. Initially I thought I’d be fine to drive myself home, but I didn’t feel too confident about that whilst choking on blood and cotton wool.

I messaged my dad to pick me up and while I waited, tried my best to listen to instructions about how to care for my mouth over the next 24 hours, but I heard nothing — the pain was too much. I remember thinking that breaking my arm at the age of 5 was far ‘easier’; perhaps knocking my shin on a sharp object compares, but even that wasn’t as sustained.

Two Myprodols and 30 minutes later, I was curled up in the foetal position on my parents’ bed like the little, defenceless 8-year old that had stomach cramps. (In my fragile state, I still tried to watch the tennis, which I thought was rather impressive.)

All in all, it was a deeply unpleasant experience and one which demands I enquire about general anaesthetic for the removal of the next few wonky wisdoms, which probably means an even longer recovery process than the one I’m going through right now.

But, you know, at least I can still eat an entire KFC bucket without putting on any weight.

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