baking soda fangs pain wisdom teeth

The Wisdom Is Not Actually IN the Teeth

The Wisdom Is Not Actually in the Teeth”

A couple of weeks ago, Groom, at age 36, had two wisdom teeth extracted. Since he’d had the bottom teeth taken out during college, he had only the top two with which to contend. One of his top buckers had emerged from the gum and, with no wisdom tooth on the lower jaw beneath it to grind against, this tooth had then continued to grow, unchecked. Basically, he had an inside-the-mouth fang, which, luckily, is just how all the Red Carpet Hollywood celebs are wearing their fangs this year. On the other side of his skull, Groom had an impacted wisdom tooth; the lily-livered thing was afraid to peer out into the light of day. Or the light of soft palate.

Except soft palates aren’t really renowned for their light.

So the tooth was afraid to peer out into the, er, moist, soft darkness of the mouth cave. Now *that’s* lily-livered, eh? I mean, what’s so scary about a moist, dark place, ya big Tooth Wussy?

Well, bats, for one. They’re found in moist, dark places (not so much mouths, though), and they’re scary. If you fall asleep in a cave, after a long day of spelunking, bats will crawl down your throat and suffocate you.

You maybe didn’t know that. I’m a regular font of little-known facts like that. If you ever need to know what to do with a shoelace and a bottle of lotion, just ask me. I’ve got the knowledge locked up.

So, to summarize this post so far: Groom had one too-big tooth that hurt and one no-show tooth that hurt, and bats are possessed of a rare evil.

On the day of his tooth extraction, Groomeo was nervous, fidgety even, which is a rarity. Normally, Groom is Walking Zen, all contented fluid control (he’s like the fog…everywhere at once so subtly that you can breathe him but not touch him). But that day, he was a little twitchy, scratchy, jerky.

To assuage his nerves, I tried making a dramatic show of complimenting him: “What a Big Boy you are! If it hurts when you wake up, I’ll have a Tootsie Pop and a Harry Potter sticker waiting for you, sweetie!!!! And you’re such a strong, fine lad that I’m sure you’ll be back on your skateboard, doing tricks outside the public library, in no time.”

Oddly, his twitching gained momentum.

The surgery went well–he didn’t have any psychological breaks due to the anaesthesia or provide me with any new material by waking up sobbing, “Beethoven…Beethoven…bound through the meadow towards me, my love! Embrace me!”–and a few hours later, we headed home where he began the long, slow process of recovery.

I was ready for the bloody gauze, the swollen chipmunk cheeks, and the unfocused Lortab pupils. But I hadn’t realized he would also need to rinse his mouth every half hour, for, well, let’s see how long it’s been now–um, TWO WEEKS. Basically, he’s been carrying around a Nalgene bottle full of a salt/baking soda potion, and no matter where we’re at, he faithfully does the swish and spit. Parking meters, the kids’ hair, tree trunks, and people waiting at the bus stop…all have felt the spray of his rinse.

Once or twice, when we’ve all been out somewhere together, I’ve forgotten about the All-Important Rinse Bottle and tried to give the kids a drink from it. As a result, my son has a new love for “savory water” and will no doubt dip a cup into the Pacific Ocean one day, when he visits the West Coast, raising his salty drink in a toast to Good Ole Pappy.

As the healing has progressed, there have been a few setbacks; for example, a stitch popped well before the date when it should have. After that, like the pearls falling off my heirloom choker when I snagged it on Laura Bush’s brooch at a State Dinner, the stitches began a steady plink, plink, plink of unraveling. And then, well, the smell began. (No, not at the State Dinner. The White House actually has a reasonably talented chef, one who uses shallots to great effect and who keeps bad smells to a minimum. Keep up with me here.)

The smell began inside Groom’s mouth. Personally, I stayed far enough away that I could just take his word for it–we wouldn’t want The Lurve to suffer, after all. But he spent several days shaking his head, noting, “Man, my mouth reeks.” Then he’d pick up his Nalgene bottle and do the swish ‘n rinse.

Shortly thereafter, The Flap became an issue. What with the stitches gone (and, er, our phone out of order so that he couldn’t call the oral surgeon’s office for aid), a flap of unhealed skin hung down. I envisioned it as a stage curtain that could be drawn when the bits of trapped rice and ham were ready to perform and then closed again after they took their bows. I considered buying tickets to see The Flap.

But then, one afternoon, Groom approached me rather tentatively and admitted, “I just swallowed The Flap. It sort of, well, fell off right when I was drinking, and down the hatch it went.”

R.I.P, Flap.

A consequence of The Flap’s demise was that there is now even less protection between Groom’s upper gum and his sinuses, where the impacted tooth was extracted. Only the thinnest of partitions separates these areas now, until new tissue grows to fill things in.

All of this leads me to the question that now occupies me most: Since the reek has gone away, and, thus, I now feel like getting near The Groom again, is it possible that I might try to lay a passionate kiss on him some night, only to have my tongue come out his nostril?

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