tooth extraction, as viewed by an OT


It started out as a good day... I was having a little tooth sensitivity yesterday, but I mostly ignored it and tried to focus on the many tasks at hand. Life is busy as a pediatric occupational therapist in September.
Then I jinxed myself. This morning my sister mentioned that my niece was having some pain with her new orthodontia, so my wise comment was - "Well when they find bones in Olduvai Gorge the most common bones they find are jawbones and teeth - which is proof that these structures are built to last and are not designed to be moved." I should have kept my mouth shut, literally, because I scheduled a visit to the dentist to have my own tooth sensitivity looked at.
The dentist decided to pull my offending wisdom tooth, which was quite an experience. It didn't want to be separated from my jawbone, and it was in fact ankylosed. This interested me, because I never before considered that teeth could be ankylosed. The dentist's brow was beaded with sweat and he was smiling nervously about my questioning if he ate his Wheaties that morning. He was not as impressed with the whole experience. The novacaine is still working though, so I still have a certain sense of humor that may not be present in another hour or so.
So besides learning that teeth could be ankylosed, I also had some flashback to kinesiology as the dentist began leaning on my chin to increase his force and gain some mechanical advantage over my stubborn tooth. Then I wondered if dentists experienced repetitive strain injuries if they did too many extractions. Then I distracted myself by staring at his left earlobe, which had a diamond stud in it. I wondered if the money he got from my tooth would go for another piercing or some ink. I decided that most people don't have pierced and inked dentists, but it didn't offend me. I used to tell my students that some people could be put off by ink and piercings - and they generally perceived me as squashing their rights and freedom of expression. Maybe I was wrong about the whole thing though. Having a punk rock dentist leaning on my chin and cranking on my tooth wasn't as upsetting as you might imagine.
Tomorrow is another day. I hope I can function.

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