#dSavannahDefects – W is for…

My theme this year for the #AtoZchallenge is #dSavannahDefects, aka “What’s it’s like dealing with #InvisibleIllnesses”. Or, in short, {some of} what’s wrong with me. And only three letters left…

W… wisdom teeth

So. I have all of my wisdom teeth, which is odd, for a woman of 45 years. Most people have their wisdom teeth taken out when they are young, generally because there isn’t room in their mouth for them.

Not me. I have plenty of room.

My former hygienist just loved saying how I “have a big mouth”.

Seriously. She thought it was the funniest thing ever.

But now, I need to have my wisdom teeth out, and of course, it’s not the easy thing it is for most people. Heck, my 17-year-old niece just had hers out a few months ago, and other thinking for a bit that she had no neck (those were some good drugs, apparently), she had not a problem.

Essentially, as I discussed in my post on Nissen Fundoplication, I had bad acid reflux my whole life until I got it fixed via the Nissen surgery.

Acid reflux means that acid comes up the wrong way, and the acid eats at your teeth enamel. So, I’ve got a LOT of fillings in my teeth, including my wisdom teeth.

And I went to the dentist a few months back to have a check-up and cleaning, and everything was fine.

And then, lucky me, about a week later, a chunk of my top right wisdom tooth, a bit closest to the inside of my mouth, fell out. (I must have swallowed it. Yum!)

So, the dentist sent me an oral surgeon, who looked at my history and took x-rays of my face and determined that I would need my wisdom teeth out. But… because of an unfortunate encounter with lidocaine* this past November at the pain doctor, I can’t be put under using any of the normal ways, and said that would I need to be knocked out using general anesthetic at the hospital.

I went to an allergist to see if I am indeed allergic to lidocaine, and he wouldn’t even test me. Instead, wrote a letter for me to present to my insurance company and future doctors, insisting that I not be subjected to lidocaine. (As I’ve mentioned previously, the allergist is the first doctor who actually, in my very presence, read my *entire* health information document.)

In the meantime, I can feel that there is also a hole growing in my top *left* wisdom tooth. (Just a hole. Not a chunk out.)  (If you’re keeping score, and you probably aren’t – yawn! – that means that both of my top wisdom teeth have missing bits.)

So I really need all of my wisdom teeth out, but I just don’t know when. My primary wants me to wait a bit, so my body will have time to get stronger, but I don’t know how long I can wait.

What it feels like: My teeth don’t hurt or anything, which I’m told is a good sign. However, I can feel the empty space where the chunk fell out. And it’s more difficult to floss back there because the dental floss gets stuck in the open chunk.

What it is: Your wisdom teeth are “each of the four hindmost molars in humans, which usually appear at about the age of twenty.” I don’t remember mine coming in, but I do remember lots of other tooth-related agony throughout my life.

Most wisdom teeth are removed are either because they are misaligned – they grow in funny – or they are impacted – they don’t grow fully in.

I wondered why they are called wisdom teeth. Wikipedia says: “Although formally known as third molars, the common name is wisdom teeth because they appear so late – much later than the other teeth, at an age where people are presumably “wiser” than as a child, when the other teeth erupt.”

Wiser. Ha!

Treatment: Surgery. At some point.

Am I nervous? You bet. I wish I’d had them out when I still lived in Arkansas, but I couldn’t get a straight answer from anyone as to how much I would have to pay and how much insurance would pay and what all would be involved.

I still can’t seem to get straight answers, though I’m gonna keep pushing on this one. I have to.

In the meantime, I use a toothbrush for babies (a tiny toothbrush, basically) to try to keep the empty spaces clean.

*I forgot everything due to the unfortunate lidocaine encounter. Acted like I was detoxing from some drug. Didn’t know where I was, what I was doing, etc. For like two weeks. I had really bad…

… withdrawal symptoms

Picture of a cool building I shot in 2012. Don't ask me where. I don't remember.

Picture of a cool building I shot in 2012. Don’t ask me where. I don’t remember. But I figured we could use a cool image to break up all this text about icky things. You’re welcome.

… from my antidepressant, because I was so out of it I forgot entirely to take my medications. Any of them. Hubs finally realized what was going on and contacted my primary doctor to see what should be done. Which was basically, to re-take them, but slowly and at a lower dose.

What it feels like: Lemme tell you, I would not wish withdrawal symptoms on anyone. Luckily, I don’t remember much of it, but most of what I remember was awful. It’s also difficult to distinguish what was caused by the lidocaine toxicity, and what was caused by withdrawal.

Either way, it wasn’t pretty. Or fun.

Ye ole google tells us: “Symptoms may include anxiety, fatigue, sweating, vomiting, depression, seizures, and hallucinations.

What it is: Stopping a medication abruptly. Or caffeine. Or illegal drugs. Or alcohol. Or cigarettes. Or any number of things. Every person is different, so some people get addicted to something, and have horrible experiences if they try to stop taking/using/ingesting/whatever.

People with mental illnesses, specifically those with bipolar disease, often stop taking their medication abruptly. In essence, they start to feel better, so they decide they don’t need their medication any more.

Which is understandable. I’m taking a ton of meds and supplements, and I’m not even feeling better, and I often want to stop taking them.

But, stopping abruptly is a bad bad bad (I cannot emphasize this enough) BAD idea.

Again, I didn’t even intend to stop abruptly, but I did, and I definitely had cognitive impairment. In fact, hubs thought I might have permanent brain damage from the whole thing. (I’ve asked; he seems to think my brain function has gone back to what it was before The Incident, as we call the unfortunate experience with lidocaine.)

Treatment: There are a variety of treatment options if someone has to stop taking a medication or get off drugs or alcohol. There are medications that can be used to wean off opiate pain killers, such as naltrexone. That’s basically used to trick the brain into thinking it’s okay.

Of course you’ve heard of the nicotine patch for those wanting to stop smoking cigarettes.

Some people have to be hospitalized (or sent to rehab).

Others are able to work through their withdrawals via talk therapy.

The site addictionsandrecovery.org offers some recovery skills if you do become addicted to something, as well as lots of information on withdrawal itself.

When I went off anti-depressants on purpose a number of years back, I had a long, involved schedule to wean myself off them, and so I didn’t have any adverse reactions. (I adhered to it faithfully, and so had no issues.) Unfortunately, my brain chemistry is just messed up (as is much of my body chemistry, which you know if you’ve been following along on this journey), so I had to go back on them. However, I am thankful every day that I can take a pill and feel more normal.

PS. The Incident involved me getting a steroid shot in my neck to help ease the pain. (It’s called a Medial Branch Block.) They used a low dose of lidocaine as a local numbing agent for the shot itself. I remember laying on the table, and the shot, and … pretty much nothing else after that. All we (doctors, etc.) can figure is that I had a toxic reaction to lidocaine.

And in case you’re curious, lidocaine toxicity is totally a thing, and it’s pretty common, even tho we don’t hear much about it. AND if the lidocaine had gotten to my vascular tissue, I would have had a heart attack and died. But I didn’t. Thank goodness. So no more lidocaine for me.

More ramblings / other posts you might want to read...


About dSavannah

~ #disabled #spoonie fighting numerous, chronic, painful #InvisibleIllnesses ~ also #wife #feminist #ally #advocate #papyrophiliac #DogCatTurtleWrangler
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8 Responses to #dSavannahDefects – W is for…

  1. Elaine LeDoux says:

    I have been told I have a very small mouth and airway…had to have tissue cut away from my throat in order to breath…breathing is handy. It was a bad surgery since some people stop breathing because of the throat swelling they keep you in the hospital at least one night on monitors. Then they send you home with really strong pain killers for two weeks. After a few days of sleeping and being on some other planet my twin brother (thank God he’s a doctor) called to see how things were going and I told him that I could not keep taking those drugs because I felt like a space cadet. He advised me about how to stop taking them and what to take instead. Ahhh! Relief! Which brings me to your problems with drugs….what a bummer. Kind of a can’t live with them can’t live without them scenario. There are multitudes of people I am sure who are what I call legal addicts….started by their Dr in good faith for actual conditions. Most have no clue they will have to be detoxed if they want to go off them. On the topic of Wisdom teeth ( or lack of Wisdom) I had been told for years I should have them out but always put it off because they weren’t bothering me. Then, flying home from a rocket launch in Cape Canaveral the pressure in the plane made my pain bloom full force. After getting really sick, high fever, sore throat, pain, pain, pain I had a blood test and was told I had mono. Wrong!!! I finally went to the Oral Surgeon Noel had suggested and used and he said my Lack of Wisdom teeth were totally impacted and infected….all 4. So, I got knocked out and woke up a Chipmunk with ice packs, but surprise…no fever, no mono, no less Wisdom….if I had any to begin with. There are two morals to this long winded story…..1) If your dentist tells you to get them out, get them out…..and 2) For a person like me with a very small mouth, I have been told often I have a BIG MOUTH so I guess size doesn’t matter!

  2. Hi Savannah hope things are fine and you get well super soon. I removed the wisdom tooth last year and what hell it became. Thanks for the link and gotta check in a bid to minimise or deaddict self from fags.


  3. Betsy says:

    Hope that your teeth issues get resolved soon. Hugs!

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