I had an extended long weekend due to unexpected events. I filed a leave on Friday because it was my mom’s birthday then on Sunday morning, I found myself reaching out to different dental clinics whose contact info. I gathered the night before due to ridiculous gum pain that progressed with earache. After that, I went on a three-day leave.
Since my wisdom teeth grew, I developed this chronic tolerable pain in my right gum, surrounding that open flap that just unwantedly popped out with my third molar. This used to leave a bad taste in my mouth, and the area often got sore when food was stuck. But I believed it was a natural part of adulthood — an uncomfortable rite of passage. I thought I was only supposed to frequently brush and that the flap of gum shall be eventually sealed when my wisdom tooth fully erupts. (Ok. That’s ridiculous.)
It’s dumb but I was sure I didn’t need a dentist until, of course, the gum pain got unbearable together with this squeezing fluid feeling in my right ear that I’m convinced was triggered by my gums.
When I visited the clinic, they had me wear PPE. The dentist asked about my concern and had a quick look at my mouth, gently poking my right gum (like a sadist) and at that open flap that of course hurt. She explained that I have pericoronitis and recommended a panoramic x-ray so she can have an in-depth view of my third molar and everything else. In the x-ray scan, I was shown black spots (pus) right around the part where it hurts. She also backed her pericoronitis explanation and explained that my wisdom tooth was growing against my gum, that there are nerves in the area that can make me feel pain in my ear, that there might be worse complications if we don’t do something, before fully laying down the trump card that the best of course of action was to have my third molar removed.
After I agreed, I was given oral antibiotic, painkiller, and medicine to control bleeding. The pus was removed first, then I was given more painkillers in three big gum injections that were more painful than the actual extraction and gum stitching.
I got permission from the dentist to play my Spotify playlist in loudspeaker during the procedure because I wanted and needed to distract myself. (But I got more nervous tbh when I heard the *dun *dun *dun *dun *dun of Mr. Blue Sky. I swear that I heard the dentist stifle a laugh when I played the music.)
Total cost: P13k+ 👋 💸 | Inclusions: consultation, panoramic x-ray, wisdom tooth extraction (worth P10k per third molar), dental stitches, 7 days worth of medication (antibiotic & painkiller), +2 bottles of different mouthwash
After the surgery, I said to myself na “Ayun lang pala ~Easy!” I was even happily updating friends and was able to doze off in the car because I was fine and comfortable, maybe due to the effects of the anaesthesia. There was no pain anymore and everything was cool. I even managed to shoot a restroom selfie.
My peace was cut short on the way home when my earache recurred. I never wanted to visit hospitals in the time of a pandemic, but I asked my husband to drive to the nearest ER because the pain was getting unbearable. Next thing, I was crying in public because it ached enough for me to not care about sniveling among strangers. I had to remove my mask a few times to blow my nose and wipe my face because there was snot all over my mouth and cheeks.
I almost got angry when the nursed asked: “Ma’am, on a scale of 1 to 10, what level of pain do you feel?” (Huwag mo akong Baymax-in, umiiyak na nga ako sa sakit.) But I went on with a polite response because we know it’s just standard procedure to be asked this question. I replied with “ten” to quantify my subjective level of pain, impatience, anger at myself, and plea to God for help.
After some waiting, quick storytelling, and having shown my antibiotic and painkiller prescription to the ER doctor, he decided to administer a tramadol injection, which was glorious that it got me a bit sleepy since that was how it eased the pain that mefenamic acid couldn’t address. The doctor was perfectly reassuring. He said he experienced this himself, which I won’t know if it’s simply a spiel to “sympathize” with patients — and yet I felt understood. In the end, my prescribed painkiller was changed to Tramadol + Paracetamol every 6 to 8 hours to manage my earache.
When I think about it, I never revealed to the dentist and doctor that my gum pain recurred last week all because I ate a big bag of Ruffles chips late Wednesday night, in one sitting, all by myself, while my kids were sleeping because I didn’t want to share. (It seemed too childish, greedy, and unmotherly to refuse sharing potato chips, and I wasn’t willing then to give away myself like that.) That mf hard rough chip got stuck in my right gum and brought damage, which made me feel feverish for a bit. And then the rest is as shared here.
I know, this is a stupid story. But here are some obvious lessons that I always need to be reminded of:
Share because you’re an adult and it’s the right thing to do. 🤭✌️
I’m not saying you should deprive yourself, but practice moderation. Stop being extreme! 😂
Do not wait ’til the weekend to visit doctors. Weekend means fewer options and you can be stuck in an expensive clinic when you cannot cancel or canvass further because you’re already in pain.
Make the most out of your HMO. Avail of those dental check-ups that your membership covers (and the other services too). Use what you / your company pays for.