“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow …

Sally McLean… Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

– Shakespeare (Macbeth)

Yes, a rather depressing quote to be using – I blame the amount of local anesthetic coursing through my veins. Visiting the dentist almost once a week for the past few weeks will do that to a girl (or a guy, I suspect).

It has been an age since I posted a blog here – and it is something I intend to remedy over the next few days as you, lucky reader, get to go on the journey with me as I continue my foray into the world of dentistry – something I have avoided for nearly ten years, which is why I’m now having to have all this work done.

Three fillings have now been completed. There’s one more to go, but that won’t be happening until after I’ve had all four wisdom teeth out. Now, that’s a cheery thought, no?

The reason for the title of this blog? Well, the first two teeth come out tomorrow. Now you understand my rather dark mood, yes?

The only problem with having wisdom teeth out is that just about everyone you know has had them out as well. And they all have a story to tell. Most are very supportive and leave out the details of the procedure to spare your delicate feelings (read that as blind terror) about going through the ordeal yourself, but there are a couple (there’s always a couple) who decide to tell you about it in great detail in a misguided effort to reassure you that it’s not going to be nearly as bad as your worst imaginings would lead you to believe. Unfortunately, for someone like me, who can’t even watch operations or the hint of an operation on television as it makes her rather ill, this tactic has exactly the opposite effect.

I actually caught myself with my fingers in my ears saying “I’m not listening! La la la la. I can’t hear you!!” earlier today when one of these well-meaning friends was describing, in simple, yet horribly effective, sentences what they went through two years ago. True, they told me that they were up and about the next day with barely a hint of pain or swelling, but all I could focus on was “first they break the tooth …” which sent me into a slightly higher state of panic, which I didn’t think was possible.

So, in an effort to distract myself, I thought I’d find out more about wisdom teeth – but not about how they’re removed, rather, why they’re called wisdom teeth and how they got the name.

I found this on Wikipedia: “The English ‘wisdom tooth’ is derived from Latin ‘dens sapientiae’. Turkish language refers directly to the age at which wisdom teeth appear and calls it ’20 yaş dişi’ (20th year tooth). In Korean, its name is ‘Sa-rang-nee’ (사랑니, love teeth) referring to the young age and the pain of the first love. In Japanese, its name is ‘Oyashirazu’ (親知らず), literally meaning “unknown to the parents” from the idea that they erupt after a child has moved away from home.”

Hee hee. I’m having my “love teeth” out.

Wikipedia continues: “Wisdom teeth are vestigial third molars. In earlier times, when tooth loss in early adulthood was common, an additional molar had the potential to fill in a gap left by the loss of another tooth. It has also been postulated that the skulls of human ancestors had larger jaws with more teeth, which were possibly used to help chew down foliage to compensate for a lack of ability to efficiently digest the cellulose that makes up a plant cell wall. As human diet changed, a smaller jaw was selected by evolution, yet the third molars, or “wisdom teeth”, still commonly develop in human mouths.”

All very interesting, but I still can’t find out who named them. Maybe we’ll never know.

At this point, let me reassure any dentists out there that I’ve had a second opinion on whether my wisdom teeth need to be removed and both dentists have said yes – due to the fact that they’re all beginning to decay as they’re so far back, the general consensus is that I haven’t been reaching them with my tooth-brush (I never even knew this – as they don’t hurt or ache or tingle, which is also worrying both dentists – comforting thought). Anyway, I’m not having them out because I think it would be nice to have a week of ice-cream and watching DVD’s. Just to be clear.

I’m a little over exploring the whole wisdom teeth thing now – not looking forward to it, the dentist who did the final assessment did look at whether they could be saved, but it’s not an option. The dental surgeon who will be doing the extractions also looked at them and came up with the same conclusion. So I just have to knuckle down and get on with it.

So, on that note, I’ll leave you with this gem from the UK Guardian:

‘The modern wedding: now exchange vows and bones’

Say hello to the new bling: rings grown from bone cells taken from your (still living) partner. “Biojewellery”, which began as an idea and then an experiment started in 2003, is coming to a ceremony near you.

The idea was started by an advert for volunteers to donate some of their osteo-blasts – embryonic cells that prompt the building of bone through our lives – in New Scientist and Bizarre magazines. The experiment to use those to make “biojewellery” was launched in 2003 by Nikki Stott and Tobie Kerridge, designers at the Royal College of Art, and Ian Thompson, a research fellow in oral and maxillofacial surgery at King’s College.

Donors have to have their wisdom teeth removed so that osteoblasts can be extracted from their jawbone. Those are then grown on a Petri dish and seeded onto a ring-shaped bioactive scaffold, which dissolves as the new bone grows, replacing the porous ceramic ring.

Once that is done, the bone rings are taken to a design studio and fixed to a metal band which can be personalised and shaped. The finished product is a ring created from the donor’s own bone tissue.


If you want to read the full article, go HERE. Personally, I find anyone who goes through this procedure for something like that just a little off-centre.

More from the dental trenches tomorrow – if I’m feeling up to actually sitting at the computer sans two wisdom teeth.

Till then, adios and farewell (and think of me at 11.30am Australian Eastern Time tomorrow being injected with more local anesthetic and fully awake in the chair while two teeth are kissed goodbye) .

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