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Y’all know that dentists number human teeth for ease of reference, right? #32 is the last tooth, the one in your lower right, if you have it. Well, my #32 has never fully erupted, and it bothers me from time to time.

So yesterday I went in to the dentist to have #32 removed. I was a little nervous because I’ve never had an extraction.

He numbs me up and goes to town on the old #32, but it seems like the tooth doesn’t want to budge. So, he tells me, he’s going to cut it apart and remove it in a couple pieces.

He manages to get part of the top of the tooth out, but still can’t get the rest, so he takes another x-ray from a different angle. Upon examining it, he decides he’s out of his depth, and refers me to an oral surgeon. He packs a little gauze in my mouth to stanch the flow of blood, I hop on my bicycle and ride up Canal Street about 15 blocks.

The oral surgeon takes one of those big wraparound x-rays. He explains that #32 is partially impacted, but at such an angle that it has to be extracted by pulling not just up, but back, which as you can imagine is difficult, even for a specialist.

So he whips out a massive drill and proceeds to remove a substantial chunk of my jawbone.

And, finally, he gets #32 out. Well, most of it. One root is so close to the nerve that he leaves it there for fear of doing serious damage. The root that he does extract is hooked at 115ยบ angle.

Afterward I’m sitting in the chair, and I look over, and there attached to the wall, with a long vacuum tube coming out of it, is a container of red liquid. My blood, it dawns on me. 300cc. That’s more than a cup, in case you didn’t know.

Then he stitched me up and sent me home.

So today I’m taking it easy and staying home from work. They got me on hydrocodone, which makes me feel groovy except that it also makes me barf. But at least I was here to receive my stylish new refrigerator from Sears.

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