Who? What now? What then? Plastic Spacemen My Amazing Dancing Teeth Family Emma Ginger Email me

My Amazing Dancing Teeth

Well, it all started way back in 1989. My dentist was a trifle concerned that my lower left second molar had not turned up by the time I was 18, when it should have turned up when I was 12 or so. An opthalmagram, a kind of panoramic xray of my whole jaw, was ordered:

1989 opthalmagram

As you can see my third molar (wisdom tooth) and my second molar are apparently preventing each other from doing anything. I probably should have had surgery at this point - but the decision was to wait and see what happened. And what happened? This happened:

2000 opthalmagram

10 years later I mentioned to my dentist that I had experienced a little pain in that corner of my mouth, so another xray was ordered. My dentist was suprised to learn that my wisdom tooth had turned upside down. She spoke to the orthodontist she shares a clinic with. He was also suprised. My x-ray was passed from dentist to orthodontist to specialist and it wasn't until I was referred to one of the most emminent oral surgeons in Melbourne that anybody had the foggiest idea of what to do about it. He stressed that most of his less-experienced colleagues would never had seen a case like mine, but that an oral surgeon could expect to see a case like mine "once or twice in a career".

The wisdom tooth had to go. Pronto. It was already doing serious damage to my jaw - the cross-sectional area of bone in that corner of my jaw was down to something like 30% of normal. The second molar pretty much had to go too. The chance of it coming up normally after the wisdom tooth was removed was minimal and the infection risk was high. Unfortunately that dark line you can see running through the roots of the second molar is a nerve - the nerve servicing my lower lip. The risk of permament numbness was given to me as 10%, and temporary numbness as 50%. No indicators on how long "temporary" is. If the feeling comes back, it's temporary, be it 5 minutes or 5 years.

So I approached the surgery with some trepidation. It hurt like hell for a couple of weeks, but my lips were fine from day one, and everything went very smoothly.

Last updated: 28/1/2002
Paul Haesler