Tooth Extractions and TEOTWAWKI Lessons

Don’t Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today

I had my wisdom teeth yanked out a few days ago. Yes, I’m a little on the old side to have that done. Usually it happens when you’re what – 18? More than just four wisdom teeth, though – I had my hidden, ultra secretive, freak tooth pulled, too. I had 33 teeth, down to a sad 28.

Or is it sad? It was only a matter of time before they caused problems. I could have kept them longer, kept them until they caused problems, and they WOULD cause problems. I was only able to keep them for as long as I did because I was hyper-vigilant about keeping them clean. When I went off to college my new dentist told me I should get them out, because it was “only a matter of time.” That was almost a few decades ago. He was right. I should have had them out then. And getting them out now is better than getting them out later. I’m younger now than I will be later, I have good dental and health insurance that I might not have later, and, of course …..

TEOTWAWKI Could Hit TOMORROW!

Well – it could! Yeah, chances are high it won’t, but it – technically – could. And I’d rather have my teeth out in the world that we know rather than The End Of The World As We Know It.

I’m going to describe the tooth extraction event that I experienced, and then I’m going over to my trusty Where There Is No Dentist book and detail the process from there. Then you can decide whether you’d rather have teeth pulled out, now … or post-collapse.

Tooth Extraction in The World That We Know (TWTWK)

I had an appointment at 8:30 in the morning. I wasn’t allowed to have breakfast. I show up, get taken to a back room, lay back in a chair and they stuck my arm with an IV – anesthesia. Then they stuck me in the shoulder with another needle, and a nurse said, “Here’s some oxygen, take three deep breaths” as she moved a mask to my face. I remember the second breath.

I woke up about 40 minutes later very “doped up.” I needed a ride home and they sent me with very detailed post-op instructions. I got a prescription for a mild pain killer, something for nausea and a specific mouth rinse. I laid around the house for 3 days. The pain wasn’t very bad. The swelling was not very noticeable. The toughest thing was getting cut off from solid foods. I had very little energy. I’m still recovering on Day 5, but able to work a desk job.

Tooth Extraction at The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI)

I’m not sure what exact procedure the oral surgeon used, but if it was TEOTWAWKI and someone had to remove my teeth, I’d thumb to Chapter 11 of Where There Is No Dentist – Taking Out a Tooth.

The first thing we’d need is a few basic, sterile instruments – a spoon, elevator and forceps. Mind you these are dental tools, a dental spoon, not a soup spoon; a dental elevator for lifting teeth up, not a freight elevator; and dental forceps. Since I have none of these, I’d have to use a dental plaque scraper thingy-ma-bob that I happen to have and a pair of needle nose pliers … ouch.

Since I don’t have any anesthesia, but I do have some whiskey, I’d probably get really, really drunk. Getting that drunk might involve puking, which would probably not be fun after having teeth removed. Maybe I’d just have to take it sober – take the pain!

My SHTF surgeon would have to separate the gums from the tooth inside the gum pocket. Ideally he/she would have some small tool that could get in under the teeth (in absence of a dental spoon) to work the tooth loose. Then my SHTF surgeon would just have to gently keep working the tooth loose until he/she pulled it out (different teeth pull in different directions according to the book). It sounds like a whole lot of … ouch.

The biggest potential problem is breaking the tooth, getting a root stuck inside the pocket, because then you gotta go diggin’ for it, otherwise … INFECTION!

A suture or two or more might also be helpful. They’re not rocket science, not if you just took a few teeth out. I wouldn’t have any post-op hoity toity mouth rinse. I’m sure my SHTF surgeon would leave me with more pain and swelling than what the seasoned professional gave me.

Don’t delay on your health needs. Unless you like the sound of SHTF surgery.

– Ranger Man