Tooth Hurty

Posted by JoshDreamland on Oct. 28, 2015, 9:26 p.m.

Scene: my bed, yesterday morning, 2:30 AM.

I wake up, and it feels as though someone has punched me in the lower jaw. I can't believe how bad this hurts; what have I done? One of my teeth must be acting up, I assume. I grab a dental floss stick and begin agitating between the teeth to see if any one tooth would give a response. Nothing. So I turn the pick over and begin gently biting down on the broad side using the teeth that hurt. No… no… no… no… crunch. The wisdom tooth directly above the teeth that hurt shattered, sending pieces of tooth throughout my mouth. In a dazed, sleepy state of shock, I began fishing around my mouth for pieces of tooth. After I collected them all, I grabbed a dental mirror to explore the damage. It was ugly.

The four or five teeth under my now-shattered tooth immediately ceased to hurt, but the tooth in question eventually resumed in their place. Interestingly, there was a period during which I felt no pain. Perhaps if I had just taken some ibuprofen and gone to bed, could have sorted the affair in the morning. But that's not what I ended up doing.

As I probed the tooth with my finger to see what had happened, the pain set in, and coupled with the horror of what had just happened (I had actually had a nasty dream about this a month prior), I decided that the tooth had to go. I went into the other room, grabbed a screw driver, and began prying.

Over a year ago, I had a similar experience with the wisdom tooth on the other side of that row of teeth. It didn't hurt; I just discovered one day that a lot of it was missing, and for the most part, I left it be (I gave it a small tug with some floss to see if it would come, but I gave up quickly enough). The dentist took some sort of dental screwdriver and quickly pried it apart from the neighboring tooth, then grabbed a pair of forceps and twisted it out of my skull. It was a painless, simple procedure. How hard can that be to reproduce?

Guided by horror stories about my father having failed to extract his wisdom tooth using pliers, instead shattering it to where it had to be cut out of his head, I decided to stick with the screwdriver. My prior dentist had left a passing remark that my father should have used one if he was going to attempt that sort of thing on his own, so I figured this was the best place to start.

No amount of force was going to get this screwdriver to successfully pry this tooth from my head.

I started just by twisting the screwdriver to separate the wisdom tooth from its neighbor, as my dentist had done. No real issues. But when I started applying the serious torque to remove it, shit hit the fan. I couldn't get enough grip, and I couldn't apply enough force. Not to mention I was salivating in hyperdrive. I was about to soak my clothing in drool. So I got in the shower.

This continued in the shower until I had enough area on the tooth to begin pulling on it with my fingers on the screwdriver shaft. At this point, I decided to add more tooling. Unfortunately, all I had at hand was a few shampoo bottles. So I opened my mouth, shoved the shampoo bottle in, placed my head against one wall and my foot on the opposite, put my knee cap to the shampoo bottle, and just started shoving. I crushed the shampoo bottle quickly.

Each one of my ankles can put out about 300-400 pounds of force. I wasn't anywhere near that to crush the shampoo bottle. So I went to get something more durable.

After some choosing, I settled on a hammer. Not ready to return to the shower, I sat in the hallway and repeated the operation using the handle of the hammer in place of the shampoo bottle. I must have put 30-50 pounds of force on this system. It wasn't enough. The only thing that happened is the occasional miss, which would result in the screwdriver scraping into the roof of my mouth.

I was at this for four hours, until the fifth occurrence of the screwdriver missing at about 5:00 AM. At this point, the pain was dying down and my need for sleep was reaching a breaking point. I crawled into bed with my screwdriver, and after a few more prods, finally managed to roll over and fall asleep.

The rest is pretty much history; after I woke up, I booked a dental appointment for today at 10:30 (about a 26 hour delta from wakeup time). I went in, to a totally new dentist now that I live in PA, and after a 15-minute numbing window, he removed the tooth in two minutes with some forceps. No prying was needed, for reasons left unspoken. He awarded me an A for effort, after some opening remarks that he found the damage I did to my mouth "pretty stupid." He apparently was telling his assistant about it, because when he showed her the screwdriver crater, saying "see is?" and she nodded with a brief "I see what you mean," I could basically hear an entire conversation of him explaining. "see, this is that retarded shit I told you this dumbass did yesterday night," and her replying "Yeah, that's every bit as retarded as you indicated."

But hey, I enjoyed myself, and that's the important part. As a souvenir, I requested the tooth in a to-go box. He did as requested; the roots are pretty whacky, but not as bad as the last one; they're good and thick this time, and they converge instead of snaking out in all directions. Where two of them converge, there's a small piece of my jaw bone. Also it's bloody as shit, but like, what do you want?

Bonus fun fact: I occasionally get headaches. Some of these headaches really suck. In fact, I'd go through all of that again just to save myself a headache in the future.


aeron 8 years, 6 months ago

I can't tell you how many time I just said "oh god" or "fucking christ" while reading this. The thought of pulling my own teeth disturbs me. I once cracked one of my baby teeth and had to yank a shard out that was hurting but man this is way worse. I also have no idea what I would do in that situation (at 2am especially) but I probably wouldn't have reached for a hammer I can tell you that much. Reading this honestly made me glad my wisdom teeth were removed under anesthesia, sorry that you went through all that man. Hope the pain stops and you can get some rest tonight.

JoshDreamland 8 years, 6 months ago

The doctor wrote me a prescription for some vicodin. I am getting sleep tonight. But I'm feeling way better, and I suspect I'm doing so with some ibuprofen instead.

DesertFox 8 years, 6 months ago


I had a tooth pulled at the dentist (it was the tooth that a previous dentist had fucked up and killed).

Dentists always fuck up for me, and the new dentist was no different because they 1) forgot to give me a prescription even though I made sure I asked them to double check (they said it was in the folder, and not to worry because they were faxing the prescription to the pharmacy as well) and 2) they faxed my prescription to the wrong pharmacy - to one that was closed for the weekend. Oh, and when I got back to the dentist office, they were closed, and the emergency number ended up being a voicemail that was full.

Fuck dentists. I want to get my teeth replaced with bioprinted new ones, or grow new ones in-situ.

eagly 8 years, 6 months ago

I spent most of my time reading this post gasping horribly while at work. Do you live with anyone? I can just imagine someone coming out of their room, seeing you in a half-asleep daze with a hammer in your mouth and your legs against the wall and just saying "Nope." and going back to bed. That's what I'd have done.

Moikle 8 years, 6 months ago

This is why America needs proper medical care

Ronnica 8 years, 6 months ago

Oh man, I cannot tell you how badly I was wincing while reading. You sir, are one tough nut!

JoshDreamland 8 years, 6 months ago

This entire experience has been a whole lot of fun. I do live alone, so on the plus side, no embarrassing encounters, but on the downside, no one is here to look in my mouth for me and tell me what's going on. Or just to offer moral support, for that matter.

And it's funny you should mention that, Cyrus. Breaking off chunks of jawbone happens, every time; fracturing it down the middle, not so much. I was plenty careful not to do that. In fact, the dentist broke more of my jaw twisting my tooth out with forceps than I did prying slowly with a screwdriver. Trust me on that one; at this point, I know what breaking jawbone sounds like. My last dentist made off without breaking hardly any of my jaw out. But it still happens. My father has several interesting stories on the matter, and now I have one, too.

You see, last night at around ten, I decided to survey the damage a little. The right side of my mouth was quite inflamed, and it felt as though there was still a tooth in there. The side of my gum was hard and painfully sensitive, all the way up the shaft, just like having a crooked wisdom tooth there. Further inspection showed that the base of the gum had a hard piece of something lodged in it. The edge felt very much like jaw bone, in how narrow it was. Funny thing. Eventually, tired of the pain and just kind of wanting to be able to heal normally, I got in the shower, grabbed my screwdriver (still sitting in the corner), and went to town prying out pieces of jaw.

The first piece to come out was a pleasing triangular wedge, each side being about a quarter of an inch. It hurt coming out, but was more satisfying than anything else. I assumed that was the end of it, but feeling around, the original "hard thing" was still firmly lodged, completely unmoved. Trying to find a good spot to dig it out, I pried out a girthy junk of whatever bone is supposed to hold the roots in place. It came out relatively easily, but I was immediately horrified because (A) that was NOT what I was trying to grab at, and (B) I wasn't entirely certain I hadn't just pulled out a chunk of rotten root, but my dentist had cleanly removed the entire root structure of that tooth, which means that if this chunk was root and not bone, it would have had to come from the tooth next door, which is not out of the question given the bizarre, serpentine structure of some of my roots. Further inspection revealed that this was not the case; I have no reason to suspect the molar next door is anything less than perfectly healthy, and as I said, that chunk came out pretty damn easily for it to have been a piece of something bigger (still hurt like hell, though). Either way, that original piece of bone was still in there, solid as ever.

Picking at it with my fingernail did nothing but cause me agitating levels of pain. Eventually, I calmed down a bit, realizing that this was gonna hurt the whole fucking time I was pulling it out, and then it'd just be over. So after spitting surprising amounts of apparently partially-coagulated blood, I went back in with the screwdriver, determined to get this fragment where I can feel it. I wedged the screwdriver in right around the base until I had a decent grip on that structure, then pried gently against the neighboring tooth. It hurt like hell. I felt something in my gum ripping, and it obviously involved some nerve. It was taking the entire side of my gum with it; I have no idea how my body forced such a huge piece of jawbone to the surface of my gum. This thing was half an inch at its widest point, with the entire shard fitting best to a half-inch by quarter-inch ellipse. It was amazing. And bloody. Man, the bleeding. I won Halloween. I stuck the shower head in my face for a sec, then located the gauze I had brought home the day of the original surgery. The rest is history….

JoshDreamland 8 years, 6 months ago

For posterity, I should mention that some light reading on dental matters revealed I made a mistake. As good as rinsing my mouth after removing the jawbone felt, it was a terrible idea. I should have done one quick check for leftover bone, spat what I had, and immediately gauzed it (I did gauze it, but not soon enough).

I believe I now have a mild dry socket. I assume it's mild based on the horror stories I've heard about them being incredibly painful. It's been so mild that I didn't even use any painkillers until around 3:00pm today. I am lucky; that piece of information was vital, and I could have seriously fucked up without it.

So, word from the… brave? If you pull chunks of anything out of a tooth socket, gauze immediately. Seeing a dentist is probably also advisable, of course, but hey, I haven't gotten around to it.

Ronnica 8 years, 6 months ago

I have both a dentist and orthodontist appointments coming up on the same day. I am uneasy after reading all this.

Zekian 8 years, 6 months ago

Oh man, That sounds like a nightmare I don't want to have… Any plans on getting an implant or something? Not sure what's available or how costly, but I've heard it can be expensive.