Pain, Faith and the Wisdom Teeth Extractions

Thursday, October 11, 2018
Today I am writing about pain, faith, and wisdom teeth extractions. Those who really know me know that I can relate something that I see or experience to something philosophical (or my faith) in a heartbeat. Trust me it gets annoying watching movies with me. I'll take something small that I see and relate it to something in life and then want to talk about it. Anyhow, I was reflecting on the recent experience I had while getting my wisdom teeth extracted (I warned yall that I am corny). Don’t roll your eyes yet haha. I was nervous about having this procedure done for so long and for some reason it didn’t work out for me to make an appointment. The position of a couple of those teeth were off, so I felt the teeth growing in and shifting my other teeth. It was pretty painful. When I would try to make the appointment or be seen to have an x-ray it never seemed to work out. I took that as a "bad sign," being the worrywart that I was and kept putting it off.

Facing the Pain

Eventually I couldn’t take the pain anymore, so I went in to get an x-ray. Something came up with my son’s father and I had to reschedule. Then I made an appointment to go back only to find out that the insurance had not authorized the extractions of the badly positioned teeth. So, I had to wait again. This gave me more time to worry. I started praying any time I felt the nerves come up or thought about the procedure. The night before, I was angry and wondered why my stupid wisdom teeth had to come in like that. Even so, I went to bed yet again with my gums throbbing. I woke up realizing that the pain motivated me to face making that appointment and going to get that procedure done.

The whole morning I was praying non-stop and mentally preparing myself for it. I knew it would probably take a while and I was told I was going to get laughing gas for the first time. I also knew they would numb my gums. I realized that I had to face the pain of the procedure in order to deal with the pain I was facing every day. They gave me the laughing gas. It was a weird feeling because it didn’t feel as relaxing, but it did help me not to be so jumpy. Even so, I was still scared. Then the dentist put Orajel to numb the gum areas before I would receive the shots. I started telling myself that this dentist knows what he is doing and I had to let go of my protests and anger and fear and face what was about to happen. 

The Procedure

He began giving me the shots. They were uncomfortable of course, but I wasn’t expecting it to feel good either haha. Then the dentist and the assistant began complimenting me on what a champ I was. I figured they were being reassuring. They left me to deal with another patient and to give the medicine time to kick in. I wasn’t complaining because it gave me more time to mentally prepare myself and to pray. Plus, the laughing gas made me pretty sleepy.
They returned and it was time to start the extractions. Dun. Dun. Dun. It’s your mouth so even though its numb, you can feel that they are pushing against your teeth to loosen them. It was still a little uncomfortable and I felt a little painful pressure. Still, the dentist made sure that I couldn’t feel anything sharp in my gum areas before proceeding with each individual tooth. Again I was facing it head on and praying continually, trusting that he would give each tooth the time it needed. I left it in his hands. Only one tooth came out easily. And on two teeth it sounded like they had to use some kind of drill thingy to separate the teeth. The dentist made sure that he told me what he was doing beforehand and cracked a few jokes, which put me more at ease. I’m probably giving way too much detail, but I want to remember the experience and document it. Plus, if anyone needs to get their wisdom teeth extracted this may be helpful. I like knowing what to expect personally.

The Strong Patient?

Anyway, we get to the last tooth. On this tooth it is impacted, but the tooth hadn’t grown much out of the gum. It seemed like he was taking a screwdriver and unscrewing it to bring the tooth out. Then I believe he also had to separate that one with that tool that sounded like a drill. I have to admit I was closing my eyes for most of it, praying, and curious about what they were doing. It helped the process go by faster.
Throughout various times during the procedure the dentist or the assistant kept complimenting me on how strong I was and how I was the best patient they had all week. I thought they were once again trying to put my mind at ease and giving me a little confidence boost. But, at the end of the procedure (after trying to carry on a conversation about what to expect with a numb mouth), I realized that they were genuinely pleased. It was a little weird to me. They thanked me and told me how strong of a person I am. That's not what I expected at all, nor how I was feeling. However, praying and trusting the process to resolve the months of pain gave me a sense of relief.

Have A little Faith

I left wondering why they literally seemed so happy and amazed about me just sitting there and having my teeth extracted. I was dumbfounded, but I found it a little humorous too. Then it came to me. There is a verse in the Bible that states that you can’t please God without faith. I realized that because I left it in the dentist’s hands, he was probably able to work more efficiently and peacefully. He didn’t have me protesting or resisting what he needed to do in order to help me. I trusted him. Deep down I knew what needed to be done. I couldn’t control how they grew in, but I knew to seek a dentist. I knew the answer. And I had to be positive and believe that things would go well. I then realized if a dentist could be that pleased and excited with one calm patient, imagine how pleased God (the creator of Heaven and Earth) is when we bring our problems to Him, trusting that He could fix them. 

When Pain is A Treasure

The idea of a painful process made me think of one church visit I described a little while ago. I was visiting a church and went up after the service to have a prayer partner speak a word over me. At this time, I was going through it emotionally. I will link my video from YouTube detailing a little of that experience here. I never go up to speak to anyone. I’ve always been a little private and it was always scary for me to be vulnerable especially in church. There were so many things that were going wrong and I felt like I was failing. It was huge leap of faith for me.
My head was lowered in prayer and I was a little emotional, so I had a few tears streaming down my face with my hands reaching out. After praying for a few minutes she said God was showing her that He was digging something up. She would pray a little for clarification as she explained her vision. It seemed that she was confused on what he was digging at first, but then God revealed it to her. She told me that He was digging through the heavy load of pain I was carrying.

Trusting through the Pain

She said he would dig up all the pain, which made me nervous because it had been years of setbacks and painful personal experiences that I was trying to push through. I had felt lost and alone for so long, regardless of the people around me. She told me that my pain was a treasure that He would dig through and that I was His beloved daughter. She also assured me that He was my insurance policy. He covered all things and unlike other policies, there were no gaps. That part meant the most to me. I felt that I had made so many mistakes and that I was stuck and somehow deserved all the bad things that were happening to me. I was also scrambling at opportunities trying to prove something to no one in particular. I guess I was trying to save myself from the mess I created.
When I think of what the dentist was telling me about my wisdom teeth and how they had begun to decay, I remembered that encounter in church. Maybe sometimes pain is what motivates us to change something or to do things differently. As Christians, when things fall apart and we have tried everything in our power, we know the answer. Yet, as humans I believe it's upsetting for us to realize how little control we actually have. Most of us probably struggle to place it in someone else’s hands. It made me think of all those times that I had read how Jesus would be shocked at how little faith someone chose to have or on the other hand surprisingly amazed at how much faith someone else had.

The Take Away

I am happy that this time I can give you an account of a time when my faith was my strength because it has not always been like that. Even now there are some things in my life that feel like a painful, impacted wisdom tooth. Still, I have to remember how I was able to breeze through a very uncomfortable dental procedure where they had to remove the decay. In life that decay may be from situations that need to be addressed. I was able to do so by faith (praying) and looking forward to the relief I would have once it was all over.
Ok so, I know this one was a little gross. Even so, I hope you found encouragement in it. If I can be considered beloved and can move forward knowing I have the most complete insurance policy that covers EVERYTHING (no gaps), then so can YOU.
Thank you for visiting and taking the time to read my musings. Until next time,

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