I just had a tooth taken out. (Sorry, should I warned in advance that this diary entry contained dental content?) It’s not the most fun thing to do, I admit. Not my favourite way to spend a Saturday morning. Probably not yours either.

Oh, sure, I had a choice. I could either have my top left wisdom tooth wrenched out of my skull… or I could wait until the decay that had started to eat away at the tooth got down to the nerve and I was left in uncontrollable agony. Not to mention the decay also preparing to set out on an extended tour around my mouth, stopping at whatever other teeth it could find along the way. No thanks.

I made the mistake on Friday of mentioning my impending tooth-pulling to my workmates. They managed to relate various wisdom teeth stories, which would make even the most hardened dentist pause in silent contemplation at the prospect of dental agony. One told of his departure from the dentist, staggering down Collins Street with blood practically gushing from his mouth. Another related his inability to eat anything for days afterwards, and his near-collapse a week later when his eyes happened upon a sign displaying the word "Dentist".

Should I take notice of these doom-merchants? Random, and possibly quite irrational thoughts pervaded my every waking hour. Would the anaesthetic numb the left side of my mouth into a permanently lifeless pulp? Would the dentist pull out the wrong tooth? Would it hurt like hell?

The day arrived. Worse, the time arrived. I lay in the chair, trying to joke with the dentist and his assistant, but not really succeeding. The anaesthetic went in. Three doses. I’m okay with needles, as long as I don’t watch. So I didn’t. Why make it worse for yourself, eh?

The dentist checked that I couldn’t feel anything. I’m not sure quite what he did – he could have staple-gunned the inside of my mouth for all I know. I couldn’t feel anything. I decided to just lie back and let dentistry take its course.

He fiddled in my mouth, as I concentrated on the ceiling. A big silver pair pliers passed my field of vision. I felt pulling. I felt something in my mouth being dislodged from its roots. I saw the pliers pass back, with something in their grip. "It’s done", he said. He washed the tooth off and showed it to me.

Wow. My mouth was bleeding, but I hadn’t felt a thing. I still couldn’t, as he put in a couple of stitches. Two days later, as I sit writing this, I’m amazed at how easy and painless it was. But I’m glad I don’t have to have the others out yet. Apparently there’s plenty of room for them in there – I have a big mouth.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.