When I was growing up I never imagined that the first time I would ever have ‘surgery’, I’d be in Cambodia. Now before people panic, it was scheduled, incredibly minor (it’s barely surgery actually), and I’m absolutely fine. But I am minus four teeth, or ‘useless bits of calcium’ as my mum termed them.
I had been told by Khmer dentist last year that I needed my wisdom teeth removed but had put it off for ages. When I visited again for a minor tooth ache in November, he advised me strongly to just get it done. So whilst every other expat in Cambodia took advantage of the week long holiday for Khmer New Year in April and left the city, I found myself lying in a dentist’s chair with a piece of green fabric across my face and a scalpel in my mouth. Don’t worry, I was so numb even my eye was slightly dopey for the next few hours. I’d also taken a valium to calm myself down!
I’ve never been afraid of the dentist but having all four wisdom teeth removed in Cambodia made me rather nervous. Luckily for me and my nerves (emotional not physical), the dentist decided against telling me that he had been worried before he started the surgery because the roots of my teeth were curved, making extraction much more difficult. He informed me this when I was staring aghast at the four ‘useless bits of calcium’ which were lying on the little tray afterwards.
“Yes, I was worried they were going to snap off but I was very good and I got them all out in one piece.”
I don’t care how big-headed he sounded, I’m 100% in agreement at how fantastic Dr Khyak is after seeing what he pulled from my gums. And apologies if you’re reading this and eating.
Which is something I wasn’t doing much of for the next few days following the surgery. Well, soup. And ice lollies which my darling flatmate made for me before she left for the beach. I spent a week lying mute on the couch, watching so much television my eyes were quite literally square and cuddling Nugget. In fact, the only vaguely nice photo I have of this delightful time in my life is with my furry little companion.
But yes, I’ll publish the awful picture too. I only chipmunk-ed on one side!
A month has passed since the extraction and my mouth is completely healed. I don’t miss my teeth at all and I’m certainly glad I got the surgery over and done with at last. I’m also not feeling any less wise than I was before they were removed so clearly they are inappropriately named ‘useless bits of calcium’. I can now add ‘remove wisdom’ teeth to things I would advise visitors to Cambodia to do. It’ll come right beneath ‘visit Angkor Wat’, and ‘tour Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields’.