Where’s the Wisdom in Wisdom Teeth?
Renee Galloway

            I’ve often wondered why God gave us wisdom teeth.  Four teeth, molars they say, we don’t need, and most times need to be removed.  I think they are completely unnecessary, but who am I to question the intricacies of creation?  Dental hygiene has always been a priority in my family because my mother lost most of her teeth at an early age due to bad dental care when she was young. My own wisdom teeth were removed because they were impacted and crowding my nearly straight bottom teeth. My wisdom teeth removal was not much to remember other than the dental assistant kept dropping tools during the procedure.  Recovery was smooth until I returned to college and ate popcorn, which resulted in a dry socket. 


            “Mother of the Year” has never been a title I could claim.  Although my three children survived childhood with no broken bones and only minor illnesses, dental surprises like finding out my young son had nine cavities at one visit to the dentist seemed to further blemish my record.  I like to blame the Air Force in part for the reason he had so many cavities.  He was born in England where there is no fluoride in the water, and we’ve lived most of his life overseas drinking bottled water.  None of us are big milk drinkers either. Somehow, at seventeen, my son already had four fully developed wisdom teeth that threatened to damage the thousands of dollars we had just paid for his beautiful new smile.  Our oldest daughter just had her wisdom teeth removed with ease and very little embarrassment. She was easy to care for, and I expected a slow, uneventful day of nursing my son back to eating full meals and drinking endless amounts of carbonated soda.


            We arrived on time and had followed all the surgeon’s instructions about fasting.  I even made him swallow his daily Zyrtec dry. I sat in the plush waiting room waiting to be told my son came through the surgery splendidly so I could return home and continue the laundry that had piled up over the last few weeks of the school year. I took a sick leave day, thinking I’d knock out a lot of much needed housework while my son slept the day away.  It seemed I had just gotten settled on the overstuffed sofa when the dental assistant told me I could pick my son up at the side entrance of the building.  Simple enough, I thought. I can take it from here. 


            Siblings can be very different in temperament I know, but I assumed both of my children would take recovery pretty much the same.  However, rather than with a sheepish smile I received from my daughter, I heard, “Hey Ma!  That was better than Disney World!”   What a compliment to the surgeon I thought until he said, “No wonder people do drugs . . . I wanna smoke some weed.” 


            You may think I’m in denial, but I know my son, and he’s no druggie.  I calmly said, “Oh no you don’t, son.”  Although I was relieved my son was well and happy, I didn’t want him to think all drug use led to a state of euphoria like he was feeling.  After a few comments from the doctor about playing soccer right now if he could, we set off to pick up medicine for pain which he was in no way feeling at that moment.


            I’ve often heard of truth serum, and now I know that’s what must have been used on my son.  He began to text message his girlfriend while I was driving away and let me proofread what I considered several inappropriate messages to her about how he imagined she looked in her underwear. Oh dear God, I thought with a giggle, but at least I knew he hadn’t seen her in her underwear yet, which is a good thing.  I ended up having to take away his phone completely, fearing he may be thought as a pervert if left alone with his thoughts in his high state of mind.  I did, however, use my cell phone to call his dad to say that alcohol and our son should never meet.


             He began to roll down the window hanging half-way out yelling “Woohoo!” to anyone passing by.  Walking into the drug store was out of the question.  I could only imagine what he might do or say to someone.  I forgot to mention my son is six foot two and about 160 pounds. He’s tall and lanky and towers over me.  So we found a drugstore with a drive through where he began to roll the windows up and down, grab the steering wheel, and beg for his phone because he wanted to talk to his girlfriend who he loved so much.  I felt like I was with a toddler again, and the scary part was I didn’t know where the child locks were for the car doors because I no longer had toddlers when I bought the car a few years ago. 


            I did finally get him home and up to his bedroom which smelled of boy, a mixture of dirty shoes, socks and heaven only knows what else.  He managed to swallow his pain medication, which he was beginning to need as I wondered why I had not washed his sheets recently.  I never did claim to be “Mother of the Year”.