For as long as I can remember my teeth have “bugged” me. Tremendous overcrowding meant that really I needed braces when I was younger, but having never gotten them, was left with a smile that offered two very crooked protruding teeth on my right side. This consistently caused me to feel self conscious about my smile.
Finally, after years of dealing with it, I decided to do something about it. Consulting with a new dentist, he told me that these teeth were not serving their intended function and should have been pulled “long ago.” Once pulled, he assured, my other teeth would shift into place and it would be barely noticeable that these teeth had ever existed at all! This sounded too good to be true!
The big day arrived. The anticipation of having the procedure done was exchanged for the nervousness that accompanied the reality of what the procedure involved…and that it was probably going to hurt. Somehow, prior to that morning I had only focused on the outcome and not the process. With a kind friend by my side holding my hand, about 15 shots of Novocain and a process of prolonged pulling by my persistent dentist, the teeth did indeed come out. Left in their place were two gaping holes that would, after time I was told, close up and heal.
I was sent home with pain meds, the professional advice of the dentist to “take it easy” and a list of what to expect. In a post pulling daze, I was kind of out of it and already beginning to hurt due to the medication wearing off so I’m not sure how much I actually heard of his post-op spiel.
After waking up from a nap later I immediately went to the sink to rinse. I’m not sure where I picked up the knowledge that rinsing was important or that Hydrogen Peroxide was a “healing agent” but it was in my reserve and so water mixed with a few spurts of it seemed like an even better idea than water alone. Rinse, swish, spit. Rinse, swish, spit. A few days later I got even braver, wanting to expedite my healing and thought that rinsing with Listerine would be a super idea. It burned…oh my it burned! But, I figured it was a good, cleansing type of burn and swished on.
Everything was going lovely and I was weaning off of my pain meds. Slowly but surely however, within a 24 hour period, a dull ache began to radiate along my lower jaw and the pain increased until I was forced to return to the dentist. Trying not to be dramatic about the whole thing I summed up my pain level with “I feel like I’m dying.”
Turns out I developed a complication called dry socket. Possibly caused by? Too much rinsing after having a tooth pulled. The very thing that I thought was going to help me heal more quickly ended up causing more pain and discomfort and prolonged the healing process.
What we think is best isn’t always what’s best. We tend to be pulled in certain directions based on our thoughts, our feelings and our experiences. With a heart to make things better we can often make things worse when we walk in our own wisdom instead of Biblical wisdom and truth. We must remember that in Isaiah 55:8 He reminds us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways my ways,” says the Lord. The only way to be sure that we are making wise choices is to seek Him and exchange our wisdom for His.
Father, thank you for the wisdom that you give liberally to all who ask in faith.