The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Wouldn't recommend self-dentistry


October 20, 2019

There are certain things you can’t do yourself, despite every wish that you could. I can’t give myself a back massage, and I can’t get that thing that’s in the back seat of my car while I’m driving.

And then there are certain things you shouldn’t do yourself. You shouldn’t be your own lawyer, and you shouldn’t be your own doctor.

But there I was Wednesday morning, playing the role of interim dentist Kevin Wilson.

I’ve had three dentists in my life. The first was the one who removed my wisdom teeth in 1997, the second was a one-time visit for an emergency tooth repair in 2001, and the third is the local dentist who has had me in as a patient since 2008. Let it be said right now that I’m pleased with my dentist, who got me on the path to good dental care. Our first four years of fillings, root canals and caps has been followed by six-plus years of clean twice-a-year checkups.

A few weeks ago, there was a problem (don’t worry, I’ll leave out as many disgusting details as I can). A bump had formed on the gums near where my lower left wisdom tooth used to be. There was slight pain whenever I touched it, so naturally I touched it every chance I got to see what was the matter.

I hoped it would go away soon, because there were still two months remaining before my next “everything’s fine” checkup. Instead, the bump got bigger. And then it became a sharp pointy thing.

With each passing day, the sharp pointy thing got a little more obvious, and the pain got a little greater. About two weeks into this, it was to the point where I could force my fingernail against it. The third time I pressed it against better judgment, it gave and came out like a little white sliver. Looked like bone, but had the consistency of a piece of plastic. No sooner did I get a look at it than it fell off my fingertip, never to be seen again. Well, guess we won’t have to tell the dentist about this one.

That’s what I thought until the second piece made its way through, and the third. In both cases, the piece made its way out with my fingernail, while I prayed to the gods of dental pain my finger wouldn’t slip and scratch the still-irritated gumline.

After the third time, I made an appointment with the dentist to see what was the matter. Just a few hours before said appointment, a fourth piece of whatever came through, but this time I was able to secure it in a plastic bag.

By the time I’d gotten to talk to the dentist, I’d perfected the story because I had to tell it when I booked the appointment and I had to talk to the dental hygienist that did the prep work for the dentist. It was pretty much that story above.

The dentist took a look at my teeth, took a look at the bagged sample and took a look at the X-ray that didn’t reveal anything about this case.

Whatever it was had made its way out of my gumline, I should expect a little residual pain in the gums for the next few weeks, and we’ll see you at the next checkup.

And with that, my time as my own dentist was over. Even though I succeeded, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Kevin Wilson is editor of the Eastern New Mexico News. He can be contacted at 575-763-3431, ext. 320, or by email:

[email protected]


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