September 28, 2023
September 28, 2023

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

What is the story with wisdom teeth? Wise people have them; not-so-wise people have them. I was wondering where they got their name from. Turns out that they are referred to as wisdom teeth because they are the last teeth to come in, so when they finally do find a place in your mouth, they have become wise. How does that sound? All I know is that there is a scam going on in the world of wisdom teeth.

When I was growing up, we all had and kept our wisdom teeth. No orthodontist scared my parents with the, “They could get infected, they could grow into the nerve, they could develop into a full grown set of teeth if you don’t have them removed.” Our braces came off, we got a retainer, we lost the retainer and on we went with our lives.

What I find amazing is that these “Heed our warnings or you will be sorry” speeches usually coincide with your child’s senior year of high school. Which, as we have all learned, is the year before we send them off to a foreign country for 8–36 months, depending on which school we send them to or how much they don’t like us. It kind of sounds like a prison term, but I think that is more how parents feel about when our kids leave us. The kids, on the other hand, are thinking, “Free at last, free at last, Thank God almighty, I am free at last.”

Son #1 got his braces off and then got the speech about the wisdom teeth. First child provokes the most anxiety. We have to find an oral surgeon. I called the office of the doctor I wanted to use and was informed that he didn’t take my insurance. Got a recommendation for another guy, he took my insurance, and he won the prize of dealing with me, the over-anxious mother (among other things) and removed my precious first-born’s teeth. As far as I remember, son #1 did ok. He actually ate more than he usually does because scrambled eggs is a soft food and one of the few things he eats, so everyone was happy.

This brings us to son #2. He gets his braces off and then he gets the same speech with a twist. Something about a root and a nerve and a Bigfoot sighting, who knows. The only thing going through my head is the voice of husband #1 saying, “How much is this going to cost?” Truthfully, that is what I am usually thinking as well. Who knew kids were so darn expensive? In any event, I am determined not to get his teeth pulled. I know more than the orthodontist. I will swallow down my Jewish mother guilt and send my favorite middle child off to Israel with all four of his impacted wisdom teeth. Just add it to the list of reasons why my boys are putting me in a nursing home.

Ya, how long do you think that lasted? One of his friends got his teeth pulled, son #2 asked when he was getting his pulled and the process started again. The only positive was now that he is a post-winter-vacation senior, he might as well be in nursery school because he no longer cares if he misses class. (Side point: He really does care, he loves his teachers and rabbis and he works really hard if anyone from TABC is reading this. He continues to take school very seriously.) The good news was that the doctor that I wanted to use with son #1 now takes my insurance and we really like him, so the appointment was made.

This brings us to last Tuesday. It was a cold and sunny day when we entered the office of our friendly oral surgeon, who also happens to be son #2’s fake uncle (don’t ask), and on went the laughing-gas mask. I sat in the room like the nervous Jewish mother I am on a ball chair, which was supposed to be good for my core (don’t ask). Basically, I just tried not to pass out. Son #2, on the other hand, was snoring away, And before you knew it, it was over. We took the requisite Facebook picture, got our ice packs, said our thank yous and off we went.

When we got home, I put on my nurse’s uniform, waited for him to pass out from the pain medication and then I went for a walk. I can only be sweet and kind for so long. I hope the tooth fairy remembered to come. As for son #2, he is still pretty wise, even if without the teeth.

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

Banji Ganchrow enjoys taking care of her family. But between husband #1’s kidney stones and Son #2’s oral surgery, she needs a vacation. Oh wait, it almost Passover… then she will really need a vacation.


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