What I learned from my wisdom tooth

Maybe it’s called a wisdom tooth because it can teach us some things about life…

So, I had my first wisdom tooth extraction. Did I see it coming? No. Was I prepared going into the dental clinic a few days back, that my “toothache” would require a procedure on the spot? No. Did I regret the visit? No.

Because more than just fixing my problem, the experience taught me a few things.

1. Don’t wait till you’re in pain before visiting the Dentist

That was literally the last thing the nurse said to me before I left the clinic, of course, in a more Singlish way. Going to the dentist, I learnt:

  • My teeth weren’t as clean as they seemed
  • My teeth could have used regular cleaning by the dentist
  • My wisdom teeth do exist and have been growing “behind-the-scenes”

Yes, my last dental appointment was years ago. Is it because I wanted to be filthy? No! I just did not see the need to visit the dentist because I brush regularly and had it all taken care of. Well, that’s what I thought.

And isn’t this the same for our lives as well? Many of us do not consider a need for God – the greatest “Doctor” and “Dentist” in our lives. It is only in times of pain that we look to something or Someone higher for help.

Yeah, I have learned not to make that mistake again – either physically or spiritually. We are all not perfect. Our inner selves aren’t as clean as we want to believe sometimes. It could use regular maintenance and cleaning by God. And most importantly, there are always things beneath the surface we do not see, that He can reveal and fix before it causes us further pain. Choose to go to Him daily.

2. Removing a wisdom tooth is uncomfortable and even painful, but is good in the long run

For all of you who have been through an extraction before, you know it does not feel good. My dentist did a great job and I felt no pain in the whole process. But it still was uncomfortable! I mean who likes having to keep your mouth open, trying to breathe through your nose while someone else is trying to pull a tooth out from the back of your mouth using some tool or device? And of course, there is that sore afterwards.

But man, am I glad I did it. Now I do not have to worry about chewing food on the left side and feeling that sharp ache. And with confidence, I can even say I would not have to worry about it anymore in the foreseeable future!

Mirroring this to our lives again, it is the same with allowing God to remove negative or harmful things from our hearts. For some of us, it’s insecurity. For others, it’s fear. Or maybe, it’s bitterness, selfishness or anger or pride…

The process may not be easy and we may need to humble ourselves to admit we need change, but it sure is good for us in the long run! Just like how I chose immediately to remove my wisdom tooth, I want to obey God immediately and change quickly whenever He corrects me.

3. Getting an extraction costs, but is surely worth it

One last thing I found particularly interesting is how the dentist constantly tells me how much the procedure would cost me. It is almost like he did not want me to be surprised or shocked by the bill at the end. It was clear he wanted me to have a choice, and to be sure of what I am in for.

Before doing anything, he showed me the total cost of consultation, X-ray, extraction and sterilisation. If there was any price I was not willing to pay, say the extraction that would cost me hundreds of dollars, I could opt out and just have the X-ray first and do the extraction another day.

Yes, the entire visit cost me $300, and I did consider whether or not to spend that money for the extraction. But I am glad I did it. There was just no better alternative! It was well worth it. Would I rather spend some money which could be earned back or suffer more pain? The answer was clear.

This reminds me again of our relationship with God. Jesus makes it clear to us to “count the cost” (Luke 14:28-33) of following Him. Because as a Christian, our problems don’t automatically go away. As a Christian, we face challenges too. As a Christian, we learn to obey and trust in God even in times when it is difficult to. However, what we get in return is a pathway to joy and freedom that is eternal.

What is $300 compared to long-term painless eating?

What is humility and having faith compared to eternal life?

Nothing.