Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wisdom Teeth

(PICTURE: The first picture that came up when I googled wisdom teeth.)

When one lives someplace a long time, one starts to notice trends. Something I've noticed a lot over the last couple of years is that many of my students in their 20s have a lot of tooth pain. Recently my wife, who is also in her 20s, has had a considerable amount of pain emanating from the back of her mouth. Growing up in a country where people almost always preemptively remove their wisdom teeth, this is not something that I'm personally familiar with.

In Vietnam it is seems that nobody has their wisdom teeth removed. Instead people go to the dentist and have some kind of cream/ointment/paste on the wisdom teeth area to temporarily take away the pain. Supposedly that usually helps for a few weeks. I asked one of my students recently how long she has had pain and she said "on and off for a few years." I've been told that eventually the pain just stops. Who the heck knows if that is true or not. There's something to this though that is a great metaphor between a developed country and developing country. Or perhaps it is just a testament to Vietnamese culture as a whole. People here deal with annoyances for years and years until they finally disappear. Okay, maybe I'm reading into this too much.