Wisdom teeth

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Lazar
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Wisdom teeth

Postby Lazar » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:50 pm UTC

These bastards need a thread! In particular, I'd like informal advice, comments and anecdotes: in my case, my upper wisdom teeth are perfectly vertical, but my lower ones are almost perfectly horizontal (impacted), and my dentist wants me to have them taken out. But a reading of relevant materials reveals that there are huge differences of opinion on what to do with wisdom teeth: here in the US, dentists are pretty gung ho about removing them, whereas in Britain, for example, they recommend against removing asymptomatic impacted third molars. So what are your experiences with impacted wisdom teeth? Have you had them out and experienced any harm (specifically thinking about nerve damage)? Have you left them in and experienced any of the horrible consequences that my dentist so eagerly warns me about (infections, damage to neighboring molars), or had to have them out later in life?
Last edited by Lazar on Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:57 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Briareos » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:54 pm UTC

I had mine out as minor part of relatively major jaw surgery (the thinking was, "We're already in there, anyway, so we may as well take these things out so they don't cause trouble in the future"). I guess I was sixteen at the time. I didn't have any problem specifically with my wisdom teeth because the recovery for my jaw was so grueling. I didn't even miss them.

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby JBJ » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:13 pm UTC

One possible risk is nerve damage. It's relatively low risk, as the article says, 1-2%, but unfortunately my wife fell into that percentage when she had a wisdom tooth removed. To this day her jaw is still numb on one side.
this site wrote:The roots of lower wisdom teeth may lie near the main nerve to the lower jaw, and their crowns may be near the nerve to the tongue. During the surgery, these nerves could be damaged. This happens in maybe 1% to 2% of cases. The result would be numbness in the lips, chin, and teeth on the side affected, or in the side of the tongue. Movement would not be affected—only sensation. If this happens to you, call your dentist immediately. It may also be possible that the nerves were not touched during the surgery, but there is swelling that is pressing on the nerve, causing it to go numb. In this case, a prescription of anti-inflammatory medication can ease the damage to the nerve and make recovery quicker.

If you do have nerve damage, expect some difficulty in using your mouth for several weeks, until it accommodates to the change. The nerve may take a month or several months to repair itself. It is not very common for this numbness, if present, to be permanent, but that is also possible. If the nerve was actually severed during the surgery, that is when the damage will likely be permanent.
My personal experience is that I've had all my wisdom teeth out. None were severely impacted, but I put it off for too long and they did some damage to my 2nd molars, which subsequently had to be removed. My advice would be to have them taken out.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby LinuxPenguin » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:13 pm UTC

I had all four taken out a while back. They knocked me clean out to do it (i wasn't having it any other way. I've got a low tolerance for pain). Hurt like a ********* for days. Spend the next week spitting up blood. Oh, and when they tell you the stitches dissolve, they are lying. The bits of stitch under the skin dissolve, the outside bits just fall off, so you spend a week or two spitting up bits of stitches. Lovely.


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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Cassi » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:16 pm UTC

Mine aren't completely in yet...can't tell what the bottom right one is doing, but the bottom left one is pretty much facing exactly backwards...my dentist said that we won't worry about taking it out unless it causes a lot of problems with infections, but if an infection happened once I'd just be getting some antibiotics for it and be told to keep it clean better. My top ones are at some weird angles but not posing any problems as of yet, and he said they're looking clean, so shouldn't be an issue. So I guess it's still too early to say if I will experience any damage from them, but my dentist definitely didn't even consider taking them out just because of odd angles, which I was very relieved to hear. (Both of my parents had their wisdom teeth removed in the US because they were impacted, which was what I was basing my worry on -- never actually realised there was much difference in attitudes between the US and UK on the matter though.)
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:22 pm UTC

I had two yanked out during lunch a couple years back, one a few years before THAT, and the fourth is laying in wait, like a bear hiding in it's den. It wasn't that bad for me, but I have a peculiar pain threshold. The best part was the cracking noise, and the worst part was the jaw cramp from having my mouth open like that for a freaking hour.

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby pseudoidiot » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:30 pm UTC

My two lower wisdom teeth were impacted. That itself wasn't any real concern. The problem was because of how they were situated against the molars in front of them created an area where regular brushing just wouldn't reach and flossing would only do so much good so decay started to build up. And they really couldn't do anything about the decay until the wisdom teeth were gone.

My experience with having them out was fine, though. One of my wisdom teeth wasn't a concern at all, because it came in where I'd had a molar removed when I was younger. Of the remaining 3, two were impacted. I forget the reason for removing the third. Anyway, they put me under and the next thing I know my wife was driving me home. I was pretty out of it. There was some soreness for the next few days and I wasn't as careful as I should've been with what foods I was eating so I managed to get some food stuck in one of the gaping holes where one of the wisdom teeth came out of. I talked to the oral surgeon about it and he gave me a handy syringe that I could use to flush the sites with warm water. Other than that I didn't have any problems.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Aetius » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:59 pm UTC

Had all four out when I was nineteen. Zero complications, very little pain (didn't even fill the prescription for painkillers, just took ibuprofen). Had them out on a Friday and was back to work on Monday, was eating solid foods by about Tuesday. Dentist said he was surprised at how quickly I had healed considering it was a "complicated" extraction, but that's about all I know on that end.

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Chicostick » Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:30 pm UTC

I only have one wisdom tooth, and I'm probably going to have it out either over the next vacation or the summer.

Previously my dentists actually thought I wouldn't have any wisdom teeth at all, but eventually something must have changed and they spotted one. It is going to become impacted, but it doesn't hurt so I'm in no rush to get it out.

I lucked out in only having one :D

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Rinsaikeru » Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:39 pm UTC

Mine were impacted, I had them out--the meds made me loopy--they gave me a blanket, I have the teeth in a jar somewhere. I was eating solid food within about four days--didn't hurt too bad but I looked like a Cabbage Patch Kid for a week.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby wst » Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:51 pm UTC

Mine are fine, they hurt a little bit when I got food stuck in them while eating.... made eating chocolate risky. Now they're almost flush with my other molars, though, I'm ok :D
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:53 pm UTC

The first wisdom tooth I had out had rotted through from cola ingestion, and then the back half of the tooth simply... broke off. I think I must have eaten it, because I didn't know for a year, I just thought I had a sharp tooth. It didn't hurt THAT much, but the dentist was so horrified when he told me "Half of your lower right wisdom tooth is... gone." Good times.

The other two were my dentist realizing that I had full dental coverage, and suddenly those two wisdom teeth that were causing no problems whatsoever totally HAD to come out.

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Wyvern » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:26 pm UTC

All four of Mine Were impacted. They had to come out, they were already mashing the rest of my teeth together rather uncomfortably. On top of that, if left alone, the upper teeth's roots would have continued growing and eventually penetrated the sinuses. that's a bad thing.

They all came out. They gave me these drugs that made me all loopy, so I was basically drunk that entire day. It wasn't too bad, it didn't really hurt and they healed up nicely.

Another interesting to think about is that people don't always have four. My brother only had three - one just never grew in the first place. Probably a bit frightening though is a hairdresser I know that had eight..... they had all four taken out, and then four more grew and took their place! She got her wisdom teeth out twice.

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Cammy » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:31 pm UTC

I say it depends on the size of jaw you have. I have a tiny jaw and waited nearly fours years after I had a dental surgeon told me they were impacted to take them out. I was in pain all the time and ran a higher risk of nerve damage, being told there was a possibility of needing my jaw broken to get them out even. I was lucky and simply had a longer healing time. If you have a larger jaw set though, you might be okay.

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby EmptySet » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:10 pm UTC

I had all mine taken out by a facial surgeon pretty much as soon as my dentist told me they were impacted. Everything went fine, no nerve damage, didn't hurt at all (er, though I was obviously under anaesthetic during the actual surgery), and I healed up really fast. I was basically back to normal in a week. One of my friends had his removed by a dentist rather than a proper surgeon, and was walking around going "ARGH THE AGONY" for weeks, so my recommendation would be 1. get a real surgeon, even if it costs more and 2. get it done quickly, because it's supposed to be easier to do and less of a risk if you get in early.

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Vieto » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:40 pm UTC

my wisdom teeth are all fine... except they are stuck underneath my jawbone so I'm going to have to get them all removed :(

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:56 am UTC

Had mine out, and it was a blast. Surgeon let me listen to music while it was going on, which means, combined with the meds, it was basically a party. Woke up groggy, dad asked how I was, spit out a mouthful of blood, slept the rest of the day away, was up and about the following day. Eating solids a day or so after that.

I imagine it largely depends on how awful and deep rooted your teeth were and how talented the surgeon is. Neal Stephenson has a hilarious story about wisdom teeth removal... I dunno, it's not that bad, and you can make a necklace out of them when you're done!
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby PictureSarah » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:24 am UTC

I had one wisdom tooth that was giving me trouble, in spite of all four of them having come in without incident. It (or the gum around it, I suspect) got infected. So they gave me antibiotics, and made an appointment for me to get it out after the infection was gone. I showed up for them to take it out, and the oral surgeon started off by giving me 5 shots of novocaine. Then (without *really* waiting for it to kick in all the way), he started yanking. I immediately started shaking badly (I have this reaction to novocaine), so he had his assistant put his elbows on my shoulders from behind my chair to hold me down! He then proceded to pull out all FOUR wisdom teeth (I had thought it was just going to be the one), with such force that he almost knocked me off the chair, in less than 15 minutes. Then he gave me a prescription for ibuprofen, and sent me home. I walked about a mile home, and thought everything was hunky dory until, a couple hours later, the novocaine wore off. Then I was in a crazy amount of pain. I took the ibuprofen, but it didn't help at all, so I called my mom, sobbing. I didn't know how that was going to help, but in my sorry state I didn't know what else to do. She called the dentist's office, and I don't know what she said to them, but they gave me prescriptions for Valium, Vicodin, and Percoset. Which Meaux picked up for me on her way home from work. Then she and Bakemaster came over, and she gave me massages, and he made me delicious egg-drop soup. And then I decided he should probably be my boyfriend. I only needed the pain meds (and only the Vicodin, the Percoset and Valium left pretty much untouched) for a day or two, and then I was fine and could eat solid food.

My poor sister, on the other hand, had badly impacted wisdom teeth. They had to scrape away parts of her jawbone, and they put her completely under for surgery. She was in bed for two weeks, and her face swelled up so much that her skin actually split where her nose joins on to the rest of her face.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby MadParrot » Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:48 am UTC

Had my top ones out - waited for the local to wear off.... I didn't actually notice when it did :). Just as well, mum cooked steak for dinner :)
A few years later, I had the bottom ones out - again no probs, though the dentist and my mother made me take a couple of panadine. I went to work that afternoon.

Mine were taken out as soon as they could (were probably going impacted), would recommend it - I think after a bit they settle in.

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby LuNatic » Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:55 am UTC

Nyah nyah, my teeth are wiser than yours, THBBFT! :P

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby guyy » Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:23 am UTC

I had all four of mine pulled out at once, and somehow had no problems at all; no swelling, or infections, or any noticeable pain. Which is weird, since my body/brain usually overreacts to pretty much everything. I guess after all those years with my insane orthodontist, my mouth has decided to just ignore everything. Including four growing teeth suddenly vanishing and being replaced by gaping holes.

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Sungura » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:37 pm UTC

Teeth don't stop growing until they hit something that stops them - namely, their pair. So if both lowers are growing out and both tops are grown down, the tops will cut into your lower gums and the lowers into your cheeks at some point. That's why you take them all out.

It's not bad at all, I had all of mine out (I was actually the same, top came down, bottoms went out). I went to an oral surgeon, and they put me totally out for it. I didn't have any pain until the next morning, which is the first time I tried taking the vicodin. That was the only time I got sick and felt horrible. It didn't sit with me. My stomach rejected it back out my mouth, I took some Tylonol instead, had a milkshake, and was good!

Definitely use a oral surgeon though, not your normal dentist. Oral surgeons know where the nerves are, the face structure, etc, and *most* of the horror stories I have heard have come from people who just used a normal dentist.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby JGefell » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:48 pm UTC

My lower two were coming in orthogonal to the plane of my jaw, which meant they needed to come out. I had it done when I was a senior in high school, and had no problems at all. I was even up and going about my business that evening. Nobody I know, nor anybody I've heard of has ever had any problems with having their teeth removed, save a bit of grogginess and aftereffects of the Nitrous. I was knocked out for it, so I don't remember anything about during the surgery.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby EvilDuckie » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:24 pm UTC

My top ones were yanked out by my own dentist, relatively quickly. But the 2 bottom ones were impacted and rotten and had to be taken out in hospital through the process of drilling them to pieces. First one, then 2 weeks later the other. However, due to the drilling and blood and everything I got antibiotics to prevent any infection, which in turn gave me the runs. This happened when I was on the road, around 4 days after the first procedure, and the only phone number I had with me was of my own GP. So I phoned him, explained the matter and he said that if I hadn't had any infection by then, I might as well stop the antibiotics. So 2 weeks later when I'm coming in to hospital to get the last one done and I tell this whole story to the surgeon, who gets huffy and says I should have checked with him. Anyway, he gives me the anesthetic shots and I sit down on the operating table. After a suspiciously short amount of time he tells me to lie down, grabs a pair of spanners, puts them on the remaining wisdom tooth and "checks whether it's loosened up already"... Well... it wasn't... and the anesthetic wasn't working either...

But don't let that scare you 8)
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Plasma Man » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:28 pm UTC

I had to have my top rear pair extracted in order to have a brace (or retainer, if you speak Americanese) fitted. I had no problems whatsoever, thanks to the local anaesthetic I merely felt a pull that wasn't painful, heard a cracking crunch and the tooth was out. My mouth was tender there for a few days, but I was able to eat pretty much as normal straight away.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:31 pm UTC

PictureSarah wrote:Then he gave me a prescription for ibuprofen, and sent me home. I walked about a mile home, and thought everything was hunky dory until, a couple hours later, the novocaine wore off.

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby pseudoidiot » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:47 pm UTC

If I'd tried walking home after having mine removed (I was put under), I would've wandered around and gotten lost. Apparently between the time I woke up in the chair and arriving at home (my wife drove) I asked some question 2 or 3 times. I still don't remember the drive home.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Squid Tamer » Wed May 05, 2010 3:13 am UTC

I had four teeth removed from the frontish-middle of my mouth (The first pairs of molars, I guess) years ago due to various reasons that I can't recall. It had something to do with braces. The braces then closed up the holes.

They said that I might not need my wisdom teeth taken out... The wisdom teeth are more or less in the same position as where the last proper molar should be. I'm hopeful, but doubtful.

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby modularblues » Thu May 06, 2010 7:41 am UTC

I had one taken out because it was growing horizontally and gathering germs. A second one is peeking out and seems to be straight, but has not grown to full size tooth. I'd like the other two to stay in... which means my wisdom shall always be internal. :P

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Thu May 06, 2010 7:47 am UTC

I have both the top ones, and the bottom ones are coming up.

The denist took my second molars out at the top to let them come through (they were growing under it and crushing the nerves in my jaw rather than expelling my molar) overall Iv'e made a net gain of about 1/4 of a molar each side from this.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby You, sir, name? » Thu May 06, 2010 10:30 am UTC

My dentist offered to pull them as routine, but as I've already pulled a couple of teeth that weren't coming in straight and causing a train wreck in my mouth, I felt I had pulled plenty of teeth for a lifetime and thus declined the dentist's offer of pain and agony.

Plasma Man wrote:I had to have my top rear pair extracted in order to have a brace (or retainer, if you speak Americanese) fitted. I had no problems whatsoever, thanks to the local anaesthetic I merely felt a pull that wasn't painful, heard a cracking crunch and the tooth was out. My mouth was tender there for a few days, but I was able to eat pretty much as normal straight away.


My tooth removal experience, with anesthetic, was more akin to attempting to kill a family of angry burning ferrets with a sledgehammer... in my mouth.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Aardvarki » Thu May 06, 2010 1:23 pm UTC

pseudoidiot wrote:If I'd tried walking home after having mine removed (I was put under), I would've wandered around and gotten lost. Apparently between the time I woke up in the chair and arriving at home (my wife drove) I asked some question 2 or 3 times. I still don't remember the drive home.

I was also put under for mine. The doctor gave me the nitrous mask and asked me to count backwards from ten. I made it to seven and then woke up in my comfy recliner at home. Apparently I had walked to the car and been driven home, walked to my chair and sat down and fell asleep - I remember none of this. They gave me percocet for the pain (I really only needed three or four pills but I took all 30 over the next week or two, they're fun!)
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Liminality » Thu May 06, 2010 1:56 pm UTC

Man, I haven't been to the dentist since I turned 18. It's really expensive here. I know I ought to do it, but... x( I simply can't afford it. I don't even know the state of my wisdom teeth because of it.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Cathode Ray Sunshine » Thu May 06, 2010 2:06 pm UTC

Cammy wrote:I say it depends on the size of jaw you have. I have a tiny jaw and waited nearly fours years after I had a dental surgeon told me they were impacted to take them out. I was in pain all the time and ran a higher risk of nerve damage, being told there was a possibility of needing my jaw broken to get them out even. I was lucky and simply had a longer healing time. If you have a larger jaw set though, you might be okay.


This is my case. I had extra space for my wisdom teeth and they came out just fine. I think it started when I was 15. My dentist told me that he "suggests" I take them out. I don't remember the reasons, as I started having an inner monologue with myself when he said that, something like "what? why should I take them out? are you crazy? no way in hell I'm doing that".

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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby EdgarJPublius » Thu May 06, 2010 2:38 pm UTC

I don't go to the dentist very often, so when I did go a few years back, he recommended I get a full x-ray. Turns out, my Wisdom teeth were fine, except for the massive cysts developing under the lower set, encroaching on the main nerve and threatening to basically crack my jaw. A situation which clearly required urgent surgery.

This is basically illustrative of most of my medical history, I could never have 'normal' health problems, they always have to be complicated in some way.
As another example, I've never broken an arm or leg, but I did get smashed int he face with a fastball while playing little league baseball (seriously, this kid was monster pitcher, if he's kept up his arm at all, he'll definitely go far in the major leagues), during labor day weekend no less so it took all the parents at the game to call every dentist they knew to find an oral surgeon who hadn't gone fishing or something.

Luckily, one was found, and he was able to put all the piece of my upper jaw back where they belonged.

Years later, the same oral surgeon (having secured himself as a firm family friend from that point on) was able to remove my wisdom teeth and cysts.

I don't remember much after that, I went under for the surgery (the cysts were too close to the nerve to be removed otherwise) and woke up apparently the next day with a milk-shake already in hand.
Since they had to put me under anyways, I went ahead and had the upper teeth removed as well.

I wasn't supposed to eat solid foods for a few weeks, because the cysts had severely compromised the structural integrity of my jaw, but there was no pain after I woke up, I still have the half-bottle of hydrocodone they gave me for the pain.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Moo » Thu May 06, 2010 2:56 pm UTC

I had my bottom molars removed in my early teens to make some room in my bottom jaw; the wisdoms grew in there nicely. However then the top ones didn't bite onto anything and as Snugura described, started nomming on my bottom gums. So I had them taken out last year.

I wanted aneasthesia because I'm so not big on the pain thing, nor the being aware while someone removes parts of my body bit, but my dentist was awesome and I trust him completely and when he said it's less traumatic and you heal quicker having it done with local in the chair, I went with it. He numbed me up and started prodding a bit. I was still trying to psych myself up for what he was going to do when he's done presumable feeling around and devising a strategy to torture me when he was all "ok we're done".

Went as close to awesome as I think anything like that could.

A previous dentist told me to have them out some time anyway because they're harder to clean, being tucked away like that, and they often get rotten and then it's one hell of a job to pull them, so I'm glad I did. Looking at the teeth that were removed, even though the dentist described them as in pretty good condition, you could see which side faced my cheeks, there was a lot more discoloration and ickyness there.

Healed ok with some arnica, only drank pain pills the first two days and ate solid food a week later.
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Visk
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Visk » Thu May 06, 2010 3:08 pm UTC

In my senior year of high school, I noticed most of the students around me reciting their legendary tales of wisdom tooth removal. While finishing up one of my many dentist appointments (I've had orthodontia since I was 7 so I'm very familiar with my dentists and orthodontists), I asked about if I'll need mine out soon. They looked at each other quizzically (the dentist and his assistant), grabbed my X-rays, looked at with great in intensity and said "Oh... it looks like you don't have any." I inquired as to how this could be and they replied: "I guess you're more evolved than most people."

So... I guess I'm homo sapien non dentana sapientia or something. I can only wonder if there are others born without their vestigial accessories.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby SecondTalon » Thu May 06, 2010 4:50 pm UTC

Yes.
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Re: Wisdom teeth

Postby Insignificant Deifaction » Thu May 06, 2010 7:46 pm UTC

Had four loverly [sic] impacted wisdom teeth.

Had to wait an absurdly long time past the appointed time for the actual operation (something like appointment at 14:00, operation at 16:30), having already had an eye exam just before (and thus having to wear that thing that minimizes light), the intent being I could get over that whilst zonked by the surgeon. That went well, obviously :roll: ,

So I go in there, sit down, and he says "Well, you're in luck. I use the techniques the kids love anyway." By which he means easy anaesthesia, dissolving stitches, etc. Still kind-of a dick move, but he meant well and was a good surgeon. Woke up about three times extremely groggily, once during surgery (near the end, they said), twice on the couch they put me on to wait. Then I was woken up and half-walked half-dragged to the vehicle, tears streaming down my face due to the anaesthesia's side-effects, and shovelled into the back seat, where I slept some more. I stumbled out of the car on the way into chez notre and wound up flat on my face - didn't hurt. About half past that I was finally awake vaguely, and started to become really irritated that I couldn't feel my face (he'd added novocaine or something to that effect at the tail end of surgery), and had a minor freak out. It wore off just before I had to go to sleep, at which point an incredibly dull ache began. Took one of the pills anyway to be on the safe side and slept it off. Next morning I felt fresh as a daisy for the most part, just the annoying stitches.

Sum damage to my person: Nada. You can't even tell I'd ever had them removed (no scars or depressions or anything).
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