I finally got my wisdom teeth removed on Monday!! I was really lucky because I was able to go to the oral surgeon whom I had worked as an assistant with last year. I remember during those months I had learned a ton and had seen procedures ranging from a simple wisdom tooth extraction to hours of removing tumors from the face of a lifelong smoker.
Thankfully, based on my experience, the wisdom teeth extractions tend to be the most simple and straight-forward. So I called the office last week and had talked to the receptionist who informed me that they were booked until September. I was hoping to have my teeth removed the following week during my break…which I know was a long shot, since usually these appointments are booked a few weeks in advance or more. I decided to text Dr. K personally and see if he might have any availabilities. He said he could fit me in during the lunch break next week since it was just a simple wisdom tooth extraction. Ahh I was so thankful. Then at least I would have 2 weeks to recover 🙂
Come Monday I was sitting in the waiting room with my mother while feeling kind of nervous imagining all the tools we used to set up the surgical trays last summer…we had hemostats, syringes,…scalpels, a couple of blades…I tried not to
think about it. When Dr. K came in and brought us to one of the rooms, we talked about the decision to possibly remove my lower wisdom teeth as well. The risk with these ones was that when I had the CT scan taken a few years ago, it was evident that the roots were actually fused together and around the nerve rather than just appearing in front of it as what it appears in the flat/2D x-ray – a super rare and unfortunate case. So my two evils to choose from were:
- Remove the lower wisdom teeth – There is a higher risk for damaging the inferior alveolar nerve if the roots are removed. Worst case scenario with a damaged nerve is that I may lose sensation to all of my lower teeth or I could have random spasms of pain. If the roots are left in, and just the crown is removed, then there is a higher risk for infection of the roots and they may just rise up out of the gums and possibly damage the nerve in the process.
- Keep the lower wisdom teeth/do nothing – My lower wisdom teeth are not coming in straight, instead they are coming in at an angle…so I will/and do have pocketing between my wisdom tooth and second molar that it is pushing against, thus food particles and whatever can get stuck in an area that may be unreachable. This can cause cavities and…worst case scenario, if the cavity gets bad enough, may force me to have to extract my second molars.
So, I decided to stick to my previous decision and…do nothing. Or at least, think about it for a bit rather than just a few minutes before the procedure. I also remember, the first oral surgeon I had shadowed said his preference would be to leave the lower wisdom teeth be. I ended up just getting my uppers removed and the procedure went smoothly. I was put under IV sedation with fentanyl, propofol, and versed. Thinking about it now, I probably didn’t need to be since I was out for probably under 10 minutes. But oh my goodness, it was definitely an experience. I had the laughing gas first, which hit me in about 2 minutes and I guess it was pretty obvious because M, another girl I had worked with in the clinic, laughed as said she could hear my voice suddenly trail off! I do remember that, I heard Dr. K’s voice sound really far away and I guess I must have paused or something. It reminded me of times when I had nearly passed out after standing too long in the hot sun. It’s almost as if my mind and vision is pushed inwards and I’m just a bystander looking out through my head. It’s really weird. Anyways, it always amazes me how patients can still somehow tell how long they’ve been out. Their body goes limp, their eyes roll back, then they wake up 20 minutes later and say, “That was fast!” I definitely experienced that when I woke up.
Fortunately, I wasn’t too out of it. I’ve definitely seen people in the office (and on youtube) who are really just gone and need their family members as crutches to walk out of the
office. Maybe because I was only out for 10 minutes I could walk on my own? Anyways, the best part was that I could keep my teeth! I was looking forward to this now that I’m in dental school and have a greater appreciation for identifying teeth. Although we didn’t learn to ID third molars (because they have way too much variation to ID), we did learn the overall anatomy of third molars including how their roots are typically fused, as were mine. Which probably made the extraction process a lot easier.
It’s been a few days since the extraction and I haven’t had a lot of pain. In fact, since the procedure was so simple since they only removed my uppers that they didn’t even need to prescribe me Norco for the pain, instead they told me that over-the-counter pain killers would be good enough which I have been taking on and off since I have hardly any pain at all. Removing the upper wisdom teeth is usually a lot less traumatic than removing the lowers and mine were also already erupted, which made the process a lot easier aka no need for the blade.
The only thing I am terrified of is dry sockets. I remember patients coming in the office with immense pain in the socket of a recently extracted tooth because the blood clot either did not form or was washed away. This tends to be a problem with older people, smokers, and sometimes those who have their wisdom teeth removed. What kills me is that I can’t see inside the sockets because it’s way too far back in my mouth so I can’t tell if the blood clot is still there. I’m trying not to be such a worrywart but I totally am. Out of curiosity I decide to look up what a healing socket is supposed to look like. It’s pretty cool. It’s crazy how much of a difference there is between Day 1 and 3 vs Day 3 and 14.
Anyways I have another week to heal up before class starts up so hopefully everything will continue to go smoothly 🙂