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Wisdom Teeth Removal And Pain

Updated on December 20, 2010

As a child, I often heard stories about wisdom teeth; most of them revolved around how badly they hurt. It seemed like everyone had the same story to tell; either their wisdom teeth came in and had to be removed due to problems, or they were impacted and had to be removed due to other problems. In both cases pain seemed to be a very popular descriptive. Therefore, by the time I'd gotten my braces, I was fully terrified of eventually getting my wisdom teeth. Of course, much of that fear stemmed from the oral agony I'd already gone through. You see, thanks to having rather a small mouth and quite wonky teeth, I'd had several teeth pulled prior to getting a highly torturous rapid palatal expander -- all to make room for the shifting that would occur once I'd gotten my braces -- which was supposed to be done in a way that would make room for my wisdom teeth. The good news? All of those contraptions worked, and my wisdom teeth came in without problem. In fact, I never even felt them come in. Seriously! I didn't even know they were in, until a dental visit when I was 23.

Perfect Wisdom Teeth Can Still Get Cavities

My wisdom teeth had come in exactly as they were supposed to. There was no pain, no issues, no problems whatsoever. Until I went in for a checkup and found out that 30% of my top right wisdom tooth was gone due to a cavity. I'd never even felt it! They filled the cavity and sent me home. A month or so later it started to hurt and I went back. They told me it was getting worse. I decided to get a second opinion elsewhere and the dentist told me the same exact thing.

Filling vs Extraction

Each filling was costing me about $200 and the second dentist mentioned that extraction would only be $60. Normally I wouldn't have considered the extraction at all, but the reason I kept getting cavities in that tooth was because it was so close to the back of my mouth that I couldn't get at it to clean it properly. I started to worry that this would happen to my other wisdom teeth as well, leading to lots of pain and lots of money. The X-Ray showed that they were perfectly straight with no problems, so I decided to just go on and have them all extracted.

Anesthesia: Local vs General

Most people talk about being put under when they have their wisdom teeth removed. I'm not a fan of full-on anesthesia for many reasons, so I insisted on using only Novocaine. I also decided to have them all out at once.

How Badly Does Wisdom Tooth Extraction Hurt?

I'm not going to lie. It hurt pretty badly -- but, to be honest, I think the regular teeth I had pulled as a child hurt far, far more than having my wisdom teeth removed. I had loads of Novocaine, but Novocaine doesn't have a super strong effect on me and I could always feel a bit of something as he worked. But if you are having this done and you start to feel pain, don't be afraid to ask for more Novocaine -- they don't want you in agony, but neither can they read your mind. If it hurts, get more of whatever you're getting.

Male vs Female Dentist

Tooth pulling under normal circumstances (ie, without the need for surgery/cutting, etc) is 100% brute strength. Therefore, I'd not advise you have a woman do this, unless she's been born and bred on the farm, if you know what I mean. Sorry to sound sexist, but it's a scientific fact that men have different upper body strength than women, and when it comes to something like this, you want to be sure your dentist has the physical power to get it over with as quickly as possible.

How Long Does Wisdom Tooth Extraction Take?

It's been almost 10 years now, so I can't recall exactly. I know it took at least an hour, though, and some of that may have been due to me constantly begging for breaks. I'd guess it took 1.5 hours in all, but again, I can't recall. It wasn't fast, but it certainly wasn't an all day thing, either.

Other Things to Consider

Wear something that can be replaced, because there will be a lot of blood. I could not believe how much blood was all over my little bib thing when it was done. I went though several of them. I didn't get blood on anything, but I can recall thinking how ruined something would be if it had! Also be aware that your mouth is going to hurt just from being pried open for so long. And your jaw, that's gonna ache too.

When It's Done

  • Painkillers -- They gave me Vicodin, but I didn't use it; I used Advil (ibuprofen) for the next two days and I have to say that the pain was very minimal. I get worse pain during my period, if you really care to know. So if you have apprehensions about controlled substances, you can probably get by with regular NSAIDs. I believe I was taking 600mg every 6 hours -- which is the maximum "safe" daily dosage.

  • Eating -- Those teeth were way in the back, so eating wasn't a big problem for me. be careful and you should be fine.

  • No Sucking -- This means no straws, no smoking, no thumbsucking and no whatever else you can think of. Sucking can pull the blood clot loose, and that's not something you want to happen.

  • Salt Water and Ice -- If you have pain or swelling you can rinse your mouth with salt water or use an ice pack on your cheek.

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