Monday, September 23, 2013

Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Out is Awkward

So we've established that I can't make appointments and attend them without awkwardness ensuing. I can barely go to the grocery store without being sexually harassed (just today, a creepy man at the store asked if I wanted a kiss, and I said no thank you, and then he showed me a basket of Hershey Kisses, so I said never mind, yes I'd like one, and he said "of course you changed your mind.")

On Friday, I had my wisdom teeth taken out. The entire ordeal started when I was about 17 years old and my orthodontist told me I should get them out while I was still on my parents' insurance. Of course I relayed the message to them, like an idiot, and they assured me it could wait. I'm not much for pain or blood or surgery, so I agreed with them. Eight years later I have four erupted wisdom teeth that cause me to bite the inside of my cheek at every meal, a dentist scare tactic-ing me into getting them out ASAP, and my own insurance plan (and either my insurance sucks or wisdom teeth removal is the most expensive thing in the world). $700 and four teeth later, and I'm sitting here eating a milkshake with a spoon, telling you all about my travails.

Everyone has a wisdom teeth removal story. Someone told me he got through the entire ordeal with laughing gas and 16 shots of Novocaine to the gums. Another person warned me about the bloody drool that was in my future. Someone else regaled me with tales of her dry socket, comparing the ensuing mouth discharge to "raw meat." At first I pictured ground beef, the really bloody kind, but now I'm thinking she might have meant raw chicken. I'll have to get back to her on that. Anyway, as you can see, I was terrified.

Image via Wikipedia
Ahhhh no way in hell is this happening to me!

When the dental hygenist called me back to the room, I beckoned Chris to come back with me. I was hoping he'd be able to stay in the room during the procedure so I wouldn't, you know, wake up pregnant or something. They got all weird (red flag?) and said he could only stay until the doctor came in, which they insinuated would be in about 5 minutes. So I put my big girl pants on and went back alone. They laid me down on the chair and hooked me up to a machine to monitor my heart rate, which I could see was very high. Basically the whole point of this machine was to keep you from hiding what a nervous wussbag you are.

I sat there alone hooked up to this machine for about 15 minutes listening to light rock and the beep of my overexerted heart. Finally the nurse came back in with what looked like a Bane mask and began administering laughing gas. If I'd known there would be laughing gas involved, I wouldn't have been so nervous. I've heard that stuff is off the chain. I was basically like "come to papa" as she affixed the mask to my nose and I breathed in deeply, as I imagine one would breathe when huffing paint.

Image via Wikipedia
I probably looked so cool with this on.

The nurse left the room and I kept inhaling the wonderful, beautiful gas, feeling lighter and lighter. I felt like I was drunk, but better, because it was calorie free and I knew I wouldn't wake up the next day with a hangover and $50 missing from my bank account. An Eagles song came on the Musak, and I started laughing. The Eagles! Hah! I thought to myself. Why would they play The Eagles when they're about to perform vicious surgery on me? Preposterous! The nurse was coming back in, so I stifled my laughter; I wanted to appear calm and collected.

Following just behind the nurse was the doctor, whom I had met at my consultation last month. The heart monitor went insane as I recognized his face, and suddenly The Eagles were no laughing matter. In fact, I couldn't hear The Eagles anymore. I'm pretty sure the music changed to something like Nine Inch Nails or whatever they play at haunted houses as soon as the doctor came in.

 Image via The Blade
Give us your teef...

The next thing I know, they're preparing my arm for a needle and the doctor is asking me to make a fist. I'm breathing heavily, my heart rate is off the charts (not literally), and I begin crying as if I've been abducted by aliens and they've chained me down to perform a very intimate probe.

"Breath slowly, in and out," the doctor said. "That's right...good. I know you're working really hard."

I remember thinking "Um, no I'm literally not working hard. I'm lying down in a chair under the influence of laughing gas and concentrating on my breathing. Trust me, I am capable of more strenuous work."

 Me crying

I continued to cry and the doctor, in an effort to take me to my happy place, asked me if I'd had any mint chocolate chip ice cream yet that day. I was confused, because he himself had told me I wasn't allowed to eat before surgery. If that was a lie, I was gonna be real pissed. I was also confused as to how he knew what my favorite ice cream flavor was. Had he been following me?

And then I fell asleep.

When I came to, I resumed crying for no reason. Chris took me home (but not before picking up a milkshake from Oscars for me). I went in and out of consciousness for the next several hours, occasionally being woken up to change my gauze or drool on myself. Every time I woke up, I thought of the milkshake and whether I was able to eat it yet. The answer was always no--I couldn't feel my tongue, I couldn't stay awake, or I couldn't stop bleeding. But by 3 pm, the siren song of the milkshake was enough to command a full recovery, and I've been slowly recovering ever since. I'm on my second milkshake now, and I think it's time to admit to myself that at this point, I'm only milk(shake)ing it for all its worth (like what I did there?).

Assuming I don't get dry socket/raw meat mouth in the next few days, I'm here to tell you that getting your wisdom teeth out is really not that bad. Anyone have funny wisdom teeth stories to share?


  1. When I woke up after getting mine taken out, I felt an intense desire to tell my mom how weird I felt (because I was still tripping on anesthesia, duh), but I couldn't talk. I proceeded to spell out in sign language "I feel weird." I'm pretty sure she laughed and looked at me like an idiot, but I was remember feeling soooo relieved that I got my point across. Then I slept for 4 hours.

    Also, getting your wisdom teeth out is a great diet. The first day, I ate half a Wendy's Frosty. The second day, I ate the other half and maybe some yogurt or applesauce. Of course, I gained all the weight back once I could eat solid food again, but at least your body will be rockin' while your mouth looks like raw meat!

  2. My sister and I both got our wisdom teeth out at the same time, and my dad thought it would be hilarious to take pictures of us when we were knocked out in the dentist's chair with cotton tubes stuck in our wisdom teeth holes like vampire fangs. Real attractive.

    I also thought I was fine to go back to work the next day. So I did. And that was a bad move. I had to call Matt to come pick me up so I could lay around icing my mouth like a miserable person some more.

  3. I only have top wisdom teeth (not sure what this says about my overall intelligence) and I was basically told I did not have to have them removed. My parents were too cheap to pay for the surgery, which is admittedly hella expensive, so I don't have a fun story. Somewhere I have some X-rays of my teeth though.

  4. My experience was more than horrible. Since I waited way too long, the roots grew through my jaw nerve (whatever. I'm not trying to be technical here)- so I went to the surgeon. No laughing gas. No being 'put under'. I got three 6-inch Novocaine needles and he attacked me with a chisel/hammer. If I had that laughing gas I would probably be envisioning some prehistoric cave dweller etching his story on the wall of his cave.

    Pain was horrible, I couldn't even take the Vicodin they finally gave me because half a pill made me feel nauseous.

    I hope this time around (I only got 1 taken out then) will be closer to yours.

  5. I fell asleep telling the dental surgeon and his staff about the nitrous trade at music festivals (they call it Hippie Crack) and how I'm the last Phish/Deadhead to try nitrous. When I told them how much a balloon goes for in the lot at shows, they were stunned.

    The best part: I woke up telling them about it, too. In my mind, no time had elapsed. Marc was sitting next to me enjoying my description of the Nitrous Mafia (a real thing) and parking lot drug deals at concerts.

    Recovery took a week because I didn't ween myself off the pain meds and the meds were actually making me sick. Once I stopped the meds, I felt so much better. No dry sockets. People had me soooo scared of dry sockets, but they weren't a problem for me.

  6. Ugh wisdom teeth removal is the absolute worst thing ever. I had a terrible experience.
    By the time I had mine taken out the roots had also grown into the nerve of my jaw (?) so I had to go into hospital to take it out. Ugh. The pain.
    When I got back to the hospital room after surgery, I just wanted to sleep for a bit, but the nurse kept forcing me to wake up and eat yogurt of all things. I ate it and couldn't keep it down.
    I got home, at a few bites of pizza (hardcore), and then slept for a looong time.
    The recovery was pretty bad for me, though. I had a lot of pain and eventually one side got re-infected... It was just not very pleasant. Ugh. So glad that's over and done with!

  7. I'm late to the party but I got mine out as an adult as well...I have never handled dental work well at all so my stepdad took me AND he had to hold me down while they knocked me out. It's funny now but I was a basketcase and ready to flee LOL. I'm pretty sure I was down and a few days after's a bit fuzzy after 10 years.


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