Wisdom Teeth

In honor of Josephine Angelini, who had her wisdom teeth out yesterday, I thought I’d share my own wisdom teeth story, in hopes that I’d get some stories back from you. (I’m in bed with a cold, so am in sore need of entertainment. We’ll do a trade: I try to entertain you if you entertain me back.)

I was 15 and in high school in Birmingham, Alabama. All 4 of my wisdom teeth were impacted (hadn’t broken through the skin), so they couldn’t just be pulled. They had to be dug out. (I know…EWWWW!) Which meant I had to be put under.

When I was told I would be given an IV with drugs, I freaked. I had a needle phobia that was so exaggerated that I used to pass out if I even saw a shot coming toward me. So I convinced the dentist to give me laughing gas before he inserted the IV into my hand.

Things were going fine until I was just about to go under, when all of a sudden I had this kind of waking nightmare that was so clear and realistic that I was in a state of horror as I went unconscious. I “dreamed” that the dentist couldn’t figure out which tooth to pull, so he pulled ALL OF THEM. I could even feel it. My mouth was empty except for one tooth, and the dentist was yanking it out.

I woke up in a little room with my mom sitting next to me, saying, “Honey, I think we can talk about that later.” Whatever drug I had been given was acting on me like a truth serum, and I had been telling my mom all of my secrets: for example the R-rated movie I had gone to with a boy on a car date. (It was “Cheech and Chong” with Bo Kirkpatrick, and I had claimed he was taking me to “Chariots of Fire”.)

After that, for some reason, I decided I needed to get out of there and began trying to trick my mother to leave the room and get me water so that I could try to escape. Twice.

Flash forward to three days later. Something gross had happened to my teeth (a condition called “dry sockets”, which, by the way, I think would be the perfect name for a death metal band, as long as you write it in lightening letters and use an umlaut above the “o”), which caused me considerable pain. My mother, a sensitive soul, couldn’t stand to see her baby hurting and, along with the antibiotics, kept me completely stoned on pain pills for the entire week.

During that time, my friend William, who I was completely in love with even he was obviously gay, got his driver’s license and came to take me for a ride in his new convertible. We drove around Birmingham with our friend Alison behind me, pinning me by the shoulders to the passenger seat because I was convinced that I was going to fly out of the car and up into the air.

So that is my wisdom teeth story. Now I want to hear yours.

11 Comments to Wisdom Teeth

  1. by Karis (YA Litwit) - On September 20, 2011

    I also had impacted wisdom teeth. About a week before my 21st birthday I strayed tasting this foul taste in the back of my mouth and I started noticing a growing lump under my right ear. Turns out one of my wisdom teeth was infected and the infection was draining into the gland below my ear. (Super gross, I know.) So two days before my 21sr birthday, and the day before I was supposed to leave on Phish tour, I had my wisdom teeth dug out (sans anesthesia, novacaine and gas only). I spent my 21st and the 1st 4 Phish shows of the tour totally stoned on Vicodin and didn’t even get to usher in that milestone birthday with booze…

  2. by Kristina Ebert - On September 20, 2011

    Lol wow my story isn’t any better in the wise teeth removal.

    I had all 4 of my teeth that needed to come out and I had to have them removed before school ended and I was off my parents insurance. I had 2 breaks to choose from thanksgiving break or Christmas break, I choose thanksgiving break.
    My husband (boyfriend at the time) took me to get my teeth out, I also had to be put under, 2 of them hadn’t broken the surface yet. When I came out they gave me a coupon for a shake at McDonalds. We stopped in there and I had to use the bathroom so I got out of the car with his jacket on. In the pocket was his portable playstation thing, it was too heavy and I was in the process of taking it out and chucking it, but he caught me before I could throw in on the cement. I don’t remember anything after that, I don’t remember going into the bathroom, coming out or the drive home.
    When we got to my house (still living with the parents) we went downstairs into my sisters room, not sure why I didn’t go upstairs to my room. Since I was so out of it, my mom was feeding me the ice cream and than she passed it off to my husband and I was giving him evil glares, he was not my mom and he couldn’t feed me right. When your not feeling well only your mom can take care of you.
    I was doing fairly well the next day and I tried to eat a little of the Thanksgiving food, who doesn’t want to try to eat some of that food. Well it was a huge mistake and I ended up loosing 2 dry sockets and I became so miserable. I tried to tough it out with oxicodone , but that made me so sick. I was having to debate go to the bathroom and throw up or just hold it (that stuff made me so sick if I tried to walk around). So I would choose to go to the bathroom and on the way there I would throw up. I gave up the stuff and choose to be in a lot of pain. Also not to mention since it was a holiday weekend the doctors office was closed so I had to wait until Monday. Life sucked for 2 days. I ran out of prescription Tylenol (which sorta helped without making me sick) and I lived on an ice pack.
    When Monday came around and I was finally able to go to the doctors office and they cleaned out the socket and put this numbing stuff I was so happy. It finally didn’t hurt right away. On the bad side they put this flavor on the little gauze strip that tasted like cloves (? I think, is that the little spice that will be stuck into ham). It was gross and that is all I could taste in my mouth for the next 3 or so days, but it was better than being in pain that is for sure.

    I had a miserable wise teeth removal, not fun at all. That is my fun story. Now my husband is nervous about me having kids and having to deal with me. oops, I couldn’t help how I acted I was drugged up.

  3. by se7en - On September 21, 2011

    Hay you! So glad to have found you on twitter and I am so sorry about your streaming cold… really sorry!!!
    Wisdom teeth Asked and Answered:
    Second year at Varsity was a great year socially and I had these niggling wisdom teeth. Exam week was looming and I booked to have them out the week before – full anesthetic the whole thing… And ten days off studies with a doctor’s certificate… Awesome planning!!!
    Track back: six months and my best friend had her wisdom teeth out in the chair under local anesthetic and came over for a night of movies to recover (how bad could it be!!!), well she watched half a movie and passed right out in agony… I knew I needed to be totally knocked out.
    Complete dentist phobia here, wouldn’t even open my mouth for the X-rays… So the day dawned and I caught the train into the city, but protocol was to have someone collect you… So I asked my mom- of course, who else!!! She came to collect me a couple of hours later and me being me… so terrified of anything medical (I even had all my kids at home because of my unnatural fear of anything medical)… and this was in a good cause I would get to study a little longer for my postponed exams. Leapt up as fast as I could to get out of there…

    And staggered across the city, while my mother cowered along beside me, well twenty feet away, she was so very embarrassed of my staggering gate and the words floating from me… everything was floating really!!! How I got across six lanes of highway to the car I have no idea!!! She was convinced people would think I was on “something” … HELLO I was, thanks for the help mom!!!

    So I got home and had a well earned nap and readied myself for the pain to set in… it didn’t. I had a bottle of bright red tablets waiting for the pain. The anesthetic wore off, my mouth felt only about 800 times it’s usual size… but that wore off too. I waited for an inkling of pain before I took the painkillers I had been given… I had no pain. No pain, none!!! I was more than 100 percent well. Who knows maybe those teeth are still in there!!!

    Needless to say I was back in class the next day and scraped through my exams with the most appalling grades on this earth… but a scrape is a scrape and life goes on…

  4. by Dani B - On September 21, 2011

    I was 19, and not only did I have a mild dentist phobia (that valium 60 minutes before my appointments took care of), I had four impacted wisdom teeth and another three vestigial fragments that the surgeon was convinced might turn into teeth. As my parents had just finished paying nearly $4000 (their share of the insurance co-pay!) for my orthodontics, it seemed like a great idea to have every last suspicious bit of tooth, not-tooth and potential tooth yanked out of my mouth.
    I was insisting on full anaesthesia, my parents were balking at the cost, and then a helpful receptionist confirmed that the anaesthesia was covered (and I will name my first child Julie after her, I swear).
    I don’t remember being too nervous on the day of, but that might be the extra valium I snuck before my mom gave me a valium with my breakfast. The recovery area is what I will never (be allowed to) forget, ever. A rectangular room with doctory type benches around the perimeter, with chairs for the waiting parents and cheerleaders facing each curtained off bench. A very cute young man was brought to the recovery bench next to mine, and my mother spent the next quarter hour or so interfering in my plans to make him fall in love with me by being the first thing he saw when he woke up. After having those plans foiled (much to the amusement of cute boy’s mother!) I was bored and tried to strike up some conversation, but owing to the wads of gauze and my still frozen mouth I was less than intelligible. Enter a notepad whose dimensions I was apparently unable to understand in my drugged up state, and a pen whose cap I never managed to even take off. I wrote extensive notes to my mother about the cuteness of the boy, how now would be the PERFECT time for me to get my tongue pierced since my mouth was already banged up AND frozen, how it didn’t hurt even one tiny bit…
    Then I went home, slept for eighteen hours straight, and woke up with one of the most terrible hangovers I’ve had the privelege of experiencing.

  5. by Sami L - On September 22, 2011

    I was 17 years old when I got mine removed, and I’ve got a pretty interesting story! And I swear this is all true, I’ve told this story dozens of times. :)

    Went to the dentist for a normal check up, and he told me he was going to X-Ray my mouth to check on my wisdom teeth. After he took it, he came back about 10 minutes later with the negatives, set them out in front of me and said:

    “Well, Sami, it looks like you have five wisdom teeth.”

    My mouth immediately flew open. I knew that wasn’t normal. My cousin had had his out a couple years before me and he said we only had four. Five was one too many.

    I asked my dentist jokingly if I was going to die, and he said no. Apparently, a small wisdom tooth the size of a pea had formed inside my cheekbone, above my mouth (he said that if I touched the area between my the right corner of my nose and lip, I would be touching right above where it was).

    He also informed me that the four normal wisdom teeth were impacted (they were actually growing sideways, pushing into my straight rows of teeth), so they were all going to have to come out. When I asked about the fifth rebel tooth, he said that they would only take it out of it started growing in my face. I left the dentist office nervous, but with an interesting story to tell.

    About a week later I had to go see my oral surgeon and get some more X-Rays done. After I got the X-Rays, my oral surgeon came in, and I saw immediately that he was a young, very attractive man. I was 17, and I was still going through my “awkward” phase, so I was really nervous that this guy was going to be cutting my mouth open. I couldn’t even look him in the eye.

    He showed me a really boring video on wisdom teeth, and I spend that time trying to decide whether or not his hair was dirty blond or that caramel color. After the video and asking me if I had any questions, to which I responded no, he pulled out a bigger, more detailed X-Ray of my mouth.

    He said: “You can see your fifth wisdom tooth right there, but if you look at your top right tooth, you can see it’s kind of malformed.”

    I inspected the tooth and found that he was right. It was lumpy and bigger than the rest.

    My mom, who was with me the entire time, asked what that meant.

    My oral surgeon replied: “Well, from the X-Ray, it looks like she actually has a wisdom tooth growing from that other wisdom tooth.”

    As soon as he said that, I blurted: “So…you’re telling me that I have SIX wisdom teeth, not five?”

    He said: “That’s what it looks like.”

    So I left that oral surgeon even more nervous and with another story to tell.

    The day of my surgery, I was really nervous. Dentists and me don’t get along, so I was trying to enjoy the car ride from my little backwoods nowhere home to the downtown city. My mom and I turned on the radio and sang with it until we got there. The song that was playing when we pulled into the parking lot was “Werewolves of London” By Warren Zevan, and I can’t here that song without thinking of my wisdom teeth anymore.

    When I got there, the wait was incredibly awful, and my only company was a little kid who was playing his Nintendo game really loudly, and a super cute boy I swore must have been it college. He was really fidgety and nervous, so I knew he was probably getting his teeth out that day too.

    Eventually, they pulled me back there and set me down on a huge reclining, yet comfortable, dentist chair. My mom was in there with me (she didn’t want to leave me alone until I was out from the medicine). I swear, the nurse had me count down from 10, and I got to 8. I’ve had a few surgeries, and I’ve never had it be so quick!

    When I woke up, they told me that it was time for me to go. Apparently, though, I decided that I didn’t need my legs to walk, so I couldn’t even stand up. It took three nurses and my mom to walk me out of the operation room. We turned the corner, and there was a huge mirror there. I saw my mouth, and it was full of cotton. Apparently, I had waved at the mirror, and afterwords wrote down on a piece of paper that I had seen my deceased father in it and he was waving at me.

    When I got home, I slept for a while, and then my mom told me it was time to change my gauze. I didn’t think much of it, but when she led me into the bathroom and pulled it out, blood went everywhere. When I saw myself in the mirror, it look like a scene straight from Friday the 13th, and I started screaming. My mom had to shove the gauze in my mouth and lay me on the couch.

    After the first day with pain medicine, I spent the whole time crying about the stupidest things. I was apologizing to everyone and telling them that I never meant to hurt them, even though I’d done nothing. I cried more and more around my good friends who came to see me and told them I was a horrible person, which they promptly denied.

    The next day, I told my mom I hated the pain medication and the way it made me cry, so I was going to stop taking it. She told me that wasn’t a good idea, but I didn’t listen to her and decided not to take it.

    I spent the next week in bed, crying (both with and without medicine) and I told my mom that I was glad that all my wisdom teeth were gone so that I would never have to do it again.

    And she said: “Don’t forget, you’ve still got that one in your face.”

    I still have that wisdom tooth today, and it isn’t growing, so I probably will have it always. :)

  6. by Sarah - On September 22, 2011

    When I was the tender age of 17, my dentist came up with an ingenious plan. To enable my wisdom teeth to come through, and cause me no pain whatsoever, he was going to take out all four of the teeth NEXT to them, thereby giving my lucky wisdom teeth to come through, and display all of their wisdom. Personally, I felt sorry for the teeth next to them – they didn’t have such cool names, and nobody gave a second thought before sacrificing them…

    My dentist explained to me that to have this done under general anaesthetic, I needed to go into hospital, so they would perform it under a local anaesthetic. After explaining to him that this would only happen over my dead, rotting corpse, he then said that he would give me a valium shot strong enough that I would probably actually SLEEP through the procedure.

    So, I had the eight (yes, EIGHT) local anaesthetics in my gums to numb the whole area, and went down to the waiting room for them to take effect. It was then that I felt sure that I looked like a St. Bernard dog, complete with huge drooling spittles. So I sat with my head in my hands until my mother accompanied me back up to the dentist’s room.

    The next few – hours – are a little blurry. I remember the valium injection. I remember the dentist turning to my mother and saying, “She won’t remember any of this.” And then I remember the drive home from the dentist.

    Sitting in the passenger seat, I was overcome with a sudden panic as we left the car park, and urged my mother to turn around and go back, as I had left my Walkman (Yes, yes, I’m THAT old! in the dentist’s room. My mother sniggered at me, and told me to look down at my lap. There sat my Walkman.
    According to my mother, I repeated the same instruction to turn around ad go back to the dentist, as I had forgotten my Walkman THREE times on the fifteen minute journey home.

    The shot of valium I received was, apparently, enough to give an elephant the memory of a goldfish. It also turned out that it was enough to give me the mouth of a truck driver. The dentist informed my mother on a subsequent trip that the language I used, mid-procedure, had scarred him for life. He would say no more! I had thought I was asleep the whole time, but it was fun to speculate on what exactly I had said to my poor dentist!

  7. by amy - On September 23, 2011

    I have to say one thing. We have ALL remembered our experiences EXTREMELY vividly!

    Karis – stoned at a Phish concert? You must have felt out of place! ;) I hope you had a glass of something to celebrate once you got back to normal!

    Kristina – oh OUCH!!! I think I would have gone to the emergency room instead of waiting! (Although they probably don’t have dentists at the E.R., so strike that.) And that’s so funny about his gameboy being too heavy so you were going to throw it out.

    Se7en – HI!!! I can just see your mom worrying about what people thought. What a wonderful character to use in a story, but probably not so wonderful to have tagging along behind you as you’re staggering through traffic!

    Dani – that is hilarious! That would have been so awesome if the boy had fallen for you because you were the first thing he saw when he woke up. And I can just see you staggering into a piercing studio saying, “Quick! Do my tongue before my anesthesia wears off!” Reason pretty much goes out the window with whatever knock-out drug they give!

    Sami – what a story! And WHY OH WHY does it always have to be a cute doctor when you’re looking your least flattering? (Or have mutant teeth?) My dentist told me I had mutant teeth last year. She kept finding more roots on this one tooth, and saying, “Oh look – there’s another one!” Nice to feel like a freak. ;)

    Sarah – “Didn’t have such cool names” – ha! And taking all 8 teeth out? HOLY COW!!! Poor you. I would have cursed at him too – you were just too polite to do it while you were conscious!

  8. by Dahlia Mikola - On April 20, 2012

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