I Got Some Teeth Yanked Out (part 1)

That was how he liked to have his teeth pulled out
He told us how he liked to feel it when it came out *

wisdom-teeth.jpg

I have perfect teeth. Let’s just get that out of the way. My visits to the dentist have always been uneventful and even sort of pleasant, as I quite enjoy the praise I typically receive. The worst dental procedure I’ve ever had to endure was the scraping off of some stubborn plaque.

But then one day, that all changed. Due to what I knew to be a cracked molar that was causing extreme pain (but what my dentists—yes, by this point I had a team of dentists, endodontists, and oral surgeons—couldn’t prove to be anything), I was advised to get my upper wisdom teeth pulled. It was the theory of my dental team that my painful molar was being squished, and pulling out the wisdom teeth would ease the pain of the tooth in question.

Now, this may not sound like a big deal to you, but they wanted to pull two whole teeth out of my skull. However, pain made me desperate. Yank ’em out, I said.

But I couldn’t decide on how. The oral surgeon said that the whole procedure would take about 5 minutes and that the teeth would just “pop” out. Roughly half of his patients opted for anesthesia, the other half made it through on a local. My theory on drugs is if they are being offered (preferably by a medical professional), take them. Still, I did feel kind of like a big fat baby for opting to be knocked out for 5 minutes.

I sought the advice of friends and family who had undergone this procedure. Like my doctor’s patients, the feelings on anesthesia were about half and half. But what finally convinced me was my friend Craig saying, “I was awake, and it didn’t hurt, but I heard it. You may not want to hear it.” No, sir, I did not.

I really wasn’t that nervous until I got into the room where two nurses began to attend to me. Oh, boy. Oh, God. Nervous. Panicky. Anxious. Terrified. Heart rate increasing, sweating, breathing difficulty. Oh, my God, how could I not anticipate how horrifying this was going to be???!! I know, I know I’d have been better off without the anesthesia, because it was that whole setup that freaked me out. Sitting in a dentist’s chair being prepped for surgery? LET ME OUT!

But, I told myself, the drugs will start soon. I will calm down and even feel good. I’d heard about this kind of conscious sedation. You’re awake and aware but in a dreamlike state where you see beautiful colors and don’t feel a thing. But . . . I was not in a dreamlike state. Where were the beautiful colors? I was feeling . . . something . . . YOW! There went a tooth. Man, I felt that! I’m not supposed to feel that, right? It didn’t exactly hurt, but I felt the pressure. And then, YANK! There goes the other one. Why wasn’t I out? Why was I aware of everything?

Shaking and pale, I went back to the little recovery room where I told my mom in a trembling voice everything that happened. “I won’t remember this, so you have to remember that I was AWAKE through the whole thing.” But I did remember. Another sign something was not right. Typically they give you fentynol and versed, but obviously, they didn’t give me enough. Later I found out that this isn’t that unusual. It can be tricky, especially with short procedures, to get the amount of drugs right.As you’ll read in my next post, the wisdom tooth extraction didn’t exactly help my painful tooth.

If you want to get your wisdom teeth pulled:
  • If you’re the nervous sort, like me, I’d strongly advise you to ask your dentist or doctor for a mild sedative to take before the procedure. That might be more effective than anesthesia.
  • It really does take only 5 minutes, and they really do pop out.
  • My experience was so scary mainly because I have panic disorder, and with no prior “bad” dental experiences, I was really unprepared. Don’t you be so nervous.

The bright side? You get Vicodin!

* Today’s lyrics are courtesy of the Crash Test Dummies.

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