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wisdom teeth

My dentist says I have a cavity on my wisdom tooth and I just have to have them taken out.

I only have top wisdom teeth - the bottom ones never came in for whatever reasons. Not wise enough, I guess. So this wisdom teeth thing has always been a shadow because with no bottom ones to crunch against, the top ones are descending... they've always been kind of slowly falling out of my face. so my last dentist, who's now retired, was constantly telling me that the gaps caused by their descent would definitely lead to cavities and they'd definitely have to be taken out but I blew him off.

new dentist took x-rays, said "this will hurt you soon", we should definitely take them out.

I have two choices. the most common option to get wisdom teeth removed is to get totally knocked out, wake up and they're gone. you have to go to an oral surgeon to get this done. it sounds expensive to me... my health care deductible is jaw-dropping, and I have a special savings account for it but if I blow all the money that means I go back to pouring money into it, every paycheck, it's awful.

option 2: since mine are just the top ones, she said she could just numb me and pull them out, but it means i'll be awake and feeling all the pressure of having teeth pulled, hear any crunching, it's not for the squeamish.

to add to this decision, my dear husband marc has always been by my side, throughout our marriage, telling me that having his wisdom teeth out was one of the worst things that's ever happened to him. he got dry sockets, whatever that means. he was traumatized.

so, hell.

I'm going to ignore this news for at least a week.

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( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 3rd, 2016 03:07 am (UTC)
I'd go the local route. The reason is A: you feel less awful afterwards, and as a consequence B: you can get cold packs on your poor cheeks more or less immediately -- like, take them to the dentist's so you can apply them the moment you get out -- and that greatly reduces post-surgery swelling and bruising. Which is, in the case of wisdom teeth, Quite Extensive.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 06:00 am (UTC)
If the most common option is general anesthesia, why do I not know anyone who has done it that way? I was awake for mine and I don't remember it being particularly horrible except for the massive amounts of blood afterward.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 06:20 pm (UTC)
I had general for having my three existing widsom teeth removed (they gave me a choice and I decided I didn't particularly want to participate in that). It was fine - minor swelling, but it happened on the Friday of college Spring Break and I was back in school on Monday.

On the other hand, I had a few teeth pulled with local anesthesia when they put my braces on (age 14, I think they were the frontmost molars) and that actually wasn't bad at all - they basically just wiggled them until they came out.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 07:38 am (UTC)
Get 'em yanked! Fewer teeth you'll have to floss.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 07:54 am (UTC)
Just from the other side, I got my wisdom teeth out and had zero problems. No pain, some swelling the first few days, but I never had to touch the vicodin the dentist rx'd for me. Quick, perfect recovery. Like you, I had a cavity on at least a couple of them—they never fully erupted and so that makes it harder to clean them properly, according to my dentist. So it's not ALWAYS a scary, awful, worst-time-of-your-life procedure. That said, they put me under, so I can't speak to the local versus general anesthesia aspect.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 09:01 am (UTC)
"the most common option to get wisdom teeth removed is to get totally knocked out"

So, this is actually untrue as stated. General anesthesia is sometimes used for wisdom tooth removal, but not often. What she probably meant to say is that the most common option is to go to an oral surgeon, who CAN offer you general anesthesia. I've had all my wisdom teeth removed at an oral surgeon, but in each case only took novocaine. They offered valium in addition to the novocaine, which I declined. It really isn't that bad at all. General anesthesia is dangerous and I really wouldn't recommend it, regardless of whether you see an oral surgeon or a dentist, unless you have a severe dental phobia.

The reason you can have it done at a dentist for the top teeth and not the bottom is because the bottom wisdom teeth lay very close to a nerve that runs along the jaw. An inexpert removal of the bottom wisdom teeth can permanently damage the nerve, leaving you with facial numbness.

I did have dry socket following my wisdom tooth removal, and was in a lot of pain, but having general versus local anesthesia doesn't affect that one way or another.

Edited at 2016-02-03 09:46 am (UTC)
Feb. 3rd, 2016 10:01 am (UTC)
Ick! Fully asleep!! It has to be the only way :( Put it off for a couple of months and save some money in that time so that it won't hurt as much to use the savings.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 11:37 am (UTC)
I had one pulled years ago. All I felt was a slight pressure and it was out. I think it's a total waste of money going the oral surgeon route.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 12:12 pm (UTC)
I've had wisdom teeth out just with local - much easier, much quicker recovery and only a little pain. Definitely go that route!
Feb. 3rd, 2016 12:39 pm (UTC)
I'll preface this by saying I have had 15 teeth pulled as well as jaw surgery.

Of these: 11 teeth were baby teeth with all their roots on that didn't come out on their own (the adult teeth were growing in behind them like shark teeth); they were done a few at a time with local anesthetic. The feeling of the gripping and pulling is weird, but not awful in the hands of a good dentist (it's a testament to how good mine was that he pulled 11 of my teeth before I turned 10, and when I got engaged, one of the people to introduce my fiance to was him.)

The 4 wisdom teeth were done under general anesthetic, and I think I'd probably opt for that again over having local -- front teeth are easier to pull out, they have less complex roots and are easier to reach. I'm not sure how pleasant it would be to have your mouth open *that wide* and feel everything going on. (Also: Do be sure that the path for the teeth are free and clear. My great-aunt's dentist tried to pull her wisdom teeth, without any anesthetic, and eventually gave up. They later found out the roots were hooked behind her jaw bone, and the only way to have succeeded in pulling them out would've been by breaking the jaw.) Recovery wasn't too bad; I went through a lot of gauze the first day, and ate a lot of frozen yoghurt and soup for about a week, but there wasn't all that much pain.

My first two thoughts upon coming out of jaw surgery were "I'm never doing this again" and "I would not wish this on my worst enemy". (This was after the wisdom teeth were pulled, so it's not that the wisdom teeth experience was simply better in comparison.)

I'd opt for the full shebang, and I wouldn't worry too much about the experience itself. (I can't commen ton the cost.)
Feb. 3rd, 2016 03:25 pm (UTC)
I had all four wisdom teeth out (not at the same time). I would never have anesthesia unless it was necessary for surgery. Too many risks involved. Local anesthesia was fine. It was not painful, even afterwards, just a little uncomfortable, and they give you pills for it, anyway. By the way, my jaw is too small for wisdom teeth, and all four came in sideways. If anything should have been terrible painful, I'd think that would be it, but no. It's really not that big a deal, and it's over fast.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 03:45 pm (UTC)
I had mine out under general, but they were evil. The oral surgeon gave me some prednisone before and after the surgery that made ALL the difference in recovery time.

Nathan, however, got his out with a local and halcyon because he does poorly with anesthesia. He said it was fine, but then decided to go eat buffalo wings and go paintballing two hours later. This was NOT SMART, and he had dry sockets and it sucked.

Which is not a comment on the choice of anesthesia, just that maybe you should rest after dental surgery.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 03:47 pm (UTC)
FWIW, I have a very good experience with going the general anesthesia route. I used a meditation trick at the same time, so I may not have needed as much, but I woke up quickly afterwards and had no subsequent side effects. The cost, though, was not so much of an issue here.

Good luck, I hope there are no complications, whichever way you decide to go!
Feb. 3rd, 2016 04:37 pm (UTC)
I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed. Two were done with a local anesthetic and two were done by oral surgeon.

The two done by a local were super quick and easy. You DO hear the crunching noises, but no pain, assuming the anesthetic works. I was given a prescription for some fancy pain meds, but I just took ibuprofen and was fine.

The surgery ones went ok. My recovery was awful, but only because there was still some dead flesh left behind or something. Once that came out, everything healed up nicely.

The only sucky part is the restricted diet after. Not being able to eat solid food for several weeks is hard.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 05:00 pm (UTC)
I had the wisdom teeth on one side taken out, along with the adjacent molars, and I was wide awake. I wouldn't say it was fun, but it wasn't horrible, either. The lower ones jerk your jaw around- I ended up holding my jaw from the bottom and that helped a lot. The uppers are weird because they are so close to your ears that you hear all this creaking and squeaking and cracking noises as the elevators contact the tooth surfaces and slip etc. But none of it hurts any worse than having any other tooth pulled. (providing you don't have impacted teeth- if that's true, you WILL have to see an oral surgeon)

One hint- sleep sitting up for a couple of nights after. A lot of blood can get turned loose internally during the pulling, and if you lay down it'll get up into your face and look like bruises. If you stay sitting up (even partway) it will settle under your jaw and not be really noticeable.

Best of luck!
Feb. 4th, 2016 02:28 am (UTC)
Oh my. I'm so glad I was knocked out when mine where pulled. I might have thrown up hearing them coming out.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 05:44 pm (UTC)
If I had to do it again I wouldn't do general anesthesia for the reasons that lepid0ptera mentions. Anyway I've had other work since then that involved complicated things (I have an implant and they had to reconstruct some of the jaw) just with local and that was fine. Weird because you can tell they're hammering on you but not feel it, but fine otherwise.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 05:54 pm (UTC)
Try not to stress too much about the surgery... I had my wisdom teeth taken out. While it wasn't a walk in the park, it wasn't traumatizing. I would do it again if I had to. So hopefully your experience will be straightforward...
Feb. 3rd, 2016 05:54 pm (UTC)
Oh and on the debate, I was glad to be totally knocked out. I would not have wanted to be awake for that!
Feb. 3rd, 2016 11:27 pm (UTC)
I had mine out when I was 19. Hubby waited until he was 28. One of my coworkers is in his 50s and just had his taken out last year. The procedure and recovery get worse as you get older. I personally would not be able to take being awake for it: take a nice nap and wake up two teeth less wise. ;)
Feb. 4th, 2016 02:27 am (UTC)
Maybe this will help?
I was 24ish when I had all four removed at once as they were causing problems. I, too, heard horror stories.

The dentist gave me a twilight drug. He said some it knocks out completely, some are just groggy. I was knocked out completely. I do recall feeling a bit of pressure but no pain.

I had them removed on a Thursday. On Sunday, I was eating normal food. Carefully... I had NO PAIN at all at any time from having them removed. I didn't have issues with dry sockets (I was told not to drink from a straw to minimize that potential and no caffeine for a bit).

It was the best dentist experience ever (seriously). And I was so glad I had them removed. They had grown in enough that I was constantly crunching on the inside of my gums. Ouch.
Feb. 9th, 2016 07:48 pm (UTC)
I wasn't knoched completely out. Wile having to remove my wisdom theeth is not one of my best and happiest memories, it was also not half as bad as I feared it would be.
But the tip to bring a cool pack with you is good!
Feb. 13th, 2016 02:16 am (UTC)
When I had my wisdom teeth extracted, they were impacted, so apparently general anesthesia was the only way to go. I felt horrible for a week afterward, it seemed like. I am the sort who would totally do it with local anesthetic if I thought that would keep me numb enough.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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