Wisdom schmisdom…

Wisdom Schmisdom…
I had a consultation with an oral surgeon this morning, and good ol’ Dr. Wong’s expert opinion is that I need to have all four wisdom teeth extracted. Fun! Apparently it’s really close; I only need like 3mm more to be able to fit them in. Damn! So then we had the discussion about whether I’d have it done in the chair (with a local anesthetic, i.e. needles) or in the hospital (with a general anesthetic, i.e. unconscious). I was wavering. I’m not a big baby or anything, and I can take my fair share of pain… but somehow I’m not sure I like the idea of watching as they remove bits from my head. He gave me the difference in cost though, and that pretty much settled it. The chair will run me $200 total; the hospital would be more like $700. So I’m booked in. Now I just have to wait four months til my appointment. (I’ve been happy with our HCF coverage so far, but these long waits are getting a bit ridiculous. I guess it’s only fair given that I’m not really in an emergency situation or anything.)


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  1. From everyone I know, getting your wisdom teeth out is a nightmare. I think they would have got general looking back on it.

    I was told I’d need to get general anesthetic for mine when they finally need to come out. Not sure why though maybe I’ll ask when i’m next at dentist.

  2. Steph’s having hers out soon too. It’s going to cost us in the order of about $500 to get four out. She’s scared shitless

  3. To offer a contrasting opinion, I thought having mine out was great. I was semi-unconscious (they call it “twilight”), and I thought the minor residual pain was well worth the experience of going under anaesthesia for the first time.

    I can’t imagine having gotten them out without being under. Does the “chair” option include Versed or nitrous or anything? ‘Cause that’s a really scary idea.

  4. You’re braver than i am. I would cough up the extra $500 and consider it money well spent.

  5. I got all mine out with general anesthesia. I don’t think I had much of a choice since the whole lot were impacted.

    Assuming yours aren’t impacted and they give you a little of this twilight stuff I don’t think it should be too bad…I would highly recommend packing your ipod full of soothing yet loud music, tho. I can’t imagine the sounds will be too pleasant. Maybe a little Vicks under the nose as well in case they have to drill some bits out.

  6. Mine were all impacted and I had the twilight stuff that Patrick had. I think that it’s closer to general than to novicane, as I had to have someone drive me home (I was conscious and ambulatory but really out of it).

    I don’t think that the procedure itself will be too bad; it’s the long recovery that I found annoying.

  7. I had all 4 done at the same time 5 years ago with the “twilight” stuff as I recall. I could hear, see, and feel everything, but there was no pain with it. I had to have someone drive me home and drinking ANYTHING was out of the question for a few hours.

    My biggest problem AFTER the procudure was dry sockets. I had to go back to the dentist a week later because I knew something was terribly wrong. I had a reaction to the pain killers, vomited, and lost the blood clots. The result, dry sockets that had to be packed. Just watch for dry sockets and get something immediately if it happens to you! (Unlike myself who let exposed nerves go for a week before I got help.)

  8. I had my ‘wisdom’ removed in high school. (Needed an opportunity to actually use that phrase :p).

    I had all 4 impacted teeth taken out under GA at hospital. Back then it was about $250 a tooth, so about $1000 all up – with 3 follow ups for the stitches and about 3 weeks of recovery for me. I would do it all the same again – my sister was booked in to have hers out at the dentist surgery and she FREAKED OUT and couldn’t get it done 🙁

    I like Brigita’s suggestion of iPOD-ing it!

  9. easy on the dry sockets there, frances! no seriously…i’m with most of the others: the procedure itself is not so terrible, it’s the recovery that sucks. i had the twilight; woke up mid-way (couldn’t feel or see anything and i recalled it like a dream) and went “uhhhhh…” and the surgeon said, “oh, need a little bit more gas there, eh?” and i was gone again.

    the only other thing that *really* bothered me was touching my chin when i came out of it. the entire lower half of your face is completely numb, and it feels super gross and corpse-like! so DON’T TOUCH YOUR CHIN!!! (and i’m sorry i brought it up, cause now you’re totally going to touch your chin…)

    look, bottom line is it’s WAY easier than the tonsils, man. you wanna go screwing with yourself, have them burn those puppies out and see how you feel. wisdom teeth are just a painful, achey and unhappy experience. not EXCRUCIATING and slightly worse than DYING or anything!

  10. Just wanted to say that I had all of mine out with just local a few years back and it was fine. Sore and weird while recovering, yes, but the actual procedure, while obviously not a barrel of laughs, wasn’t awful. Definitely wouldn’t have swapped it for a GA because the idea of being knocked out scares the hell out of me.

  11. Oh I would sooooo have the operation. I have had 2 major surgeries on my jaw…. and there is no way if/when I have to get mine out I wont cough up the extra bucks.

    Just think how far open your jaw will be and for how long… the anesthesia also lets you sleep it off and help with the pain for quite awhile.

    Food tip: when you are sick of jelly, ice cream and soup biscuits dipped in tea/coffee til they are soggy make a nice change 🙂

  12. good luck! i had mine out before i left for peace corps (they required me to get them out, but they did pay for it). general anesthesia- i can’t even comprehend being even semi-awake for it. i’m squeamish and a fainter, though. it wasn’t that bad at all for me, even the recovery. maybe because my older sister had a terrible time with hers, so i was expecting the worst, but the during and after was far more tolerable than anything i had imagined.

  13. Thanks for all the anecdotes, folks. I should’ve mentioned that mine will be coming out in two separate sessions; first one side, then the other a month later. Dr. Wong says that humans’ tiny reptilian brains can only stand being in the chair for about an hour, so it’s best to do it in separate sessions. Plus this way I figure if I absolutely hate the chair, I can still change my mind and have general on the other two. He did suggest that I bring an iPod, so I’m totally down with that.

    It’s funny; several people I’ve spoken to here said they’d go for the chair because supposedly the dentists are much rougher on your when you’re not “there” to respond, and you can end up with a lot more pain afterwards (from them yankin’ on your teeth). So really I’m just looking to avoid that. I’m not too squeamish about needles (as long as I don’t have to watch), and I can’t imagine it would be so bad that I couldn’t stand it for an hour. So I totally turned into Micheal J. Fox in “Back to the Future” with Dr. Wong, all “Are you calling me chicken? ‘Cause I’ll do it. I’ll do it in the damn chair! Sign me up!”

    And hello? How did I not know that my own sister has had both her wisdom teeth and tonsils removed? When the hell did this happen?

    (And if I never hear or read the words “dry sockets” again, it will be too soon.)

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