The removal of my wisdom teeth was one of the least stressful surgeries I can imagine. The surgeon put a needle in my arm, and I was out like a light. After my five (yes, count 'em -- FIVE) wisdom teeth were out, I needed only two codeine pills -- after that, I wasn't really in pain anymore. In fact, I hosted a cookout for some friends the very next day and ate a couple of hamburgers. I was lucky.

On the other hand, my sister, woke up while the surgeon was pulling on her teeth. She cried for days afterwards.
I broke a wisdom tooth while eating Grape Nuts. I didn't know that was what happened until the pain got to be too much, and the working around that weird spot in my mouth while eating was no longer possible. I went to see my dentist, who gave me the lowdown and scheduled a date for extraction.

Since the broken tooth had to go, its opposite had to be pulled as well - that one went first. No problem, and the local anesthetic (no nitrous, unfortunately) worked nicely. But going after the broken tooth took forever, and the anesthetic was wearing off to the point that I feared feeling the full brunt of whatever the doc was doing to my mouth. There would eventually have to be an additional shot of anesthetic, for which I'm eternally grateful.

I haven't eaten Grape Nuts since the day of breakage. I miss it.

One day, I could've sworn that my molars in the back of my mouth were cracked, or missing. I couldn't find them with my tongue. There was no pain, they just weren't there. I asked people to look into my mouth, they said everything looked fine. When I went home, I asked my parents to have a look and told them about my feeling of lacking teeth. They scheduled a dentist appointment for the next day.

The next day, I went to the dentist's. He had always been my dentist; I'm not afraid of dentists. He took a quick look at my teeth and said they were fine. My gums were swollen from infection. He prescribed me with penicillin to help with the infection and recommended having my wisdom teeth pulled. He recommended a surgeon to us, then proceeded to take x-rays of my teeth.

The day after, we went to this surgeon/dentist person. I was highly disturbed by the decoration of the office. There were autographed football posters everywhere. The old, grayed surgeon/dentist person wore a cheesy thick gold chain around his hairy chest and neck. When I was seated, he took a quick look at my gums, identified exactly what type of infection it was. Though, for the life of me, I can't remember. He examined the x-rays briefly and explained to me that two of my wisdom teeth were impacted; the other two would eventually become impacted, too. From what he explained, and according to some website, I had two mesial impactions. He said that we could wait it out and do it in the summer, or some later time. Or, because I was on antibiotics for the infection in my gums, we could do it in two days. The penicillin would be perfect for preventing further infection after the surgery. My father said great and made an appointment for me. They gave me a little information sheet on their procedure and sent me home.

When I got home, I told my online friends the news and some gave me their condolences, others wanted to know what sort of goodies I got prescribed. He gave me a single valium pill. I was to be sedated via IV (morphine, if I remember). I think my regular dentist mentioned that I cannot mentally handle gas. (Some people fear needles, I fear gas.) From the other writeups, the gas seems to be popular, but the idea wasn't even mentioned to me.

Two days later, I went in doped up on valium. I felt like I was drunk. No sense of balance, but I was mentally aware, and cheery. I almost walked into the wall when I headed in to take a seat in the chair. They told me I would feel a prick in my arm, I did. It tingled from the joint of my elbow up, I was out like a light.

The process of removing my molars involved two methods. The first method was for removing the mesial impacted teeth. They cut the tooth down the middle, then pull it out, piece by piece. Sometimes they don't remove all of the pieces and it is left in your gums. I was fortunate enough not to experience this. I believe this is what crayz was talking about when mentioning "sectioning." The second method was to pluck the teeth. Yes, imagine some plier-type of tool and "yoink!"

I woke up in the middle of surgery. I tried to make the motion of asking "What's going on?" "Don't worry, you're almost done." I could see them sort of panic because I wasn't supposed to be conscious right then. They pumped me up with more intravenous drugs. I was out again. They finished up. I don't remember getting out of my seat. I don't know how long the surgery took. I just remember leaving the building, the too-bright sun was shining down on my unadjusted eyes, and I was stumbling to the van. I passed out again in the van. We didn't live far, though.

When we arrived at home, I stumbled out of the car, slumped on our front step in the entryway. Sat there for a while and tried to gather myself. Let the location soak in; I was home, the surgery was done. I was still drugged up and my father found it amusing to make me follow his finger. He even went so far as to record it on tape. I'm camera-shy and so this was the chance of a life time. After I managed to take off my shoes (I vaguely remember being helped out with this) I headed toward the couch. The doctor had prescribed me some vicodin to help me through the next few days.

I found that vicodin gives me a dull headache and preferred regular Advil and a lot of bags of ice on my face. I spent the next week or so on the couch always with ice. I saved my vicodin and gave it to someone with a migraine who preferred vicodin; Advil wasn't strong enough for her. I don't know what people like from a vicodin high. Makes me feel shitty.

When I went in for a check-up, I mentioned to the doctor I had a pain on the left side of my tongue. Whenever I talk, or exercise that muscle, its painful. A pain from inside, not a sharp pain on the surface, but not dull, either. He said it was probably due to the fact that I tried to talk when I woke up in the middle of the surgery. Sometimes, if you make the wrong move with the braces in your mouth (not the correctional braces, but the surgical ones), bad things can happen. Apparently a pain in your tongue is one of them.

I had the surgery done about eight hours ago, so I'm still a bit cranky, but at least the procedure's fresh in my mind. As a disclaimer, this is not from a medical standpoint. To start, I should explain why I had it done locally (Novocaine) instead of generally. I suffer from a bit of hypertension and I'm overweight, so local anesthesia is many times safer, so it appealed to me. That being said, I'm going to tell you that if you do not have a fairly high fear tolerance, the surgery gets very intense while you're awake. If I didn't have my health problems, I probably would've gone with a general. However, that is not what happened, so you get to read my recount of the event I witnessed.

First off, the surgeon sprayed some topical inside my mouth to numb my gums up for the shots. You would probably think that this dinky spray could not possibly numb your mouth, but it does so very quickly. After receiving a considerable amount of Novocaine, the surgeon left me to let it set in. He came back in and asked me how it was doing. I wanted to let him know I thought I could use a bit more, but instead I slurred like a drunken bum. He gave me a few more shots so that I wouldn't feel anything for several hours after the surgery, and then things got started. He was kind enough to provide me with a blindfold so that I wouldn't have to see anything going on. This helped me out a lot more than I thought it would. Onto the surgery.

The first thing that he did involved a lot of scraping and sawing, so I'll assume that he was cutting away the skin to get to the tooth. Then he did some additional scraping that made a bone-slicing sound, which I believe was him making grooves to aid in the next step. He got out his little rotary knife (I see it described as a drill in the writeups above, but the feeling of pressure seemed localized, so I don't believe he was moving something as focused as a drill around) and cut it into quarters. This makes a lot of noise, and I found it to be incredibly nerve-racking. However, in comparison to the actual extraction portion, it's only a minor annoyance. Now we come to the part of the procedure that I have never actually read anywhere. You would think that with all of our modern medicine and technology that they'd have a fascinating and innovative way of removing a quartered tooth. They don't. Basically he grabbed ahold of the tooth with some device (felt like a torque wrench) and started to twist as hard as he could. The most God-forsaken cracking noise followed, at which point I nearly lost all bowel control. Thankfully I retained composure, but the cracking noise is probably the worst sound I have ever heard, especially knowing that it came from inside my head. After repeating this procedure three more times, with only minor difficulties with my bottom righty, he sutured them all and I was given tons of gauze. I got up and my mom drove me home. Having written all of this, only two or three times during the procedure did I feel anything close to resembling pain. Before I could actually raise my hand (apparently the oral surgeon lingo for "Jesus God stop the pain"), the pain subsided.

The Next Day

Okay, the above is a lot of incoherent rambling, mainly because I had taken my pain medication (Tylenol 3) and I had assumed it did nothing for me. I plan to correct this right about now, about 25 hours after the Novocaine actually wore off (28 hours after surgery), because I am somewhat more composed. I want to start by reiterating the actual extraction procedure. When I say they wrench the tooth bits out, I mean they wrench them out. On my bottom right tooth he consistently stretched my lip and cheek very tightly. Thankfully there was no bruising, but it was very uncomfortable.

Now, the pain started to kick in about three hours after the surgery. The Tylenol 3 didn't really do much for me other than make me groggy. I fell asleep at about 10:30pm and woke up hourly for about 5 minutes. At about 6:30am, though, I started to sleep on my side and this helped considerably. I slept, with a few interruptions, until 1:30pm today. The pain has almost completely gone other than the usual soreness. I can actually eat soup with chunks of vegetables, so everything seems to be turning out all right.

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