Well, I had my wisdom teeth out last week. It’s been a pretty smooth recovery so far but boy was I nervous beforehand!
You know how some people are innately afraid of dental work? Uncomfortable by the idea of being poked, prodded, drilled, sliced, and diced? I’m one of those people who is terrified of sleeping through all of that!
The idea of being sedated gives me a full-on panic attack. The thought of being pumped full of unfamiliar drugs that take away my ability to control my own body really just gives me the heebie-jeebies. I’m also pretty cranky when I’m groggy and I just wanted to be able to get up from the chair, drive myself home, and carry on with my life. While I wasn’t exactly looking forward to being awake through my extractions, I knew it was the best option for my peace of mind.
“Not exactly looking forward” and “peace” are kind terms here. Poor Marc. The day before the procedure, every time I looked at him, I just started crying. That is because he is the only person in the world with whom I can be that open about my nerves, neuroses, and fears. But it couldn’t have been good for his psyche to have his girlfriend break down in tears at the sight of him. I love you, honey!
When I arrived at the oral surgeon’s office, I knew there was no turning back. It would be rude to leave and my parents didn’t raise me to be rude. My heart was pounding so hard in my chest, I thought it was going to just explode out of me, say, “Fuck this,” belch loudly, and ride on out of there on a tiny motorcycle. Which would have been really awkward as then I would have had to go through the whole procedure with a hole in my chest.
Everyone from the start was super nice to me; they really wanted to make sure I was comfortable. If anyone in Philly has a hankering for some oral surgery, please consider Penn Family Dental Practice.
The nurse recognized that I was in some distress (my blood pressure and resting heart rate probably resembled those of a warthog in heat) and she recommended nitrous to calm me down. Not only would it help with my anxiety, but it would give me the added pleasure of paying them an extra $60! Honestly, I was ready to try anything short of full-on sedation at this point.
So they strapped this weird thing over my nose and just told me to take deep breaths. I did, as those were pretty easy directions to follow. After a few minutes, the resident asked me I felt anything. Truly, I thought I didn’t until I opened my mouth to say so. My voice sounded far away and my head started clouding. Any true awareness I had about my immediate surroundings just went away. I didn’t care about anything. At one point, the surgeon said, “We’re going to have to slice your gum,” and as I felt the pressure of the scalpel in my mouth, I just thought, “That’s cooooooooolllll, man.” They asked me if I was okay several times because I was just staring blankly at the ceiling.
My hands felt heavy and I kept opening and closing them, I think to make sure they didn’t fall off. I just kept thinking, “I have hands.” If I didn’t have a large, foam block in my mouth, I probably would have asked the doctors if they, too, had hands.
The whole thing was over before I could even begin discovering my toes. Suddenly, the surgeon took the tools out of my mouth, threw the last tooth up and down in his hand, and said, “Not bad for my first time.” Hahahahahahaha, what a good joke. That…that was a joke, right?
That’s the weird thing about it, I suppose. I spent all that time getting worked up over nothing. The mouth full of gauze and the numb tongue are far worse than the actual extraction itself (especially if you have nitrous). Plus, for several days after, you get to engage in the ice cream and pasta diet! And it’s highly recommended that you don’t exercise. Well, what’s left to do but hang out on your couch, binge-watch Riverdale, and wonder why you’re watching Riverdale?
My mouth still hurts, but it’s getting better. Soon I will have pretzels once more!
So if you still need to have your wisdom teeth out, just know that the absolute worst part of the whole thing is the nervousness you might experience beforehand. And hey, maybe they’ll let you keep the teeth! They didn’t offer me mine, but if they had, I would have worn one around my neck and mailed the others to my enemies (Yes, I’m looking at you, boy who called me a puny fat head in the fourth grade).