Jan Leow's Press Blog

Getting my wisdom tooth pulled out

Nobody likes to get their wisdom tooth pulled out. But if it gives trouble eventually it has to come out. I have put off this procedure for a very long time. However every so often my wisdom tooth always caused problem whenever food get stuck in the crevice between my bottom right wisdom tooth and gum leading to an inflamed gum every once in awhile.

So it was decided that to solve the problem once and for all, it would be best to extract the problematic wisdom tooth. Fortunately my other wisdom teeth didn’t bother me, so there was no necessity to touch those. Only the bottom right has to be removed. The appointment date was fixed and now here I was in the dentist clinic feeling somewhat apprehensive of the procedure. I never did like pain but the dentist assured me with the anesthetic I wouldn’t feel a thing except for the feeling of vibration during the extraction.

First thing first, the anesthetic, a few jabs here and there plus one which I didn’t know why, a poke at the nerve causing me to jump a little. As the anesthetic begin to take effect, my right cheek was getting numb and so was my lower lip and the right part of my tongue.

Next was to get the x-ray done to determine the exact location of the wisdom tooth. Off I go to the radiography room and an x-ray shot was taken. The machinery here is often operated by someone who went to x ray technician schools. Back to the dental chair, we waited while the x-ray was developing at the same time my anesthetic was taking its full effect. Some antibiotics and pain killers were prescribed in preparation of the procedure. The clink-clank of dentistry tools were readied by the nurse as I rubbed my hands at my cheek to make sure it stayed numbed and tried to relax a little.

Finally the x-ray photos were ready and the dentist explained to me that my wisdom tooth looked rather complicated, though we knew from the beginning that it was growing at a slant, the x-ray provided some new revelation. It showed that there was a hook like protrusion anchoring to the bone. That wasn’t the only complication; the root of the wisdom tooth was touching a nerve. That’s where it got interesting, if the nerve was hurt during the procedure my right cheek and lower lip may become numb for a few weeks. And if the wisdom tooth broke during the extraction, it would be best to leave the root behind as it would be too risky to remove it and to avoid injuring the nerve. Leaving it behind would not be a problem as the gum would grow over it. Besides in another ten years or so it might somehow push its way out by itself.

X-ray picture of wisdom tooth.

Looking at the x-ray picture, I thought to myself about the risk involved and hope the wisdom tooth would come out in one piece without complication. Settling myself as comfortable on the dental chair as possible, I said a silent prayer as the dentist asked me to open my mouth wide as he prepared the tooth for extraction; tested my numbness by poking here and there. Satisfied, the procedure began with various kinds of instrument inserted into my mouth. I calmed myself and said some silent prayers but somehow my thought strayed to movie I saw long time ago about a Nazi trying to interrogate Dustin Hoffman in a show called the Marathon Man using a drill to torture the protagonist. Ha, those authors can really invent ingenious plot devices for a story.

There was some shudder as the drill or perhaps a saw was used to grind the tooth. I didn’t look but I could probably guess what he was doing. Though with the anesthetic sometimes I could still feel some discomfort but overall I almost didn’t feel anything except for the vibration as the instruments did its job. All the while the dentist assured and checked that I was alright. A good doctor always tries to assure a patient and checked that the patient is alright to keep the patient calm. After all it was quite a shock to the bodily system to be cut and bled.

As the final procedure came, the nurse held my head steady as the dentist did a tug to pull out the wisdom tooth. It stayed fast and wouldn’t come out. So back to the scalpel and drill again. After a short while, the nurse came over and held my head steady again for another try at pulling it out. A few hard tugs and finally it was all over. Inserting a cotton gauze into the wound to control the bleeding, the dentist check my condition by asking how was I, but I couldn’t speak but could give a thumbs up to indicate all was well. After stitching up the wound and reinserting another cotton gauze to replace the previous one and it was finally over.

The extracted wisdom tooth.The dentist explained that the procedure went very well and was able to extract the complete wisdom tooth. I may expect some swelling and pain later and explained some of the possible situation. He said most people would be ok in a day or two. A small number of cases will experience having a swollen cheek perhaps with purple bruises. This usually is about 10% of the cases. And a rare 1% of the cases have pain for a week or so. Usually he encounter this kind of patient about once a year.

All done, it was time to settle the bill and go back home for some rest. With the cotton gauze in my cheek I couldn’t do much talking; besides it was getting sore. Took back the extracted wisdom tooth to show my wife and perhaps to keep it as a souvenir? Maybe, maybe not. To really keep it I need to soak it in a cleaning detergent called Klorox which will remove the bits and pieces of gum. Oh well, I’ll think about keeping it as souvenir as I made my way back to car for the drive home. Looks like I will be skipping lunch for today.

Update 28/July/2008

The healing went very well. However there is now a gap or hole between the molar and the gum. This resulted in food getting stuck in the gap. I asked my brother about it and he said his was similar too. He usually sucked out stuck food by squeezing his cheek in and some tongue action. I tried to do that too, and it takes many tries to get it out. Rinsing and brushing helps a little too. More often then not, it stays in there for awhile which was quite irritating. Not to mention the possibility of cavity on the good molar. My brother said that eventually the gap will close as the gum heals and grows. I certainly hope so.

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Hello, Jan Leow. How are you? My name is Tuhin. I am 19 years old. I was looking for a very useful information which can help me and remove my tension of something so I searched in google and found your post with my similar problems. Actually I had an surgery of my 4 wisdom teeth about 26 days ago. You would be surprise to hear that the position of your teeth which you posted on your post (Getting my wisdom tooth pulled out) in X-ray. I had my bottom left wisdom teeth at same position and doc told me that time It doesn’t looking good for him and he wants it to take out immediately. They did me anesthetic before the surgery. I was taking soup, fruit drinks for like 2-3 weeks and after that I started eating rice, noodles. but I am not eating any short of meat or hard food. but the main fact is w/e I eats now. foods are getting stuck in the bottom 2 hole of wisdom teeth. I used syringe for flushing it up. but it doesn’t getting clean properly. I rinse, use warm salt water. But not a good result. I checked my doc already 4 times but not after this issues. I am thinking of making a visit but I am having a exam which is close enough and I couldn’t done any study. And I am really thinking of this now and it make me upset. Cuz I heard if food stuck in the place and it can make infection. and I am noticing that my holes are not really covering up. please kindly tell me. If my food will really comes out any time or Is there anything I need to do. as the same things happened with you so you might know something. I will wait for a reply. thanks.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dear Tuhin,

Don’t worry about it. The gap will close by itself. Just be patient. The gap in mine was already closed up. My brother who has 3 wisdom tooth taken out also had the gaps closed up.



7 thoughts on “Getting my wisdom tooth pulled out”

  1. i got all four of my wisdom teeth cut out… and it was the worse thing everr!!!! the numbness didnt even work i felt both of the top and my left bottom one. it took 2 1/2 hrs and the numbness wore out right when i got out of the room. my face was huge for four days and i kept bleeding.. its been 21 days since then and i got to go back to the doctors bc my left side of my face and my throat and my tounge keeps going numb and i got something wrong with my gums.. prewarning… if you dont need them out right away then dont get them out

  2. I just got a wisdom tooth pulled at 2:30 and the actual procedure only took less than 10 minutes.I put ice on right away and took tylenol after an hour the numbness went away and I feel good. There is still a little bleeding but not as bad as the horror stories that I have heard. I was in and out of the dentist in one hour and that is with being a new patient….Also, I found out that I do not have 2 of the 4 wisdom teeth so one more to go if it ever comes out..

  3. I got my lower right one removed bout a week ago. The whole procedure was painless. Even the jab was painless. I was quite shocked that it wasn’t as painful as some stories I’ve read and heard. Just that the pressure I felt and my tooth cracking (mine has a cavity as it is impacted for a few years) made me nervous. The whole procedure was just about 30 minutes. My doctor said my wisdom tooth’s root was a bit bulky so it sits tightly in my jaw and so it took her some time to loosen it before removing it. My bleeding is about a day. Then the healing sort of gets faster. It was a good sign. But I’m just a little worried about the food that gets stuck between the stitches. I removed some that are removable with a toothpick. lol. But after a few days, I found out that I have just swallowed a thread from one of the stitches i got while I was sleeping….guess the stitches came off when i started chewing on harder foods when the gum is not properly healed yet..

  4. Oh My Lord. I had my wisdon teeth out (all 4 impacted) about 17 days ago. I didnt take to the laughing gas so I was wide awake no groggy-ness felt and heard everything.. yuck!! Not to mention my stomach doesn’t take kindly to painkillers and on top of my extreme chipmunk teeth I was throwing up whenever i stood up. Finally I started healing, lucky me ended up with bruised cheeks and eye (???). The wisdom teeth pain was a cake walk compared to the dry socket i had gotten 2 days later, go figure.. The worst pain in the world. I’m still dealing with my dry socket issues over 2 weeks later. You are one lucky fellow!!!

  5. Ugh, I got all 4 of my wisdom teeth out on Friday (today is Monday). I was in and out within half an hour so that was the easy part. My face was numb all day and I went home and tried to eat some spaghetti. The numbness started to wear off, and I kept taking the Tylenol 3s and I was feeling ok. Then the next day I started feeling horribly sick. My face had swelled out and I was jet puking everywhere because of the codene. I had to stop taking them so I would stop puking and I had to just live with the pain of it. I pulled one of the stitches out through the puking and started bleeding again. It was awful. Now here I am still have a terribly soar stomach and my face is still quite swollen. I wish I had skipped the medication altogether I think I could have braved it after the first day.

  6. Just got 2 wisdom teeth taken out on one side. Once the anesthetic wore off it hurt bad! Not really the actual place where the teeth where it wa more my throat and tongue. My tongue is slightly bruised and cut up from the machine that cut up my tooth and my face has swollen up and i have bruising on the outside! Its been 3 days now and i see a very slight improvment. I dont want to go outside i look so terrible. I think it will take at least a week to heal. I have 5 stitches 2 on top and 3 on the bottom. The top one was very easy to remove the bottom one was pretty bad! Stitches out in a week. So glad that I never have to go through that again it was pretty horrible!

  7. well i am having 3 wisdom teeth pulled as well as the 5 at the front on the top jaw. i am shitting myself badly. i think the after healing is what scares me the most. as long as i dont feel anything that will be ok but the yanking and that might set me off. i have been told by the dentist to have a valium before i go in. anyone got anyother suggestions they would be greatly appreciated. cheers nicole

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