Wisdom Teeth

I’m getting my wisdom teeth extracted today. I’ve been putting it off for years, believing that my mostly-erupted wisdoms would provide extra chewing power while posing little inconvenience; but after much on-and-off pain and swelling, a few cavities, an operculectomy, and futile brushing at foul debris trapped in the gums of my off-margin lower third molars, it’s definitely time for these vestigial chompers to take a hike.

So I’m off to the oral surgeon in Downtown DC. The procedure should take an hour or two, and I asked to be knocked out under general anesthesia by IV — might as well get some sleep, right? I will request the remnants of the teeth in a bag when the surgery is done. Expect photos. For the not-squeamish, video of a similar procedure. There will be blood.

Update: All done. Home now. Hydrocodone-APAP is sleepymaking. More later.

Update: I am back and now it is time for photos of bloody extracted teeth! Here are the three that survived the procedure intact; I’m not sure what happened to the fourth. Check out the bent root on the middle one. I’m so glad that one’s out:

Three Wisdoms

The operation started promptly at 9AM, with me sitting in a chair getting probes on my arms and listening to the beeps that indicated heartbeat. I concentrated on relaxing and hearing the beeps slow down while the surgeon stuck the IV for anesthesia in my arm. Funny thing: the dental chair faces a wall covered with diplomas, awards, and certificates, so scared patients can be comforted by numerous symbols of decades of dental achievement.

I remember that I started seeing a bit double and thinking, “Ah, that must be the anesthesia taking effect now oh hey the light’s different and there’s gauze in my mouth.” No memory at all of passing out, or of the procedure; just a blink and a change. Within five minutes of waking up I was feeling well enough to collect my post-op docs, walk with Amy to CVS to get my prescriptions and a cane to steady myself, and take a taxi home to collapse into bed. My lower right jaw was numb the rest of the afternoon, probably due to a bump to the inferior alveolar nerve, but feeling was restored by evening, and it was not bothersome at all. Pain so far has been tolerable.

So now I’m looking forward to a weekend of applesauce, pudding, ice cream, yogurt, mashed potatoes, non-chunky cream soups, and hydrocodone. I’ve got four jelly-like clots filling the spaces where my wisdom teeth used to be, and am hoping very much to avoid dry socket. Will sleep.