42 answers

Scared to Death of Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Im scheduled to get a bottom impacted wisdom tooth removed that is also infected by a cavity. Im so terrified of needles and drills and pain. Does anyone have any experience with this type of procedure? I will be getting local anesthesia (novacaine)

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all so much for the responses. After a Xray, the dentist found that the tooth didnt have a cavity, and didnt really need to come out. She said the tooth was currently coming in and that all the pain I was feeling was a result of the wisdom tooth putting so much pressure on my mouth. Its been a week, and I am no longer experiencing any pain. I am still going to get my wisdom teeth pulled, but I am going to wait until I can get them all pulled at the same time under sedation. Thanks!

Featured Answers

Don't worry about it...here's a funny wisdom tooth-pulling story for you to laugh at...my sister had hers pulled about 3 years ago. She was 19 at the time and she was still out of it while my mom was driving her home...apparently, my sister told my mom EVERYTHING!!! She told her all the stuff she had done while in college and high school...it was hilarious and she just kept going! Then she started to spill the beans on me!!!! We still laugh about it...don't worry about it and try not to tell any secrets!! :)

2 moms found this helpful

When I was 20 I had all 4 wisdom teeth impacted not decaying due to cavaties but they needed to come out & I wanted them out.I was put to sleep no local & had all 4 done at the same office visit afterwards there was some discomfort but not in any pain that I can remember.

1 mom found this helpful

My MD gave me Valium to take 30 min prior. All I remember was laughing before it was done. See if they can get you something so you can relax.

More Answers

Millions of people have gone through this experience and lived to tell about it! No, really! And the pain of getting a tooth removed is NOTHING compared to the pain of an infected tooth, especially over time.

If you're getting novicaine, you won't feel anything. In fact, you'll wonder where that side of your mouth went (and you'll talk funny afterwards for a while). You'll hear very strange noises, but that's all. Follow the dentist's instructions on how to take care of your mouth afterwards, and what pain relievers to take.

When you first go in, be sure to tell the dentist how frightened you are! You won't be the first, and you won't be the last, but they can't reassure you or help you if you don't let them know your fears.

3 moms found this helpful

Don't worry about it...here's a funny wisdom tooth-pulling story for you to laugh at...my sister had hers pulled about 3 years ago. She was 19 at the time and she was still out of it while my mom was driving her home...apparently, my sister told my mom EVERYTHING!!! She told her all the stuff she had done while in college and high school...it was hilarious and she just kept going! Then she started to spill the beans on me!!!! We still laugh about it...don't worry about it and try not to tell any secrets!! :)

2 moms found this helpful

I just had a broken wisdom tooth taken out with a bonus one underneath. I did it with local anesthesia. I did not feel a thing and it took like 20 minutes top. Just close your eyes if your scared of the instruments used. You could even bring an ipod or something to help with the noise.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I'm with the other Mamas -- you should either go to an oral surgeon & be knocked out entirely for the procedure, or request your dentist writes you a prescription for a valium you can take an hour before you go in for the extraction. On the one hand you'll be asleep so no worries, and on the other you'll be high & won't care about the needle. Win/win!

2 moms found this helpful

I had all 4 of mine taken out, the bottom were impacted. I was not knocked out. My insurance didn't cover general anesthesia, and out of pocket I would have had to pay 1200 on top of the 800 I was already paying for the extractions.
Honestly, just breathe. It's not as bad as you think it's going to be. They numb you extremely well because of the type of procedure. The only thing that might freak you out is hearing the tooth come out. It makes a sort of cracking noise, and you hear it because your ears are right there, BUT it's not painful because your numb. Just a weird noise. A simple fix for that is call the office and find out if they provide earphones for you. If they don't ask if you can bring in your on music/earphones.
It will cover some of that sound and it might also help you relax.
I know several dentists that do this just for regular procedures.
Hope this helps. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Had my 4 wisdom teeth pulled when I was 21 years old. They didn't knock me out. They numbed me well, probably novacaine and used "laughing gas." No need to be scared to death. As long as you are numb, you won't feel a thing. Now, the sound of the drills you will hear and you will feel pulling and tugging...but no pain. You may be very swollen afterwards so use ice and follow the healing plan your dentist gives you.

1 mom found this helpful

I didn't read through your response but I just want to say- don't worry-everything will be fine. As far as the fear of the needles- do this when it's time for the shots to numb you. Think of something you know by heart-the Lords Prayer, the Pledge, ABC's, Happy Birthday- anyhing like that- then close your eyes and say that in your head over and over again- it will give you something to concentrate on. I find this works better than trying to picture something like the beach because you really have to think to say something over and over. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

When I had mine done, they let me have a valium an hour before hand. By the time they got to do it, I was feeling no pain. Maybe you could suggest this to your dentist if you're really nervous?

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,
Ugh, wisdom teeth - why exactly do we still have them when we never need them?

Anyhoo, if you are that frightened you may want to talk to your dentist about being knocked out - twilight sleep I think is what they call it. Or, see if he can prescribe a "goofy" pill to take 20 minutes before the procedure. Also, when I had a lot of periodontal work done last year, they did what they called "profound" anesthesia. It was topical then injections into the gum line that numbed out everything - gum, teeth roots, cheek, and tongue. I did not feel a thing!!!! But, since it was still localized I was able to drive myself home.

After care can be anything from ibuprofen to Rx pain pills. Talk with your dentist before about after care medicines so he knows what you expect and vice versa.

And know that you are not alone - most people have dental anxiety - so your dentist should have ways to effectively treat you and allay your fears.

1 mom found this helpful

I am not going to read your other responses but will tell you to have more than novacaine. I was actually iv sedated and it was wonderful. I woke up in minimal pain with no memory of the event. I highly recommed it. I am a complete dental phob. I get nitrus for cleanings.

1 mom found this helpful

You should be able to get nitrous oxide at least. You can drive yourself home after that. I had all 4 of my impacted wisdom teeth removed at the same time, but they put me under with sodium pentathol, you need a driver for that route tho.
When you get home make sure you take your pain meds and hopefully you have some teabags for when you take out your gauze. Wet the teabags, ring them out and put them in place of the gauze, it's soothing.
It wont be that bad and you will be okay in a few days. If you've given birth you can do this!!
If you are only getting novacaine just make sure you are good and numb before they start the procedure, dont be afraid to ask for more if you feel like you can feel anything. Extractions are pretty fast these days, the dentists pride themselves on being able to do it quickly and painlessly so they can keep a good reputation.
My hands always get sweaty when I'm in the chair. Ask for kleenex for both of your hands and just grip it tight and deep breathe. Once he begins the process it will probably take less than a minute for him to get the tooth out.
Good luck and let us know how you fared.

1 mom found this helpful

When I was 20 I had all 4 wisdom teeth impacted not decaying due to cavaties but they needed to come out & I wanted them out.I was put to sleep no local & had all 4 done at the same office visit afterwards there was some discomfort but not in any pain that I can remember.

1 mom found this helpful

Since the tooth has a cavity, you will be surprised at how much BETTER you feel after having it removed. I had cavities in both my upper wisdom teeth and was afraid to have them removed but I knew I had to. The local anesthetic was done quickly and after a few minutes of tugging (which I could barely feel) the doctor started packing me with gauze because she was done. I was shocked at how quickly it was done, even with my curved roots. One had to be broken up while still in the gum and that took about 10 mins extra but was no more difficult. After a day on pain meds (just taking them regularly), the following day I was back on my feet with minimal pain and the pain of the recovery was FAR less than the pain the cavity had been causing (headaches, pain, sinus aches and all). I had no idea how bad I felt because the cavities had been there so long.

Good luck on getting the extraction and I hope you feel much better later on!

1 mom found this helpful

You will be knocked out so the procedure is relatively anmestic. My advice, listen to the dentist when he tell you not to swish out too much. This can cause air pockets and they are painful.

Minus the air pocket the pain is manageable as they will give you drugs to combat it.

Don't be afraid and don't let anyone scare you about it. I had a top and bottom one pulled out the same time, because I was biting into my cheek. They were removed fast and I was sutured in just minutes. General ansesthesia was given and I just ate on the right side of my mouth for a few days. You'll be alright. If you're sensitive to pain, the doctor will give you asprin after everything is done to prevent headache. You'll be fine...take care

ughhh i hate wisdom teeth, i had all 4 of my impacted teeth out plus one next to my wisdom tooth that had broke because of the pressure. so a lovely 5 teeth out all together, i went to an oral surgeon. they numbed me with Novocain, and then tried the laughing gas, that did work so well, i felt like i was being smothered and they had the mouth clamp thing holding my mouth open so i got all claustrophobic.

i had a bad experience with mine when i was done i felt terrible, the pain was worse than labor and i had a terrible labor. but come to find out the surgeon cut the inside of my cheek open, i had 7 stitches in my cheek. then on the other side of my mouth my stitch for the molar they pulled was connected to my cheek.

it was all just bad. they pain after words sucks, i couldnt open my mouth for like 3 weeks. and the blood was yuck i had to sleep with a towel under my face because of all the blood. and i also looked like a chipmunk for about a week, then after the swelling went down my face was so black and blue it looked like someone beat my face with a brick.

but at my check up with a diff doctor, i was like this because the surgeon messed my mouth all up.

so just make sure you consult a few surgeons. and know that they know what they are doing/

best of luck
and i didnt mean to scare you but just make sure you know your surgeon very well

I was scared to death too, I freak out about anything to do with my teeth. I had to get 3 wisdom teeth cut out along with a bit of my jaw bone. But I actually fell asleep during the procedure! It didn't hurt at all during, but I dreamed about the sound of the drill. Afterwards it hurt a little, but as long as I kept taking my meds it was just a dull ache. The worst part was having to rinse with salt water all the time, and not being able to chew for a while. I was so happy when I could brush my teeth and eat real food again! You'll do fine, just keep thinking how great you'll feel when that sore tooth is out of there.

Hi, I know you have tons of answers already, but I just wanted to share with you that my husband just had his taken out by an oral surgeon, and it was LITERALLY in and out of the office in 20 minutes. These surgeons know exactly what they are doing, and they are good at what they do.

I, on the othe rhand, got mine taken out 10 years ago by a dentist, just using novacaine. It went fine, but he had to give me SOOO much of the drug, that I kept seeing double and almost passed out. If I had to do it over again, I'd go to a specialist.

Don't be nervous....they'll take good care of you, and it'll be over before you know it!

My MD gave me Valium to take 30 min prior. All I remember was laughing before it was done. See if they can get you something so you can relax.

I had two wisdom teeth removed at the same time. They knocked me out for it. I didn't have any pain but the recovery lasted about two days with pain medication. After that, no problem. I remember I scheduled it on a Friday so that I had the weekend to recover.

I avoided getting my impacted wisdom teeth pulled for a long time. Finally they were really hurting and I had no choice. I got them pulled last year, just local anesthetic and laughing gas and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Closed my eyes when they were injecting the novacaine and had headphones in during the extraction. Just talk to the Dentist about your worries so they know you're nervous.

yep. been there. they should be able to offer you laughing gas, but that will really numb you up and knock you out and you'd need someone to drive you.

they should also give you a prescription for antibiotics and pain.


dont worry about it, the more stress you feel about it. the more its gonna hurt. take deep breathes and calm down

it doesnt hurt while you are getting it done but after your face is swollen and hurts alot. but then you wont have any problems after you get them out.

Its not that bad...I had my botom wisdom ooth exracted too bc i was impacted and believe me you really dont feel much during but be prepared afterwards for real soarness. I couldnt really open the whole mouth for at least a week. I lived off of chicken fries from burger king. Its not that bad though...dont worry!!

Bless your heart - I had mine out (only had 3) about two years ago because one had a cavity. I did get put to sleep and didn't feel anything. Of course that is arguably more risky than local but it's what my oral surgeon recommended.

I wanted to mention that you may want to line up a little bit of help afterward (for a few days at least). For some reason I had a flu-like reaction to the healing process. I felt relatively fine the first day, but then laid in bed the next two. I just felt miserable and weak (not sure why). Not to scare you - just wanted you to know that you may need some extra hands on deck.

I also had some bruising on my face but it went away.

Good luck - God bless you and keep you safe during the procedure.

See if your dentist offers nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. When I had my four wisdom teeth pulled, my dentist offered me a scented mask to breathe the gas in and yeah, there were times when I could feel him doing stuff (which would've probably been really painful without the novacaine) but with the nitrous oxide, I didn't care one bit!! Recovery is rough any way you go, but I personally would highly recommend the nitrous!

I had 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed at the same time. It wasn't actually done under "general anesthesia", but under what's called conscious sedation. I don't remember anything from the procedure, but I wasn't totally out and was able to breathe, swallow, etc. while they were doing it. I suspect a lot of people who think they had general anesthesia actually had conscious sedation... they don't remember anything, but didn't need a breathing tube inserted or a whole anesthesia team.

Here is a link describing general anesthesia vs. conscious sedation (it's from the UK, but it should help): http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/general_anesthesia_denta...

I would specifically NOT want general anesthesia. There are much more significant risks from it and it's just not necessary ... it's reserved for major surgery. I would want conscious sedation. Much lower risks and no memories from the procedure.

My experience was fine. I happened to get a dry socket afterward, which was the worst part. Otherwise, it would have been very simple and easy with a pretty comfortable recovery.

Oh, and I have had a root canal on a molar with a rod inserted into my jaw with just local (lidocaine). I felt no pain whatsoever. I didn't like having to keep my mouth open as long as I did, but that was the only bad part. It's a little weird to hear the drilling and all, but not that different from getting a cavity filled.

I had one out after my son was born. I had a very complicated extraction and even that wasn't bad. You can't feel the needle (don't look) it's just like a tiny bee sting then you can't feel anything. There's some pulling sensation but it's like slapping your leg when it's asleep. It's not as creepy as you might think. I hardly had to take any pain meds and my mouth was totally healed within a couple of days (the mouth heals quickly). Everyone is different, obviously, but I believe it sounds worse than it is. Don't psych yourself out. If you really are too anxious, ask your doctor if there's anything you can take to relax you ahead of time.

I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth pulled (not all at once) and didn't feel a thing. I was just given needles to numb my gums (not sure what that's called) and all I felt was a little pressure.

Focus on something else in the room, bring an Ipod, or see if you can bring a friend that will prattle on about gossipy stuff to distract you.

Whoever told you about the extreme cases thing is wrong. My daughter had hers done under general, and hers weren't extreme. I also had them done many many years ago under general. Also not extreme. Could you get a second opinion maybe? Because general anesthesia rocks! Seriously!

If you are that terrified, why not go to an oral surgeon and be put under? That's how my 2 kids had theirs out. Much less traumatic!

I can tell you that the whole thing will be over before you know it. You will spend 100 times more time worrying about it than the entire procedure will take. You won't feel a thing while it's getting pulled and once it is pulled, it will take a day or two to recover.

Take some advil before you go and see if you can get your painkiller prescription prior to the appt so that you can fill it before you go and pop it ASAP.

Have you ever had novacaine? Ask to be told when it is coming and look away. It will pinch a bit but we are talking 3-5 seconds tops. Then you won't feel a thing.

Also, bring your ipod and play music - it will distract you.

Can you get general anesthesia? I had all 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed at once, but was completely knocked out. It was painful after the fact, but not unbearable. The worst of it is the first 24 hours after, you do bleed a lot. And you will look like a chipmunk for a few days.

Be sure to follow all after care instructions to the t! You don't want to end up with a dry socket. From what I hear, that is excruciating.

Good luck!

I understand your fear... But the procedure itself is not that bad -- especially compared to the recovery.

I had both done: A few years ago I had a bottom impacted wisdom tooth extracted with local anesthesia, and in December the remaining three (all impacted) had to go, this time with general anesthesia.

If you are "scared to death" then you should definitely talk with your oral surgeon and get something to help you.

My recommendation would be to take the pain killers *before* any pain starts, after the procedure, as soon as possible. With local anesthesia you do not feel any pain at all, but once its effect is gone you will need something strong! And follow the post-operative instructions really carefully! There will be bleeding the first day and swelling the next day. Take it easy for a couple of days, rest as much as possible.

EDIT: Why not find an oral surgeon, not a dentist? They are the ones who are expert in tooth extraction.

I hate nitrous oxide - feel like I'm sucking air and can't breathe. I have had to have oral surgery before (not for wisdom teeth) and that was SO the way to go. You go in, you go to sleep, you wake up, it's done! So what if someone has to drive you home? The stress is so much less knowing that you won't be awake for any of the "pressure" or grinding or sounds and on top of that you won't feel anything! And Valium? It depends on how much they give you, but with my fears of the dentist (I cry having a cavity filled) there isn't enough valium in the world for me to let someone pull a tooth.

I had 1 pulled but i was put to sleep first and had no problems after you will need pain med and ice

I had mine out in the office years ago. (all 4 impacted) They also gave me local and a valium iv and, to tell you the truth, I didn't care WHAT they were doing. You won't have pain. Find your happy place and go there in your mind. Good luck!

my husband was given two types of sedatives an hour before he went in for some serious work. he didn't even know he got home without his Rx for vicodin afterwards. i would look into that. if they are unable to help you i would look elsewhere if you are that scared. if you're gonna put that type of money out you might as well be as comfortable as you can. once its done its over and you'll be glad you did. good luck.

I had my wisdom teeth extracted before leaving for college, but they gave me a general anesthesia. Honestly, beyond "counting backwards from 10" I don't recall a thing. Can they give you something to take the edge off? My father had his extracted and they gave him a Valium to take ahead of time- it really helped.

Aside from that, liquid diet for a while... milkshakes, warm soup, really mushy stuff b/c it will hurt! If they give you percocets, take them but NEVER on an empty stomach. I made that mistake and it was really scary.

Wow- I'm usually very "anti-meds", but in this case if you're anxious take the drugs if they offer them!

Look, you are going to the wrong dentist. Please go see an oral surgeon. You don't have to have general anesthetic. They can give you something called twilight sleep to help you out. There is no excuse for them making you have just novacaine.

I really mean it. Forget going to a regular dentist. This is what oral surgeons are for.


I feel for you. I had my wisdoms out about 10 years ago, but did it with general anesthesia-I wouldn't have done it any other way. But, it was all four. As for after care, I really didn't have any problems. I also just had to have 4 others extracted last week. It took me several years to work up that courage & of course by then one was infected. I do feel much better. I agree with all the "get ear phones" & "find your happy place" advice. Several months ago I also had to have a couple of fillings done & 1 wasn't getting numb like it should. The Dr. was really good about it & kept trying, but finally, I just starting counting. Sounds weird, I know. But, it worked. I focused really hard on my counting, not what she was doing. I also agree with finding a surgeon & not a general dentist. While I was waiting for my consult appt., a woman came out that had just had an extraction. I heard her talking to the receptionist & then on the phone. If she hadn't said anything, I wouldn't have even known that she'd had a procedure.
Good luck & I wish you well.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.