Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed

Updated on June 14, 2013
L.M. asks from Altamonte Springs, FL
22 answers

Hi Moms,

Well, had some gum pain in the back and went to the dentist- my wisdom tooth is coming down and very painful, and hitting my other tooth so it won't come fully down. I have 2 wisdom teeth up top, that's it (never got the bottom ones) ......... anyway, I have to get the one removed, and I've decided to just have both taken out at the same time so I don't have to go through this again.

I have to go under for it - I'M SO NERVOUS! i've never been "under" before. Ok crazy question. What if I don't wake up. That is my worst fear. I'm in alot of pain and I have to wait 2 weeks to have this done (first avail appt) ... so now I'm in pain and freaking out about the surgery. I also heard horror stories from people at work! I will say that EVERY horror story was someone who elected NOT to be put under.

Can you please tell me your experience? What should I expect? What is it like going "under"? What if I wake up in the middle? What is recovery like.............

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Yes it's with an oral surgeon....... I'm having it done on a Wed morning (took Wed off work) ... In your opinion do you think I will be able to go back to work on Thursday? (office desk job)

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answers from Los Angeles on

No, I don't think you should go back to work the next day. When I had my two wisdom teeth extracted in my early 20s (bottom right and top left), I didn't leave the house for about a week. My face was so swollen, I looked like a chipmunk. Plus, it was really hard to eat any solids so I didn't really have the energy to do much. Also, it will be painful; you wouldn't want to work. I know that everyone reacts differently to getting their wisdeom teeth extracted, but just know that these things may happen to you. Why don't you get it done on a Friday so you have the weekend to recover?

With regard to anesthesia, I went under and I was glad I did.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Those problems just don't happen often. I take the prize for being a worry wort. I have anticipatory anxiety over every procedure I have.

You're going to be fine. You'll need soft foods like pudding, jello, mashed potatoes, gravy, things that you can put in your mouth and swallow without moving your jaws.

Can you imagine having wisdom teeth come in 100 years ago? They couldn't take them out! They had to live with the pain.

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answers from Chicago on

L., do I know the sensation of extraction, or do I know!! :D

I've had 21 teeth extracted. 8 incissors (deciduous), 4 canines (deciduous again), 4 deciduous first molars, and 4 pre-molars (the permanent one!).
Plus 1 wisdom tooth extraction. Right. Swoon away. :)

My jaws were too small to accommodate all 32 teeth, and so I needed to have a serial correction done, starting from when I was 6. Each time a permanent tooth was erupting, the doc had to extract the deciduous tooth next to it, to make space.

Take it from me. Don't worry. Wisdom tooth extraction sounds way more sinister than it actually is.
The local anesthesia should numb out any pain there is during the extraction. You'd probably be able to feel the surgeon pulling out the tooth, but trust me there will be no painful sensation. It is not going to scare you if you don't allow it. If you like, close your eyes, and plug in to some music during the extraction.
Well, after the surgery, your mouth will feel sore for a few days. You will have some pain, but am sure the dentists would give you appropriate painkillers. Get someone to help around the house with preparing meals and taking care of your daughter for a couple for a day or so. Prepare some soups and put them away in freezer. It'd help if you ate liquid and easy-to-swallow meals for couple of days. Am sure the dentist's office will provide you with all the DO's and DON'Ts.

You've had a baby! You can do this. :)

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answers from Washington DC on

Being put under was no big deal at all. Just like going to sleep and when you wake up, you missed all the yucky stuff. I thought staying awake sounded soooo much worse. You WILL wake up in the end, and you WON'T wake up in the middle. These surgeons perform these procedures all the time. There is no reason to think that yours is going to be any more eventful or traumatic than anyone else's.

Recovery is fine. I assume you've had a child or else you wouldn't be on this site. The wisdom teeth extraction was a breeze compared to childbirth. I was a little sore, but that's what ibuprofen is for. I actually had to fly back to college either the day after or two days after, so I had to irrigate the extraction sites myself. That wasn't my favorite, but it was not that bad either. I imagine you could probably go back to work within a day or two.

You will be fine! I promise!

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answers from Chicago on

I had 4 wisdom teeth removed when I was 20, and it was the only time I've ever been put under. It was SOOO easy. They put the IV in, asked me to count backwards from 100, and I think I was out before I hit the 70s. I woke up in the recovery room with my mom at my side, we hung out there for a while, then I got into a wheelchair and an aide wheeled me to the parking ramp, while my mom went to get the car.

I snoozed on the sofa at home for a few hours, ate some soft foods (pudding and jello), and later that night went out for ice cream with a bunch of my cousins.

Easy peasy.

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answers from Boca Raton on

I started with 3 . . . had one removed in a dentist's office. It had decayed and I was in alot of pain so having it out seemed like a piece of cake comparatively speaking.

A few years ago (my late 30's?) I was put to sleep for the other two (oral surgeon?) and it was easy. I did have a weird flu-ish feeling a couple of days later, and I was tired. But other than that it healed fine.

It's likely that you will not be out very long. I was surprised how quickly mine went. Just go to someone very good and reputable. They had me in the chair and out within minutes, literally.

Good luck.

ETA: You will need someone to drive you home.

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answers from San Francisco on

I was put under when I had my wisdom teeth removed (all 4). From everything I've heard from people who were awake for the procedure, being put under is the best way to go about this! It's surgery, it's painful, and if you're awake, it's very traumatic. The person who is doing your surgery is a trained surgeon who does this all day every day. S/he is an expert. I've literally never heard of anybody not waking up from having their wisdom teeth taken out. It's not like you're having open heart surgery where you'll be out for hours and hours - you'll be under for a half hour to maaaaybe an hour. That's it. So they aren't putting you very far under. I would really try not to worry!

That said, how you feel the next day is really going to depend upon many factors, such as how close the wisdom teeth are to your existing molars, if the nerves are already inflamed, how good the surgeon is at avoiding your nerves, etc.

What I can tell you is that I had all 4 wisdom teeth out. They were taken out before they caused me any pain. I did everything the surgeon said in terms of pain medication, ice, sleeping with my head elevated, etc. I had my wisdom teeth taken out on a Monday morning, and that whole day, I hurt and took pain meds, and mostly slept. The following morning, I woke up feeling fine, I think I maybe took Tylenol, my face was a little bit swollen but nothing too bad, and I went to the gym and did a full workout. I was fine, basically. Within a few days, all the swelling was gone and I was back to normal. I had heard tons of horror stories about getting wisdom teeth out, but for me it was really not bad.

Good luck!

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answers from Miami on

Going under isn't hard. You go to sleep. What is hard is waking up and being in pain. And you will be in pain.

Do everything the doctor tells you to do. You especiallly don't want to do anything to encourage dry socket. Make sure that you keep up with your pain medication. Don't wait until you are beside yourself with pain to take your medicine. If you keep it in your system, it will really help you.

If I were you, I'd get some stool softeners from the drug store to take while you are taking pain meds. They can cause some pretty major constipation and that's something you don't want to have to go through while you are in pain. That has happened to me, so I'm bringing this subject up...

Best of luck here. I hope that the dentist is an oral surgeon. That's really best.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

You want to be put under. This is oral surgery. There is a lot of hands in your mouth.. etc.

It is like if they were going to do surgery anywhere else on you.

You will be fine. Anesthesiologist are doctors that will monitor you..
The funny thing is you will go under and when they wake you up, it will feel like you just went under. I even asked my mom, when are they going to start the surgery?

You will be groggy, some people are a little nauseous.

They will have you rest a while, then place you in a wheelchair to get into the car. Go home and plan on a nap..

You will need to decide what you can handle.

I had a milk shake.. I only drank a little bit at a time. the first day.

My appetite came back by the next day, but I had to be careful with the stitches. No pain, but a bit of discomfort, just trying to chew some items.

Also my jaw was sore.. They say I have a small mouth, so I guess when they propped he jaw open it became sore. We are not used to this.

Follow the directions about rinsing your mouth and how to care for your mouth until it is healed.

You are going to do great. I remember the pain before the surgery.. those wisdom teeth caused me terrible earaches.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I had all four of my wisdom teeth pulled at the same time and Yes, I went under for that. It was really no big deal. For me, they sat me in the dentist chair gave me a shot/IV and it was like falling asleep. Next thing I knew I woke up laying on a "nurses bed" (like you would see in the school nurses office) with two thick rolls of gauze sticking out of my mouth. I remember feeling like a walrus. The doctor will give you pain meds and written instructions. Mine went so smoothly that I have no horror story it was more of a no big deal. You will be fine, don't let everyone else's story freak you out.

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answers from Wichita on

Hi, L., I had all 4 wisdom teeth pulled at the same time. I was 'under' during the time, and I am SOOOOO glad I wasn't awake for it. I, too, have heard nightmares about people who were awake having their wisdom teeth extracted.

When you are 'under,' the anesthesiologist MUST be in the room the entire time (I believe that is a law). They will be monitoring your vitals. If you do happen to wake up in the middle, there is a strong likelihood that you will not remember waking up (and you shouldn't feel anything).

It's great that you only have 2 wisdom teeth...I would assume that this is going to make recovery a lot better! Every person reacts differently to having their wisdom teeth out, but remember that this is actually a really common procedure. I would encourage you to consider putting some Vaseline on your lips before surgery (call to make sure this is okay)...they have to open your mouth really wide to get way back in there, and this could tear the corner of your lips a little (this happened to my sister, but she also had SIX wisdom teeth...she must have gotten your missing two!). Afterwards, I was slightly nauseous, but it did not last long. Follow the instructions that the doc gives is very easy to stop early, because you're feeling better, but sometimes you'll have a really good day and the next day you will feel worn out again. Sometimes the after effects of being put to sleep can cause you to have a little extra energy, but this is not something that is going to last, so force yourself to relax and take it easy. Make sure you have someone to help you take care of any kiddos for a couple of days after (preferably OUT of your house so that you can rest). You also might see if you can pick up your prescription pain meds BEFORE going in for extraction so that you can save yourself a stop on the way home (which someone else has to drive you home!).

ADD: I would definitely take of at least Thursday, as well. I was a senior in hs when I got mine out. Mine were out on Friday morning. I had the weekend at home. I went back to school on Monday morning for a big AP exam and ended up having to leave at noon on Monday, because I was so exhausted. I was good to go again on Tuesday.

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answers from Grand Forks on

The being "put under" part was fine. Recovery was painful, but I had all four extracted, and three of them were impacted.

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answers from Kansas City on

I went under, terrified, and I was fine. They put an IV in, which is why I was so terrified, and I made it through that too. When they were putting my needle in, they said my shoulder would ache right before I fell asleep. It happened that way. In about 15 seconds. My husband said about 10 minutes later, they called him in to say I was done. I only had 2 out. You will not wake up in the middle. You WILL wake up at the end. You will be groggy for a very long time, so you will be sleeping a lot that day. And you will probably want to take the next few days off too, just in case you have pain, which you probably will. Ask for some pain meds, or make sure you have some good Tylenol or Advil. YOU WILL BE FINE!! And by the way, I am taking my 16 year old son to the oral surgeon tomorrow morning, to get his 4 wisdom teeth removed. He is a little nervous too. Make sure you follow their instructions exactly, as eating soft foods and nothing crunchy, be careful when brushing your teeth, and don't use a straw or you could get a dry socket. I got one, and it was painful but not the end of the world. Good luck to you. Oh, and don't forget that YOU WILL BE FINE!! : )

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answers from New York on

First you are not put under as in general anesthesia, intubated. You get IV drugs and remember nothing. OK. Two out will not be a problem at all. You should be fine to go back to work on Thursday. If you want to play it safe, do it on a Friday this way you have the weekend. I had six teeth taken out with local novacaine, was stitched up, had a bridge placed immediately and went out to lunch later in the day. I had something soft to eat. Rey to real. Not bad at all really. Had my four wisdoms teeth out a zillion years ago and just remember one or two days of discomfort.

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answers from Springfield on

First, you won't wake up. If you have to go under, you will be very closely monitored by an anesthesiologist whose sole job is to monitor you and your vital signs and adjust the medication accordingly.

I have had to go under many times. I believe the process is very much the same no matter the reason for going under, but forgive me if your experience is different.

I think you have to have an iv. This is so medication can be quickly and administered and /or adjusted. The medication to put you under will be given to you through the iv.

I've usually had a feeling of getting sleepy and my eyelids getting heavy. Without really meaning to, I usually attempt to wake up by opening my eyes really wide or suddenly (he he). The next thing I remember is a nurse talking to me, letting me know that the doctor is done and asking me a question or two.

You have to have someone else drive you, so any instructions you are given will be given to that person as well. Don't worry about remembering anything!

It's really going to be ok, but it's also totally normal for you to be nervous. I get nervous every time, and I've done it more times than I can count!!!

As far as recovering goes, just follow your doctors orders and call the office if you have any questions. They are used to this, and you won't surprise them!

Good luck!

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answers from Honolulu on

It is fine.
I had 3 pulled at one time.
It was fine.
I went to an Oral Surgeon.
They know what to do.
I was not under general anesthesia of any kind.
They just numbed the area.
I had it done in college.
I recovered fine.
You can ask them what to take for pain.

2 weeks is a long time to wait, when you are CURRENTLY having pain and trouble from it. Can you tell them? So they can maybe schedule you in earlier?

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answers from Washington DC on

I was in my early 20s. I had all 4 removed - some were impacted and some not, but even if the insurance paid less for the non impacted ones, I wanted them OUT. Once. Done.

I was a little loopy when I woke up, don't remember a thing, and had some pain, but they will give you a prescription. Make sure you get that filled in advance and take it on schedule the first day, vs when you feel pain. I was on regular Tylenol within a couple of days (didn't want to use more Vicodin than I had to).

My SD has also had hers out. Neither of us had any issues. My sister had a dry socket, but got it resolved quickly.

Buy some frozen peas for your face. And soft food.

I could have gone to work on Monday (had them out on Friday) but figured I was still swollen so I stayed home. They won't let you have the surgery unless you have a driver, so plan for that.

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answers from Norfolk on

I was 16 when I had all 4 wisdom teeth out.
I was under for only a short time and I was eating pizza 3 days later.
I had a large thumb shaped bruise on my jaw for awhile (they were hard to pull out).
It's a common procedure and many people have no difficulty with it.
Relax! (well, as much as you can while in pain - sort of gives you some sympathy for cranky teething babies).
If co-workers attempt to tell you horror stories, tell them "No Thanks! I don't want to hear it!" and walk away.
It's rather insensitive of them to scare you like that.

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answers from Anchorage on

When they put you "under" for your teeth it is not as deep as for sugary, they just make you really sleepy in a sense, you fall asleep and when you wake up you are done. It is not nearly as hard a wake up as you get with full sedation (I have had both). Relax.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Do you have to be put under? I had 4 of mine removed at the same time. The top ones were out and easy to pull. The bottom ones were impacted and sideways so they had to scrape and break them to get them out. I was awake for it and have laughing gas and Novocaine. I just brought headphones and I'm not very squeamish so I wasn't freaked out. The whole procedure took 45 minutes and was not as bad as I was expecting. I drove myself there and back and went home and took a nap.

If you're worried about it ask the dentist plenty of questions.



answers from Baton Rouge on

Modern anesthetics are a lot safer than the old-school ones, and the recovery time is pretty fast. You'll be groggy the rest of the day but the chances of you not waking up are so clse to zero as to not be worth seriously considering.
Wisdom tooth extraction is not dentristry. It's not having tooth pulled. It's oral surgery - they have to cut into your jawbone to remove it. A local anesthetic won't do the trick. You do NOT want to be awake during it.

You will not be back at work Thursday. There is a good deal of swelling and pain after, and it is difficult to talk because of it. There is a reason they prescribe Percocet for pain. You will need it. Some oral surgeons actually wrap your head in an ace bandage to manage swelling. Just touching your face is going to hurt. You will not want a phone next to your cheek either.



answers from Madison on

Everyone responds differently to the anaethesia (going under), the actual surgery itself, as well as their recovery.

When I was in college, I had all four wisdom teeth taken out at the same time. Had to go into the Twins Cities to have it done. Very easy operation--my teeth were not impacted. When we got back home/to our town, my dad had me buy a chocolate malt at the DQ (after about a 45 min/1 hr drive). I ate the whole thing, then promptly threw it all back up in the sink. Then my dad said, now you should feel 100% better. And you know what? I did! He said eating something and throwing up soon after having anaethesia usually always made him feel better. Just getting those chemicals out of the body makes a world of difference.

But I digress.

Once I threw up, as I said, I felt terrific. And when I came down with dry socket in one of the wisdom tooth holes a day or two later, it was just a little bit of a pain. I wasn't too concerned about it--because friends had told me horror stories about their dry sockets and how awful they were and how they hurt like the dickens. I wasn't sure that's what I had, but I did make myself drive all the way back down to the Twin Cities to see the oral surgeon. They were skeptical that that was what I had, based on our phone conversation, but when I got into the office and they checked--sure enough, I had a dry socket. They packed it with some medicated stuff, and I was good to go. That took care of it, and I never had another issue with any of the four holes.

My mom had all four of her wisdom teeth pulled in her 30s, I believe, when we were younger/teens. All of her teeth were impacted. Her cheeks swelled up until she looked like a chipmunk storing seeds for the winter, and she laid in bed for almost a week. She also doesn't take pain very well.

Her and my reaction to having our wisdom teeth out were way different.

I was on college break when I had my wisdom teeth out. However, I had no complications and could have gone back to work. My mother, as I mentioned, was out of work for a week. There's really no way to know how you're going to react; it depends on so many factors.

I think I would expect not to miss work but to be realistic and realize that you might have to miss a day or two. It's always better to be prepared in case you need to take some time off.

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