Tim Richardson

Melbourne, Australia

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wisdom teeth: a theory for why they are so named.

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A day before my planned extraction of four widom teeth, I googled for news. I'm a text person; I'll read about anything. I wasn't prepared for the full Google experience: the search cheerfully returned links to youtube videos of the operation! Which was too much information.

In the chair, we had a chat and only three needed to come out. Off we go. The local anasthetic injections are only a minor discomfort. The extraction of the teeth involves almost no pulling. The tooth is twisted to get it out of its socket. The twisting went well, but the operation didn't proceed smoothly after that. The bottom of my tooth was very large and it was difficult to remove. No force was required, well no pulling force, but there was a lot of drilling and activity. The noisiest part was the pliers used to grip the loose tooth slipping off. Eventually it was all out, but that took 30 to 40 minutes; each tooth is supposed to take ten minutes at most. We called it a day after that. I'm glad I did it in the chair. There was almost no physical discomfort and I did not find the operation mentally uncomfortable to "observe" (can't really claim to participate). I was able to walk home (although Tris picked me up in the car).

The pain in the following week was horrible. It seems to go on and on. Today, ten days later, I'm still taking painkillers, although it is getting better slowly and today I may take only two or three paracetemols. I had a followup appointment which concluded I was healing well, with no dry socket, but some food debris caught in the socket causing minor infection. That's why rinsing is important.

Having only one side done was very lucky. I was planning to have both sides done. It worked out differently and I'm glad of that. For sure, if you have the option of extraction in the chair (if your teeth are not impacted) I'd go for one side at a time. The operation is no big deal.The recovery afterwards is horrible, and that's the same regardless of how you do the operation. I only had my first cavities this year (I'm 40) and I haven't had any teeth problems since I was a kid; this was my first extraction as an adult. So I'm not at all experienced with mouth operations, but I won't care very much about future extractions (the operation, that is). The aftermath was much worse than I expected. However, the pain I was getting from the teeth was also horrible.

And my insight :-) We call them wisdom teeth because they force us to make a rational decision about the best choice between two unpleasant alternatives.



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Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 December 2009 05:33