Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wisdom and Wisdom Teeth

I had all four of my wisdom teeth extracted as an adult. I was in my early thirties when they started bothering me and they needed to come out.

On the day I got my wisdom teeth out my husband stopped for some bags of frozen peas for me to use as ice packs to keep the swelling down. He says when he returned to the car (which he parked right in front of the very busy main doors to the grocery store) he found me completely knocked out with my oozing open mouth up against the glass of the car window. It sounds completely gross but for some reason my family has found it to be a hilarious story for years and years.

The recovery was horrible as it is for most I guess but I had an added problem. I could not speak properly and the pain was horrible when I tried to talk. I went back to the surgeon within a couple of days to see what was wrong. Whoops, he had accidently sewn my tongue to my cheek. Another hilarious story for my family to laugh about (once I was feeling better of course)!

As part of my post-op recovery I was left with part of my tongue being numb, some lost taste buds, and a "hot spot" behind one of my back molars that I have always warned the dentists not to touch. They all have to find the spot and touch it because I spark their dental curiosity. None have been able to resolve any of those issues for me.

So, as my children got older and needed their wisdom teeth out I have had to put on a brave face and help them through it despite my very own deep dislike of the experience. The kids can be pretty darn funny following the surgery. It is later when the pain meds don't manage the pain as well as you would like, swallowing hurts, eating is gross, swelling occurs, and the constant ice pack routines that turns getting your wisdom teeth into being not one bit funny.

Today was one such day. My youngest and who is celebrating her 22nd birthday this week had her wisdom teeth taken out this morning. She couldn't be funny for me because her oral surgeon sent her home looking like a Walrus! Her cheeks were stuffed tight with cotton and gauze and she had a huge poof of gauze coming out of her mouth probably 6 inches long. It looked like tissue paper coming out of the top of a gift bag(or Walrus whiskers).

She was still feeling groggy and not feeling embarrassed about her appearance at all. If she had cared she certainly couldn't have complained about it. I ran her through the drive through pharmacy to drop off her pain med script, through Wendy's to get a days worth of Frosty's, and through the Sonic drive through to get a bag ice for her ice packs. I finished up the errands by picking up the filled pain script.

In the weeks leading up to today the discussion came up as it always does on why do we have wisdom teeth anyway? I did a bit of research on it today between ice bag runs which have been going on every 15 minutes for the last 14 hours. Here is what I learned:

Our early ancestors diets were course and rough. They ate things such as leaves, roots, nuts, and tough meats. They needed far more chewing power than we do with our modern technologies of forks spoons, knives, tender meats, and soft foods. Our early ancestors would wear their teeth down and they needed the extra teeth in their early adulthood to be able to chew. I learned they are called wisdom teeth because they usually break through between the ages of 17 and 22 a time of life when wisdom is gained. What? That must have had more to do with eating leaves and roots or maybe it went out the window with the invention of forks and spoons! Wait, what does that say about me being in my early thirties?

So, the next few days are going to be spent taking care of the baby of our family until she gets back to normal. While my energy level has seen better days my empathy for wisdom teeth removal is still in it's prime! My night is going to be like having a newborn in the house. While some of my lasts as my children have grown up have made me feel sad this particular last is just fine with me!


  1. Wow, your experience with wisdom teeth is just about the most painful one I've run across... I've had lots of dental horror stories myself, but NO wisdom teeth-- either I've evolved (I AM vegan lol) or never broke through into wisdom? One of my sons never got wisdom teeth either, and I heard my maternal grandfather was born with a tooth (not that that relates to wisdom teeth at all). Hope your daughter survived the trial... mouth pain has to be the worst. God bless!

  2. He sewed your tongue to your cheek? I am not a fan of going to the dentist and I think if one had done that to me I'd have never gone again!!!

    PS You are a great nurse and I bet you are very much appreciated.