Words of Wisdom

Emma Mackey, Staff Writer

Wisdom teeth removal is a common rite of passage for American teens. As children enter high school and these molars begin to develop they can cause potential problems, leading many families to opt for the surgery. I am one of those kids. For teens who may be apprehensive about the surgery, the following is my  story about my experience with wisdom teeth removal surgery.

The night before I had to go in for surgery I made sure to read over all of the papers that I was given. They were filled with information about what I should to before and after surgery. I made sure that I didn’t eat or drink anything so much as water during the six hours prior, picked an outfit that would allow for comfort as well as the inevitable IV, and made sure to sign the papers that required it.

The morning of the surgery we drove down to the office in Loveland and checked in. I didn’t wait for more than two minutes before they came to get me, sat me down in a room, asked me medical questions, and gave me the rundown.

There are some surprising risks involved in wisdom teeth removal. Dr. Reynolds informed me of the fact that since the teeth get very close to some of the facial nerves that there was an 8% chance that I could lose feeling in my bottom lip or that he would damage some of the nerves that are attached to the naval cavity.

Many people are under the impression that wisdom teeth aren’t harmful if they’re growing in straight, the fact of the matter is that this isn’t true. As humans have evolved and  diets have changed, this third row of molars are simply unnecessary and no longer fit. When third molars come in they will commonly come in sideways, displacing  teeth that have already grown in. Jaw shape is the issue, as the wisdom teeth they try to develop at the end of the jaw, where the bone begins to curve. Not only can the roots of these teeth cause detrimental nerve damage, they can also create issues with the other teeth, pushing them around in order to make room.

The surgery itself was really easy. They reclined the chair I was sitting in, hooked me up to some heart monitors, put an IV in my arm, and put the oxygen tubes in my nose to make sure that I kept breathing during the surgery. After that I don’t remember much, as I was out for over an hour. When I woke up it felt like I had just blinked.

After waking up from surgery I was still under the effects of the anesthesia which, according to my family, meant that I was slightly hostile. It wore off relatively quickly and then I was only angry because my mouth hurt.

A few days post-surgery, life was back to relatively normal. There were more normal food options than applesauce or pudding. Overall the pain was tolerable, especially with the aid of the pain medication and the ice packs that helped to minimize the swelling in my face.

Getting my wisdom teeth removed wasn’t a terrible experience; following the instructions that they gave me really helped to avoid complications and it only took about a week to feel fully recovered.