Words of Wisdom

March 22, 2016

Bloody gauze, UDF malts, packets of cold peas, and chipmunk cheeks. As the average teen approaches her later years of high school, the unwelcoming news of removing her wisdom teeth is brought to the scene.  There are always a lucky few who are not affected by their third molars, but the rest of us eventually receive the words that it is time to get those bad boys out.  Wisdom teeth are often removed because they come in crooked. A crooked wisdom tooth can permanently damage adjacent teeth and throw off the alignment that braces work so hard to fix. Because of this, it is well advised to have the procedure done. Wisdom tooth removal usually only requires a single appointment and follow up, and recovery typically lasts for a few days. Also, anesthesia is administered to put you to sleep, resulting in a virtually painless procedure.

Diagram of Wisdom Teeth

 

 

Upon hearing that my time awaits in the near  future, I was particularly unhappy.  My older sister had endured the process a few years ago and the experience left her sore, bloody and in bed for few days with nausea. In order to calm the nerves, I decided to interview the veterans, the conquerors, of the battle against wisdom teeth.

 

The first person I interviewed was Grace Widmeyer ’17 who got her wisdom teeth removed in the summer of sophomore year.

The Light: Describe your wisdom teeth experience.

Grace: “I was pretty nervous the day I was supposed to have it but not really leading up to it. All I remember from beforehand was going into the room and sitting down in the chair (I had never been put under before or had any kind of surgery) and the nurses and doctor talked me through the whole thing. I think I was more nervous about getting the IV in my arm than the actual surgery, so they walked me through that and it wasn't bad at all, I thought it was going to hurt but it wasn’t even as bad as getting a shot. They put a bunch of Vaseline on my lips (so they wouldn’t dry out with my mouth being open for so long) and then the anesthetic started to kick in and I don’t remember anything else from that point. I think I remember waking up in a different chair to some kid screaming next to me and seeing two clocks on the wall (where there was only supposed to be one) and the nurses saying that I woke up! And while they were trying to talk to me, I closed my eyes again. I barely remember being put into a wheelchair and but I  remember getting into my car with my mom. At this point I was not experiencing any pain yet. My cheeks were pretty puffy but the pain did not kick in until a day or two later. My face was just sore not really any shooting pain”.

Gracie showing off her chipmunk cheeks as she ponders

 

The Light: Was there a particularly funny moment?

Grace: For me nothing particularly really interesting happened. I was just kind of quiet on the car ride home and I stared out the window the entire time. I think I told my mother to take a video of me and at one point I commented on a squirrel or something and also about a bandage on my arm where the IV went. I sent some pretty bad pictures to my friends (which you will get to see) because I was not fully in touch with reality, even though I thought I was.

The Light: What advice/ tips do you have for those awaiting their surgery date? 

Grace: My surgery really wasnt that bad. It wasn’t like a major event for me now and I don’t remember a whole lot about how much it hurt. If they give you an icepack to strap on your head definitely use it. I used it almost nonstop for the first few days and I think that’s the reason I had minimal bruising and my swelling didn’t last very long. The first day I didn’t think I was going to need it but the following few days are when your face starts to swell up. take most of your meds but don’t overdo it (I didn’t use all of mine because eventually i was able to deal with the pain). I ate a lot of jello and yogurt the first day or two (and almost nothing else) and pasta and muffins as well. It kind of hurt to brush my teeth but I didn’t want to get an infection so I did it anyway and I used the little irrigator (that squirts water) to clean out the holes in the back of my mouth. Stitches were annoying and I was kind of afraid to touch them and eat but you get used to it and then they fall out and are really gross”.

 

The next person I decided to interview was Emma Kiessling ’17.

The Light: Describe your wisdom teeth experience.

Emma:“I remember having to take a lot of medicine before the procedure, and each one made me more and more loopy. I remember sitting in the waiting room with my mom after I had taken my medicine and I started crying because all I wanted was Panera bread when I knew I couldn’t have it for weeks. I also remember being more scared of the IV needles than being put under.”

The Light: Was there a particularly funny moment?

Emma: “ On the way home, my mom got me a UDF chocolate malt and my mouth and tongue was so numb I had no idea what was my mouth and what was my chin. The next morning I woke up with chocolate stains all over my white t-shirt because I had been sloppily tying to shove the milkshake in what I thought was my mouth but had missed and hit my chin instead.

The Light: What advice/ tips do you have for those awaiting their surgery date?

Emma:“Don't be worried about the surgery itself, you will hardly remember it. And just eat a lot of ice cream and milkshakes and enjoy being pampered by your entire family for a couple days”.

 

I decided to interview one last person, Gracie Walter ’17, who had her wisdom teeth removed only a few months ago.

The Light: Describe your wisdom teeth experience.

Gracie: “My wisdom teeth experience was very nerve wracking especially when I was waiting in the lobby. I was in a lot of pain the few days after the surgery and I felt very funny, not like myself, because I was loopy and I felt extremely tired.”

The Light: Was there a particularly funny moment?

Gracie: “One funny memory was when I was in the recovery room and I saw very strange hallucinations of the most random things that are too weird to mention.

The Light: What advice/ tips do you have for those awaiting their surgery date?

“Prior to surgery, I advise you to get a good-night's sleep. Make sure you have a comfy couch and a T.V. where you can live for the next three or four days, and also make sure that you have prepared your food ( food has to be extremely soft, like milkshakes or mashed potatoes) I couldn't even eat Kraft macaroni and cheese the first night because it was not soft and small enough.”

Gracie icing her puffed cheeks and giving the peace sign

 

 

As seen with Grace, Emma, and Gracie, wisdom teeth removal isn’t all that bad. You get delicious treats, pampered by your family, and a nice few days to catch up on sleep. While surgery may not be your choice of how to spend a Sunday afternoon, not getting a problematic wisdom tooth removed can lead to greater health risks down the road. Embrace your abnormally large cheeks and ridiculous loopy videos- the experience will surely be a memorable one.

 

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Cincinnati, Ohio 45206