Students and staff share wisdom teeth stories

Depicts a canva of pain relievers after wisdom teeth removal. Information from and canva by Makenna Miller.

On average, five million people get their wisdom teeth out each year.

“So I got three out at once,” said guidance counselor Stephanie Smith-Durkin. “I didn’t find out until I was in the chair with my dentist that he doesn’t do the laughing gas or I.V. All he did was local anesthesia. I was awake, and I could feel the pressure of getting the teeth pulled out. My husband laughed at me because all I wanted to do afterward is to eat soft foods, lay on the couch, and watch a good movie. We watched Teen America, and while I was laughing, blood was coming out the side of my mouth. It was a horrible experience.”

The main reasons why people have to get their wisdom teeth are jaw size, gum pain, crooked teeth, or cysts are forming on the teeth.

“I had two appointments for taking out my wisdom teeth,” said junior Sydney Keene. “The first one was getting my top two, and the second was the bottom. The first [procedure] caused the most pain. They gave me laughing gas, and I was really nervous about it at first because I thought it [would] hurt. When they actually put me under laughing gas, I was like ‘this is not too bad.’ I was laughing the whole time, I didn’t feel anything; it felt like I was in a cloud. I was very giggling, they could hear me laughing down the hallway.” 

Oral surgery usually takes about an hour to an hour and a half.

“A big, big, big tip when it comes to getting your wisdom teeth taken out; make sure all four are taken out,” said senior Tanasia Miller. “It was in seventh grade when I got my wisdom teeth taken out, and no one believed me at all. But I started getting headaches, migraines, and my face started to swell. My parents took me to the dentist, and my dad said ‘hey, I think all four of her wisdom teeth are coming in,’ and the dentist didn’t believe us until they took the X-Ray scan, and saw all four of them coming in. When I got my wisdom teeth removed, I got the I.V., and they threw hot blankets on me, and the dentist started counting down. I remember wondering why they were counting down because I was wide awake, but then two seconds later I was out.”

People who get their wisdom teeth out have food restrictions. For the first couple of days, stay away from any hard or hot foods and stick to soft, cold ones like jello, apple sauce, ice cream, and pudding.

“I went to an oral surgeon,” said librarian Frances Whitmore. “They put an I.V. in, and they put some medicine to numb it. They pulled both of the [wisdom teeth] out at the same time. I was knocked out, and when I woke up, it didn’t hurt because it was still numb, but as the numbness started wearing off, then my [teeth] started hurting. I ate a lot of ice cream, which was the upside to it. Slowly it got well, and I was fine.”

10% of the population keep their wisdom teeth.

Guidance counselor Chris Murray said he did not have to get his wisdom teeth out.

Usually, if someone’s wisdom teeth do not bother them, then that’s a sign that the procedure is not necessary.

“I think people might be dismissive of, ‘Oh, I’m getting my wisdom teeth out, everyone does it,’ but there are risks involved,” said oral surgeon J. David Johnson from US Health News. “It’s important to pay attention, and ask questions.”