I wanted to remind everyone that the Wisdom Teeth Removal Survey is still ongoing. If you are new to this site or a long time visitor and have not yet taken the survey I encourage you to do so.
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Below is a response from someone who completed the survey. Remember the survey is anonymous and is not linked to you in any way.
I am 23 and currently suffering from the decision for prophylactic removal of my 3rd molars, a.k.a. wisdom teeth. Prior to the operation, I was perfectly healthy.
During surgery, the doctor almost ripped a nerve running through my jaw, as my wisdom teeth were particularly complicated to remove, and one of them had the roots wrapped around a nerve. I instructed him to stop pulling after I felt immense pain under 2 shots of anesthesia to that area. I was lucky that he was also educated on the matter and elected not to chance it. In fact, he himself was the one who informed me that it may be possible that the root tips might be wrapped around a nerve. Why that wasn’t investigated prior to extraction is beyond me, and I hope it’s not common in the industry.
After surgery, I have not been able to sleep without the aid of a pain killer. My throbbing swelling has persisted for one week (today), and, although it’s gradually getting better, the full recovery time for such an operation is 6 months, according to my dentist. I am also at risk for getting an infection, for which I refused prophylactic antibiotics. I don’t need to learn the same lesson twice. Prophylactic medicine seems like the work of soothsayers and apothecaries.
I like my dentist. They seem very caring, practiced, and informed about their industry, but the conventional wisdom of prophylactic removal is an unnecessary evil upon dentistry and its patrons.
The reasons I was given to remove the teeth were to prevent crowding of my other teeth, infection, and future extraction. Well, now I’m at the risk of infection anyway, which will endanger the other molar — anyway. This is not to mention what would have happened had my doctor removed the root tip that was wrapped around my nerve. All in all, I suppose I got lucky, but the $1300 I paid out of pocket (thanks U.S. insurance system I can’t afford) is certainly not worth the pain I’m going through now. And to read this data suggesting that my symptomless, infectionless, painless wisdom teeth had more of a chance of staying that way than not simply adds insult to injury, both physically and otherwise.
Love your wallet, love your mouth, love your body, keep your wisdom teeth until they have a problem. You’ll be going through the same pain anyway.