Friday, May 6, 2016

"Will getting wisdom teeth removed affect my score on IQ tests?" and other serious questions your dentist thinks you're joking about.

Getting wisdom teeth removed can be a daunting experience. 

You read horror stories on the internet about 'dry socket' or 'nerve damage' or 'he smashed my teeth up with a hammer and chisel and removed the shards from my jaw bone with his fingernails'. Or watch terrifying documentaries like 'Little Shop of Horrors'. Now, I'm no expert (or 'Dentist'), but I do know a thing or two from personal experience (I know nothing, I was solidly unconscious), so I've compiled some useful facts to put your mind at ease about wisdom tooth extraction.

"Will getting wisdom teeth removed affect my score on IQ tests?"
My dentist said no, but he was laughing so I feel he didn't understand the question fully.

Based on my limited research, I would say, yes. Most likely.
They're called wisdom teeth for a reason. And I know they might be causing you excruciating pain. They might be pushing up against your other teeth, forcing them to move about and causing irreversible damage to the roots of the adjacent molar. They might be growing side-ways and coming out the side of your mouth like tusks. But I have two words for you: Intelligence hurts.

"How many times can I faint prior to the surgery before the dentist loses respect for me and asks me to leave?"
Definitely at least once. I said to the dentist, "I'm terrified of needles, there's a strong chance I'll pass out when you inject me". We both laughed heartily as I looked away and he fastened the strap around my upper arm to get the vein. I was doing great til he told me that he wasn't giving me an injection, he'd inserted a cannula into my arm and would administer the sedative through that. Those things are fucking disgusting. When I came round a few seconds later twitching and in a cold sweat, I laughed weakly and said, "Told you I'm a fainter". He laughed too, but the smile no longer reached our eyes.
Bonus tip: the dentist holds your sedative for ransom. If you forget to breathe, he'll cut you off.

"Will the dentist kneel on my chest, smash my wisdom teeth up and lever the shards out with the dental equivalent of a crowbar?"
Quite possibly. I'm going to say yes, but frankly I have absolutely no memory of the event and am purely basing that on a dream I had a few days prior to getting my teeth out. Your mouth and jaw will hurt for a few days after the surgery, and the above scenario would definitely cause those symptoms.

"If I get sick after the surgery, will the acid in my vomit travel through my empty tooth socket and into my skull and burn through my brain?"
An understandable worry, and a very common one at that. Again, the answer is, yes, most likely.
Think of the roots of your wisdom teeth as little plugs. When you pull the plug out, you open your brain up to exposure from the outside world. I'm sure you've seen the funny videos of people talking nonsense after getting wisdom teeth extracted. That's because their thoughts are literally leaking through the holes where their teeth were. 
Thoughts are usually harmless. Stomach acid is not. Swallow it down.
In my case, the dentist plugged my empty tooth holes with gauze soaked in a clove oil mixture, thus sealing my brain off from the world. Ironically, the taste of the gauze made me sick.

"I don't agree with witchcraft, can I still wash my mouth out with salt and water?"
Unfortunately, no. Everyone knows that salt is a powerful demon deterrent and by washing your mouth out with warm water and salt every few hours you are forming a magical salt circle of protection around your empty socket to prevent against the evil spirits and hellborn creatures who would climb into your brain through your tooth hole and possess you. If you don't agree with witchcraft, you could still technically go through the motions but to be honest, you'll probably end up infected or dead.

"On a scale of one to fat, how fat will my face be after the extraction?"
Really fucking fat. Reassuring comments from your family and friends can be helpful in making you feel better about the swelling, however. My personal favourites (mostly from my younger brother) include:
"How's your face today? Still fat?"
"Your face is ridiculously funny"
"Your face is so fucking fat."
"Oh God, you're so ugly"
"I can't stop looking at your face, it looks so stupid"
"Aw man, you're hideous"

Similarly, as you rest up for the next few days, allow your family to take pictures of your face and apply silly filters to even more grossly distort your features.

The main thing to remember, is not to take it all too seriously. 
Sure, you're at risk of infection, your face will swell and might bruise, you won't be able to eat solid food for days, if you smoke or use a straw you could dislodge the blood clots necessary for healing and give yourself dry socket, but at the end of the day, it's all a bit of fun isn't it?

You only get max. 4 wisdom teeth, if any!! Make the most of the experience! Neck a bottle of vodka before you go in for your extraction and laugh with glee as what could be either 1 or 4 dentists, you can't be sure, struggle to stem the flow of your thinned blood! Kidnap the tooth fairy if she comes and torture her for a large sum of money in exchange for her freedom. Apply for disability allowance for loss of limbs! Burn down your neighbours house and blame it on the medication; you're down a few IQ points, you don't know any better!! 
Most of all, wish the experience on those you hate, so you can laugh at them when their turn comes.