Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Losing my wisdom

In my mind, the year 2002 will always be associated with my teeth. That year, I suffered the most painful toothache I have ever experienced in my life. It was brought on by my wisdom tooth that had only partially erupted. The eruption caused an opening in the gum which allowed bacteria to enter around the tooth in front of the wisdom tooth and caused an infection.

I have to eat antibiotics and wait for the infection to heal before removing my wisdom tooth. Luckily, the extraction of wisdom teeth was covered by the private medical health insurance plans (Bupa UK) provided by my employer. I only had to pay GBP100.

The dental surgeon I consulted with advised me to remove all 4 wisdom teeth at one go. He asked me whether I prefer to do it under local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia. I asked him which one does he prefer. He said general anaesthesia so I agreed to it.

The operation was done as a day case. I checked into the hospital and was given a single private day room. The anesthesiologist visited me before the operation and asked me if I have any concerns. I told him that the previous time I went under general anaesthesia for an appendectomy, I vomited when I woke up. I also told him about my fear of anesthesia awareness where some people wake up during the operation, paralyzed but fully aware of their surroundings. He assured me that he will give me the correct dosage of drugs to ensure that both events do not happen.

I was given a combination of inhaled anesthetic gases and intravenous drugs and I promptly blacked out. For both times I underwent general anaesthesia, I was completed "out of it" - no dreams at all. It was just black out and came to. Nothing in between. I wonder if death is like that. Just black out and no coming back. Well, I digress.

Back to the removal of my wisdom teeth. When I came to, my whole jaw was sore and painful. I then slept until the drowsiness wore off. Then I was discharged from the hospital.

The recovery took a few months. The lower part of my face around my jaw swelled up big time. There were stitches in my mouth and it was painful. It was soup and porridge for me everyday for what seemed like eternity.

Before the surgery, I asked the dental surgeon to please keep my wisdom teeth intact when he removed them and he did. You can see for yourself, here they are:

They are so big. I can't believe that the teeth were fully formed and hidden in my gums. I still have them with me today. Perhaps I should string them up and wear them around my neck in order to keep my wisdom.


  1. "Perhaps I should string them up and wear them around my neck in order to keep my wisdom. "- I like the way you say it. Still unbelievable on what you have gone through but you've made it! all 4! Really salute you....:)

  2. haha.... i never have the courage to do it. :p

    some natives collect tiger tooth and you, collect human tooth?? Lols

  3. The teeth are 8 years old by now (de-tached age). I have my two upper wisdom teeth removed. I always have the fear that my two bottom wisdom teeth may one day just decided to grow much bigger and then I have to extract it!

  4. Wow!! So brave of you to have 4 removed in a go!! Good on ya!

  5. Woah~! you should have left a warning there on top! now i have no more appetite for lunch.

    (ok la, not so ugly looking, i have a worse pic of a molar tooth I extracted out. next time i shall put it up for you to see, but you have to promise to view it before your lunch too, hoh?)

  6. sdovelly, I was in such pain at that time, I would do almost anything the dental surgeon suggested to get rid of the pain. :)

    Redbabe, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going so you may even surprise yourself when it comes to that. :) My own teeth only, not other human's teeth. :p

    Eileen, fingers crossed that you don't need to extract your two bottom wisdom teeth. When I was 30 years old and no sign of wisdom teeth, I thought I was safe, who knows they decided to pop up a year later. :(

    GerryMoon, thanks! So do you still have all your 4 wisdom teeth?

    Gargles, Aiya, I didn't know you would be reading it just before your lunch. Sorlee la. Yes, yes, I want to see your molar tooth also and I solemnly promise that I will view it before my lunch. :)

  7. My dentist said I needed to remove mine soon too... sadly didn't have the time/ budget to do so. I shall pray it doesn't bother me for a while.

  8. Hi Mun, I only removed 2 from my right years ago. Still no courage to remove those on my left.. ;p

  9. I removed only 2 last time. I thought I was brave that time cause I agree to do the surgery straight away after consult the dentist. The surgery was only half an hour. But now I see you are the bravest one. Hehe! I still have 2 more to be removed. Sigh! Scary!

  10. those are really huge teeth! i am praying very hard that i wont have any wisdom tooth! hehehe

  11. Jan Banks, thanks for visiting my blog. Hope your wisdom tooth will be good and not bother you. :)

    GerryMoon, if they don't cause you any trouble, then no need to remove them, right?

    Jennifer, but I was "all out" during the surgery. Those who chose local anaesthesia and can feel the knife cutting through the gums (albeit the gums are numbed) are the brave ones. Do you need to remove those 2?

    miche, they are, aren't they? Fingers crossed that you won't have any wisdom tooth that need to be removed. :)

  12. I couldn't feel the knife cutting but for sure I could hear everything. I have to get those 2 removed soon as I saw one of them pushing to the wrong way. I was supposed to get it done last year but suddenly lost courage. Sigh!

  13. why not just give these wisdom teeth to ur grandchild? HAHAHAHA... but the teeth look so huge!!!

    i still have three more wisdom teeth to be removed but i just let it be until it gives me problem.

  14. Jennifer, ooo, I will be scared if I hear the cling clang of the knife and the other equipments. When the time comes, you'll have the courage to do it!

    Renaye, no children, no grandchildren. Yes, no problem no need to remove.

  15. I removed mine too, and yes, it's a very painful process!

    I totally have the same thought as yours, "when people die, do they just completely black out without dreams? just like after taking anaesthesia? This is one huge question, guess can only find out when it is our time... :s

  16. Hello Elizebeth, erh, if it is total black out when we die, I don't think we will know. Black out already. The end. That means we'll never know then? :S