Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Health >
My 19 year old son is scheduled for wisdom teeth surgery in the
first week of January. I never had mine pulled, but I know plenty
of people who did, and know what to reasonably expect. Today my
brother sent me an disturbing article entitled: ''Parents Sue
After Teen Dies During Wisdom Tooth Surgery'' and now I'm
worried. The oral surgeon has been practicing for a long time and
comes highly recommended.
Can anyone tell me what your experience was and or if your
children have had their's removed? Thanks.
Death during oral surgery is usually rare, but there is more risk if
the patient has any physical condition that may increase risk during
anesthesia. Physical risks can be respiratory, heart problems, or
even allergies among other things.
When my daughter had her wisdom teeth removed not too long ago, we
discussed anesthesia methods with our Oral Surgeon, we also inquired
about his staffing, who would administer the anesthesia and their
qualifications, how they monitored the patient, success rate vs any
fatalities, and emergency procedures. When I had mine out - they
used nitrous oxide (laughing gas) so I was still partially
conscious, but they only did one side at a time, and I had to have
two surgeries, but I was in a hospital dental clinic. Now they
usually do all four at the same time. If you son has any conditions
you may want to consult his medical doctor about any cautionary
Be very clear about preparing for the surgery - how many hours
before to stop eating or drinking, be sure to inform the surgeon
about any other medications being taken, what the post op procedure
is to follow and what support there is if you have any questions
after surgery or your child has any problem or persistent pain or
other symptoms, is there someone to call, can you get in to see the
doctor for followup. Also whether this followup is included in the
cost of services. If food is eaten too close to surgery you may
need to postpone the procedure. They are pretty specific about how
much time you need to allow and this needs to be adhered to.
Hope that helps - most people need to have this done now, but being
very clear with any surgical procedure is helpful.
Wishing you the best
I had all four of my wisdom teeth taken out (30!) years ago. It was
kinda cool. I went to the oral surgeon's and got some kind of drug
that left me somewhat awake, but VERY relaxed. Two of my teeth were
slightly impacted and much tugging ensued. I didn't feel a thing and
went home and iced my jaws. Stitches were taken out later and all
went well. It was a non-event in my life. I think I still have the
teeth somewhere. Hope that makes you feel better.
Hi - Well, I had mine pulled as a young adult, no biggie. But, when
I read that article to which you refer, it got me thinking. When an
orthodontist recommended braces for my 11 y.o. I did a lot of
research in medical journals. Turns out early braces (or phase one
of a two-phase braces treatment) is not supported by the evidence,
but it does buy a lot of Mercedes for orthodontists
We opted for a retainer, and at age 14 or so, we can re-assess.
So - braces are NOT the same as wisdom teeth extraction. I think I
would say, if there's no clear medical reason, I'd likely leave 'em
in. If you have access to medical journals (like at UCB library -
you'll need to go there to use the online journals) and can
reasonably research the literature, you can read the evidence or
lack thereof for yourself.
sorta been there
I am like you. I didn't have my wisdom teeth removed, but we choose
to have my son's wisdom teeth removed the summer before he went off
to college. We didn't want them to erupt while he was far away from
home. The oral surgeon did a couple of things during a pre-surgery
visit that helped us feel confident. He had us watch a film of the
procedure to know what to expect. He checked my son's weight to
ensure that the proper amount of anesthesia would be administered. I
later came to understand that this was very important. My son was a
very muscular football player who weighted almost 300 lbs. (a
defensive lineman) and they needed to get the amounts right -- too
much would depress his breathing and too little would mean he would
wake up during surgery.
After the procedure my son was very very groggy and needed to be
wheeled to the car in a wheel chair. He had to have ice packs on
his jaws for about 24 hours and a liquid diet. He couldn't rinse
his mouth because the clouting over the gums was necessary to
healing. After the first 48 hours, it was easier for him to manage
himself, but he definitely needed someone to be with him during
those first 24 hours as the anesthesia wore off. If you meet with
the oral surgeon ahead of time and ask questions about his protocols
around anesthesia, you will probably feel more comfortable and know
what to expect and how to know when things aren't right once he's
home. Good luck. I am sure all will go well.
Hi , I think I will like to hear from some of you that had the
wisdom teeth removed at this age.
It seems that the roots of my lower teeth are touching some nerve
and that the chances of damaging the nerve are very high , but
not sure if the damage is permanent or not.
So I read all the horror stories out there on the internet, but
very little info on successful stories,I did check this info with
a surgeon. I guess I need to check what other surgeons have to say.
Also one of them is partially exposed so this one is at very high
risk of getting infected.
I'm terrified that something might go terribly wrong.
How can I find the best capable doctor? So far I used Yelp, My
friends have not needed anything like this done. I didn't like my
dentist referal? Is it very painful? How long do I need to
recover? I have a 2 and a 4yo , so I know I need to plan for this
Thanks to all for any input.
Please share your stories good and bad,
In pain just to think of it!
I just had my two top wiz teeth out at 43 and it was a breeze. I
had a great oral surgeon. Forgot his name, but he was in Berkeley
and he was fantastic. I was really nervous about anestesia. Mine
were not impacted so i just did valium, gas, and then the
novacaine. I wish I could remember my surgeon's name. He was just
It sounds like you have a more difficult procedure ahead of you.
When I was referred to the oral surgeon, we had a very throrough
consultation where we discussed the process and the types of
anestesia available. If you do this you'll feel better. It sounds
like you have no choice but to have them out so you need to do it.
I was really nervous about it but am so glad I did it. I think
you will be too.
no more wisdom for me
I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was 24. It was no big
deal, the teeth popped out, I had very little pain and a very
short recovery time. My teeth are lousy - lots of fillings, a
crown, a bridge, but the wisdom teeth procedure was a breeze,
and I've had root canal work which was less painful than getting
And I have a wonderful dentist, Dr. Sepand Hokmabadi in Oakland,
654-5752, his office is near 51st & Broadway. He is very
skilled, a Bay Area native, and very nice.
I had my wisdom teeth removed as an adult and it was painful
but not worse than when I got my tonsils removed! In my
opinion, the BEST oral surgeons in town are Drs Bloom, Berger
etc in Berkeley. They have removed about 12 of my daughter's
teeth (started when she was about 6 yrs old and latest were her
wisdom teeth at age 15) and she has come through them all with
flying colors. They are so good-they know what they are doing!
You will be fine...
My husband had his out about your age. He was zonked on pain
meds the day the procedure was performed. The next day he was
much better, still had pain and continued with the pain meds,
although not as much as the first day. Ultimately, it wasn't as
bad as he feared it would be.
Hopefully there could be someway to shift any child care or
household duties to another while you recover.
Best of luck to you
I had my wisdom teeth removed right around that age, and it was easier than I
expected. Much. I was terrified (don't like dentists, had a horrible experience with
tooth removal at age 12--wasn't numb...didn't go to a dentist for 7 years after that...)
but I had a really good dentist in SF (Jeff Brucia) who was very sensitive to my pain and
fear, and progressed with each step only when I was ready. The whole procedure
wasn't much worse than getting fillings. Not bad at all. Quite painless. I'm really glad
I did it. Keep searching for a dentist who you trust...through friends or this network.
I had my wisdom teeth removed a few years back at age 29, and I
had a 4-month-old at home. I was pretty worried, as I had heard
many horror stories from friends, but it went great! I'm sorry
to say that I can't remember the dentist's name, but he was in
downtown Oakland at 17th and Franklin. Even HE said, ''Why didn't
you get these out when you were 18? The risks increase
dramatically when you are older.'' (Who me? Older?!) Well, nobody
ever suggested it! I had never had any problems with my wisdom
teeth, which had all erupted straight and weren't crowding. It
wasn't until I first got a cavity in one of them that the dentist
suggested getting them out. He said that they are nearly
impossible to keep clean, and once you have a cavity, it just
recurs. Anyway, I was asleep for the whole thing, my husband
drove me home and I never had to take anything stronger than
ibuprofen. I didn't have any swelling, and was eating regular
food about 2 days later. Before that I had smoothies, soup, and
scrambled eggs. So, I just wanted to chime in because usually
when things go well, nobody tells you! Good luck!
Older and now without Wisdom (teeth)
My husband had his 4 wisdom teeth removed when he was about 32. His wisdoms
were in really bad shape - cracked, crooked, sensitive. They dentist was also
worried about nerve damage. His oral surgeon used general anesthesia, so he
needed a ride home from the clinic. Once home, he slept and used his pain meds
regularly for the first day. We used ice packs, too. By the second day, he wasn't
using the pain meds as frequently. He never complained of pain and followed the
instructions about mouth rinsing and foods he could eat. At the time, we didn't
have children and I imagine that would change the situation. Make sure you have
childcare for that first day - you probably shouldn't be the primary caregiver after
receiving narcotics. Also, stock your fridge with jello, pudding, ice cream,
smoothies, Ensure, etc. If your partner works M-F, perhaps you could schedule the
surgery for Friday so that they could take the day off and then be available all
weekend. By Monday, my husband was much better - he even went back to work.
He didn't have infections or any complications.
He saw an oral surgeon at this group - I can't remember which one. He said he
liked the surgeon and all of the techs.
have no fear
I had my wisdom teeth removed at 30 with similar issues as yours. The oral surgeon I
went to broke the teeth off leaving the tips in, as he said the risk of removing the
whole tooth and actually hitting the nerve were too great. He said there is a slight
possibility in some people that the tips may come up, in which case they would need
to be removed. I did ''teeth'' a bit while pregnant with my second (I guess it was the
growth hormones), but it was minor and the tips did not come through. The oral
surgeon I went was Dr. Pratt in Alameda. He was great, I had absolutely no problems
afterward, and the surgery took all of 20 minutes or so. He's on Central Avenue nd
was covered by Delta Dental.
I had five wisdom teeth out in my late 20s. (Yes, five! I
originally had six, and had had the first one taken out a few
years earlier.) As you can imagine, with that many wisdom
teeth, they were a real mess -- three of them were fully
impacted, two partially, with very crooked and twisted roots.
When I saw the teeth afterward, I was astonished the oral
surgeon was able to get them out in one piece without breaking
my jaw! Even with that, though, I was more or less fully
recovered within a week. The first day was pretty rough, but
the pain subsided pretty quickly after that.
You will definitely need someone to take care of you AND your
kids for at least a day or two. I was eating mashed bananas and
drinking smoothies for about a week, so you will want to
stock up on things like that ahead of time. Most important:
FILL YOUR PAIN PRESCRIPTION IMMEDIATELY! Once the
anesthesia wears off, you will really need the pain relief for
that first day. My sister drove me home from the surgery, and
insisted on stopping on the way home to fill my prescription,
despite my reassurances that I was fine. By the time she got
back to the car, I was definitely in pain and so glad to have
those drugs! Also, don't freak out too much about any swelling
of your jaw after
the surgery; it should subside fairly quickly. Keep some ice
packs handy for a couple of days.
I'm sorry I can't help you with a recommendation for an oral
surgeon; I was living back east when I had my wisdom teeth out.
It really is best to have your wisdom teeth out if they're
causing you problems, because those problems will only get
worse over time. Best of luck!
-- Less Toothy, But Just as Wise!
I had my wisdom teeth out as an adult. They were all impacted,
I have a very small mouth, and it was just no big deal. You
will need someone to drive you home and stay home with you the
first day. Do take your pain meds right after leaving the
doctor or when you first really wake up. I slept the entire
next 24 hours basically and the next day went to a fair and
walked around all day (eating soft foods). Wisdom teeth are a
bit like pregnancy/delivery. Everyone has a different
experience and sometimes the people with bad experiences are
the only ones to report what happened. I thought it was one of
the most-over-hyped experiences ever. No biggie.
I had my five (yep, five) wisdom teeth removed at about 23.
Fortunately, the fifth tooth did not have a full root on it and
ALL of them were in straight. The procedure itself was pretty
pain-free - I actually don't remember it being painful at all
with the anesthesia - and the recovery curve was such that I
was down to regular Tylenol within two days.
A BIG piece of advice - super-long toothpicks! I would get
foodstuffs stuck in the craters left where the teeth came out,
and the only way to comfortably remove the food (swishing out
with warm water didn't help) was to use the long 'deli' type
toothpicks used to keep sandwiches together.
You will likely want to cut 'tough' things up into smaller
pieces for ease of chewing.
I just wanted to second the recommendation for Dr. Pratt in
Alameda. My husband had to have his wisdom teeth removed at age
40 and he was fabulous. Without going into detail, my husband
ended up with complications requiring follow-up visits, simply
because he had waited so long to have this done. Dr. Pratt was
incredible in handling everything and the end result is that my
husband has had no further problems. My husband wanted me to
mention that Dr. Pratt considers himself a specialist in wisdom
teeth just because he does so much of this type of work.
My 17 year old is getting her wisdom teeth (all four)
removed on a Friday soon. She still has braces on. Any
advice to help her recovery go smoothly and make her
comfortable (so she can hopefully get back to school ASAP)?
Both of my kids have had their wisdom teeth out and had
fairly quick recoveries. They were definitely ready to go
back to school after a couple of days.
Three healing things:
1) Mother love. Be there to bring ice cream, pudding,
painkillers, ice packs, the remote, keep track of the
antibiotics and painkillers, and fluff the pillows on the
couch. Nothing heals like having someone at your beck and call.
2) Frozen peas. Buy several bags of frozen peas to use as
ice packs. I was pretty good at swapping them out for the
first few hours.
3) Arnica. I gave my kids the homeopathic remedy arnica.
See http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA326567 for dosage
ideas. I'm not a big believer in homeopathy but I think it
worked despite my skepticism.
If your daughter has not experienced anesthesia before you
should warn her about the feelings she might have afterwards
(numbness, feeling out of it, etc.) (My daughter had only
foggy memories of the trip home, didn't remember our
Best wishes to you both.
My daughter just had all 4 teeth removed. I think I would
allow as much time as you can. Although she had it done on a
tuesday before Thanksgiving and went back to school on
Monday, an infection started in her gum and she still had
pain and couldn't eat food that required chewing.
Our dentist (Dr. Krey) told us to allow 6 days and boy, was
he right. Even though she was alert, she was not in
condition to focus on school and do homework for that full time.
Best of luck to you. Better now than later!
My son had all four of his wisdom teeth out when he was 17.
I was expecting the worst because I had had mine out a few
years earlier and was slow to recover. However, it was a
breeze for my son. He spent the afternoon in bed and by the
next day, he was ready to resume his regular activities. I
think he began eating regular food within just a few days.
Both of us went to Bloom & Berger on Dana St. in Berkeley.
They are great and really know their stuff. The one bit of
advice I have is keep track of the vicodin - it's a very
popular commodity in high school circles.
I had my wisdom teeth out many years ago when I was the
same age as your daughter. My grandmother did this for me:
slept next to me and set the alarm so that I took Vicodin
every six hours for one and a half days. She also put ice
packs on my face every two hours and held them there for 20
minutes each time. After 24 hours she made me jello and I
drank it when it was still warm liquid. I did this for 1/2
day, then went to warm pudding. The warmth helped.
By the end of the second day I was okay with Tylonol. No
pain, no swelling, no hunger and I was fine after that.
I will say, I did not have braces, so maybe my
grandmother's method will not work as successfully for you,
but for me it worked.
Thank Heaven for my Gram
Are there advantages to keeping your wisdom teeth if
possible? For example, putting in a bridge if needed down
the road. My little sister is considering removal at age 19,
the oral surgeon says they're impacted, but I'm not sure
what the consequences could be down the line if she
leaves them in.
Are your sister's impacted wisdom teeth bothering her? I too
have my upper wisdom teeth impacted so that they have never ''come
in.'' However, they have never bothered me. At the time this was
discovered when I was 24 thank heavens I had an honest, sensible
dentist (Dr. Pralle) who told me that if they never bothered me I
should just keep them in place. I later heard that having wisdom
teeth pulled can cause long term shifting of the teeth so that
one is more likely to start losing them in middle/old age. So
I'd say unless there is a specific problem (pain, absesses), just
keep those teeth in place.
FWIW, I kept my wisdom teeth and it is something of a mixed
blessing. There was room for them but my mouth is now so full
of teeth, going so far back in my mouth, that the wisdom teeth
are more susceptible to decay (because there is so little space
between teeth and the jaw joint, and food tends to collect in
there.) I had a cavity filled in one of them recently and it
was NOT a fun experience. If your sister's teeth are impacted,
she may not really have choice but to have them out. If she
keeps them, it's not necessarily unadulterated joy.
For what it's worth, I was told that one of my wisdom teeth was
impacted and I should have it surgically removed. That was about
20 years ago.I'm almost 50 and it's still sitting up there
minding it's own business. I've heard horror stories about
wisdom teeth, so it's hard to know what decision to make, but my
feelings are ''If it ain't broke, don't fix it''.
I have another wisdom tooth that grew down and took the place of
a molar that had to be pulled, years ago.
Good luck on your decision.
this page was last updated: Mar 19, 2012
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network