Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Incentive: Wisdom Teeth Removal...Yuck!

This is a bit off topic from my regular posts, but read on if you're curious...

So, I have to get my wisdom teeth out. I fully expected to have to have all four out, but would you know it...I had a consultation a week or so ago and found out that I only need to get two out and they are not impacted. Supposedly, per the doc, he can "easily" take these two teeth out in 10 minutes by, basically, pulling them out. He said I could choose to do local anesthesia (novocain shots...ick!) or IV sedation. Now, I know I'll sound like a big baby here, but I'm just not sure I can handle someone digging around in my mouth for 10-15 minutes with sharp, pointy tools, so originally, I was leaning towards the IV sedation. I talked to the insurance lady who is supposed to give me a quote in a week or two for how much I should owe after insurance and she said she didn't think insurance would cover the IV sedation for "2 easy extractions" (funny how everyone keeps calling this "easy"). So, I find out that the IV sedation is roughly $350. $350?! I'm thinking that I could do some serious shopping damage with that much!

I haven't decided what to do yet. The thought of being conscious during this "easy" procedure freaks me out. I mean, I've had fillings, but this seems different and much more scary somehow. But, then, the $350 price tag isn't sounding so hot either, not to mention there is that 1 in a million chance of dying (I know...I'm super paranoid...it's so silly). So...long story short...I'm thinking I need to offer myself some incentive to take the novocain shots. What do you think? Is sitting through the procedure worth a $100 shopping spree? I recently got a really expensive bill from the car people, so I don't really have $350 to spend at all, but I figure it's better to spend $100 I don't have than $350 I don't have, right? I mean, I'm practically saving myself money here, right?! lol

Do any of you guys have any other ideas for incentives or would you just pay the money to be out during the procedure?

18 comments:

Redhead said...

I've had one done with novacane and three done with... I thought was laughing gas but maybe an IV but I was OUT. It's not a fun experience either way. I don't think you should think about the cost, just think about how you are going to feel. It's not pretty!

Shopaholic D said...

Thanks for the insight Redhead! Did you think the 3 w/ novocain were bearable or would you do all four being "out"?

:) D

shebop said...

I had 2 out with laughing gas - there was no IV - I wonder why they are suggesting that....
I would ask about the gas - I felt nothing and it was an easy procedure. The only yucky part was spitting out blood - but I was eating pizza the 1st night - seriously!

Marie said...

I am the biggest chicken there is when it comes to pain however, when I had my wisdom tooth removed I did not want an IV sedation because for some strange reason being any anesthetic or sedative scares me. I'd rather be awake and numb from head to toe. My periodontist gave me approx 5 injections of novacaine. The first two pinched, I won't lie. After that the other 3 injections I did not feel. Yes, I was a nervous wreck but he promised me I would not feel any pain. He was right, I did not feel any pain during the procedure. The only thing I felt was the pressure of him working on my mouth/jaw (sort of like someone leaning on you) but I swear to you - no pain at all. What bothered me the most was keeping my mouth open for that long - it's tiring and sore. After it was over, surprisingly, I still did not feel pain and I did not need to fill the pain killer prescription he wrote for me. Now, my positive experience could have been because my wisdom tooth was cooperation and NOT impacted. But I think if you have a really good doctor, you should not feel pain. And I have a low threshold for pain. What hurt was the bill. $1500 out of pocket because my insurance did not cover it. And it was only one tooth! I'd say, put the money towards a shopping spree as a reward for being brave and let him numb you up real good. I'm so glad I did not ask for sedation.

Good luck!!!

Karen said...

I was awake while having my four wisdom teeth pulled. You seriously cannot feel it, although I kept thinking that I was swallowing my tongue. I think the pain while recovering is much much worse. Good luck!

Teresa said...

I had all mine pulled out w/ regular old novacain. It didn't take long at all & the novacain worked fine for the pain. I'd say if you are comfortable with your dentist go ahead & go the cheap route. Another plus is that you can drive yourself home from the dentist's office. Good luck!

Cherish08@LiveSpaces said...

I did all four at once with the IV... and I recommend it to everyone!! I hear that you heal faster that way too, not sure if that's true fr everyone but the next morning I was back up and running like normal

Stacy said...

I've not had a wisdom tooth removed, but I have had other dental work done with just novacaine (root canals and crowns).
I guess I would just go with the novacaine... after all, we all pulled teeth as kids without even that much to help us. :-)
As far as seeing the sharp tools, I doubt you'll notice it much, since it's awfully difficult to see into the back of our own mouths. ;-) You can be sure to ask the doc to keep them out of view (I asked mine to do that for some recent work, and he was very respectful of it).
And from a financial POV, spending $100 you don't have is really just as bad as spending $350 you don't have. How about a milkshake reward instead?

fashion is personality said...

I've had two of my wisdom teeth removed, and I had no choice but to get the local anaesthesia. I am petrified of injections so I had to be sedated just to take the injections. It isn't pleasant the first time, but it gets better with each injection ( I had to take 4 when I removed the first one). When it comes to the removal of the tooth, it really wasn't that bad. Yes I was feeling drunk meanwhile, but 10 minutes really isn't that much, it was over much quicker than I ever dreamed of. So don't worry. It's really not that bad.

Unless you develop any inflammation.

Shopaholic D said...

Hey Shebop - I had laughing gas at the dentist when I was younger...not sure why they don't seem to give it to adults...or at least not to adults at the places I go...I always like the laughing gas! lol

Marie - I am the same way! I am afraid of not waking up again. I have to weigh my options - be uncomfortable for 10-15 mins or be afraid of the anesthesia. I bet they would do a test if you asked them.

hey Karen & Teresa - that's good to know! Thanks for sharing - makes me a lil less scared of going the novocain path to know it wasn't so bad.

Hey Cherish08 - I'm afraid of the IV sedation, but I'm sure it's much more comfortable. I'd probably be more likely to go for that option if I had to get more than just 2 teeth out. I'd feel like such a pansy doing the sedation for 2 extractions...but, we'll see. Nice to hear that option is good, too!

Stacy - that's a good idea - I think I'll ask him to keep them out of eye site. I'm also thinking of bringing something to cover my eyes and some headphones...lol.

Hey Fashion is Personality - I had novocain shots recently for fillings - I can handle those ok...especially since I know what to expect with them.

Thanks for all the comments guys! You all rock!

:) D

kokostiletto said...

omg... oh no.. honesly i have a low pain tolerance (and even though you are frozen) and still pretty much a wimp... i couldn't handle being awake... i was put to sleep but luckly our health insurance in canada covers all that...

however i think you are a pretty tough gal - you could prob do it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shopaholic, I am a dentist so maybe I'll add my 2 cents here.

Your options when you have having your wisdom teeth removed are:
1) local anaesthesia alone (freezing)
2) nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
3) oral sedation
4) IV sedation

Most likely your dentist is talking about deep sedation and not general anesthesia so you will not be unconscious, just heavily sedated during the procedure. This makes the surgery easier on you since you will feel less anxious.

Even if you get good local anesthesia, you can still hear the sounds and feel lots of pressure which may not be pleasant for you. Also provides some amnesia so you don't remember what you may hear. The procedure will probably go more smoothly and faster if you are sedated, because your mouth can be propped open and therefore cooperation (or lack thereof) is not a problem. This may perhaps reduce some post operative pain.

If your dentist has called the extractions "easy" then I would trust him/her on that. Why did they suggest IV sedation, is it because you expressed your nervousness or did they just recommend it based on the type of procedure?

If you had a good experience with nitrous oxide (laughing gas) before, then you will probably be fine with that. It is not just for children, we use it commonly for kids and adults alike. The advantages of nitrous oxide are safety and rapid recovery. But perhaps your dentist did not suggest it because their office isn't equipped for it.

By the way, "novocaine" seems to be a commonly used term to refer to local anesthetics but just wanted to clarify that this drug is not really used anymore.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Christine said...

I had the IV when I got my wisdom teeth out (all 4). I was really nervous about the procedure because I've never had an IV and needles freak me out. They actually did gas first and then the IV so I didn't feel the needle going in at all. I don't remember the surgery. When I woke up I thought they hadn't started yet. I was so drugged up I needed help getting into the wheel chair and then into the car. I slept all day after the procedure. I don't think my doctor does any non-IV extractions, but I'd definitely recommend the IV. There's no way I could have been awake during mine.

Shopaholic D said...

lol, Koko - thanks for the vote of confidence :)

Hi Anonymous 12:35am - firstly, thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed post. your feedback is much appreciated - esp w/ your expertise. When I had my consultation, the Dr explained that they only needed to do two simple extractions and gave me my choice of local anesthesia or conscious IV sedation. They do general anesthesia at this office (where they practice oral surgery - oral & max..fic...something), so they are trained in anesthesia. I tried to ask which method would be best for anesthesia (of my choices) and he said either would be fine, but I said that I'd rather not be awake for everything and I guess I sounded nervous, so he seemed to think the IV sedation would be a good option. Then, the more I started thinking about it, I was afraid of the IV sedation (I'm paranoid and afraid of not waking up, basically), not to mention, I feel like a big baby wanting to be put out for 2 simple extractions...plus the cost is weighing in. I am leaning towards local anesthesia right now if I can listen to headphones, give myself a $100 shopping spree treat, and maybe take a valium or two to calm my nerves. We'll see. Thanks again for the detailed comment!

Hey Christine, that's what I hear - you just feel the needle prick and wake up with the surgery all over. that must be nice! I would probably lean more towards the IV sedation if I had 4 to take out. 2 and I feel like a big baby. lol

:) D

Lindsay said...

I'm getting my wisdom teeth out next tuesday! I'm nervous but reading some of these comments makes me feel a little better. I'm getting an IV..there's no way I could be awake.

If you decide to stay awake, I'd recommend bringing an i-pod and play some music to stifle the sounds. good luck!

Shopaholic D said...

Hey Lindsay, Good luck w/ yours! :) I am def planning on bringing an ipod if I stay awake...still waiting on the insurance lady to call w/ a quote on whether my insurance will cover IV or not. I just need to get a great playlist together...something loud! lol

:) D

Affordable Teeth Whitening said...

Ok so I had 4 wisdom teeth removed on wed, and im already going to loose my mind eating mashed potatoes, smoothies, soup broth and jello. Anyone have an suggestions for other things to eat? I have no swelling or pain, just I dont want anything that I don't have to chew too much or that would get caught in the holes. yuck.

Anonymous said...

I am having 2 lower impacted wisdom teeth removed and am sooo scared of the nerve damage that my Dr. had to tell me in order to give my consent for the surgery. Did anyone have this type done? What was the recovery time you experienced. Any tips would be appreciated.