Tuesday, March 8, 2011


 Anything I've ever done that ultimately was worthwhile... initially scared me to death.

D-Day is approaching quickly ! In just 2 days I'll be getting E I G H T teeth extracted;
  • 4 premolars (two upper, two lower)
  • 2 impacted wisdom teeth (lower)
  • 2 wisdom teeth (upper)

I get mixed reactions when I tell people. Most people automatically get this look of horror on their face.
It's like a reflex, they can't help it. Then they either follow up immediately with words of encouragement or continue to tell you their wisdom teeth removal horror stories. More people want to share their horror stories. It's hard not to get freaked out. I've found some comfort in researching it & through words of encouragement from others & as wimpy as I'm acting- at my core I know I'm damn strong!

I KNOW I want a beautiful straight smile
I KNOW I want to avoid future issues due to the impacted wisdom teeth
I KNOW all the work that has already gone into working towards this goal
I KNOW how much money I've already invested in my teeth and this process
I KNOW how happy I'll be when my teeth are straight and the braces are off
I KNOW how long I've wanted this
so . . .
I KNOW that I need to get 4 premolars & 4 wisdom teeth extracted in 2 days
Time to "man up", quit the belly aching and deal with it. period.

So, that's what I'm doing. I'm dealing with it. My way of dealing with it is researching it to death in an attempt to resolve each of my fears. Having an idea of what I'm in for helps & knowing what to do about the pain, swelling, bleeding makes me feel much more confident. I've also realized that this is about so much more than just getting some teeth pulled. I can't recall the last time I was afraid like this. Like I said before, I'm  a strong person and pretty tough too. I'm actually surprised at myself for being such a scaredy cat. It's definitely a real life case of "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway". Have you read that book? Susan Jeffers wrote it. I got through 75%+ of it when I read it several years ago. It's pretty good, if the self help type stuff suits you. In the end it got repetitive like most self help books do - hence my only getting through about 75% of it. Anyway, Susan Jeffers tells readers the...

Five Truths about Fear
Truth 1. The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.

Truth 2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.

Truth 3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out… and do it.

Truth 4. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I’m on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else.

Truth 5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.
~ Susan Jeffers from Feel The Fear... And Do it Anyway 

Truth numbers 2 & 3 ring particularly true for me right now, but they've been here all along. I've been so insecure and ashamed of my teeth for such a long time! I've been teased about my "snaggle tooth", told that I'd be so pretty IF I'd just fix my teeth. I've learned which angles to pose in & deleted dozens of photos where my crooked teeth were just too obvious. I've monitored my enjoyment as not to smile TOO big and show my unattractive teeth. To make a long story short, my crooked teeth have been an issue for me. I used a mask as a defense system. A lot of people never even realized that the appearance of my teeth bothered me. That's because my mask of choice was confidence. I'd act confident and smile, but that's all it was - an act. Inside, I was hoping I had my angles right, wondering if people were staring at my teeth, hoping they weren't as put off by my smile as I was. So, you see getting orthodontic treatment & FINALLY "fixing" my teeth is quite a goal for me to achieve! And right now I need to conquer my fears and keep my eye on the prize! :)

Wow, did I ramble! I can't leave you without sharing some of the info. I found in my hours of research. Here are just a few of the better resources that I found;

Archwired - Getting Teeth Extracted for Braces
Of Note:
  • "Fast forward 10 years. Here I am, at age 43 in braces, with a near-perfect smile, which was only achieved by -- you guessed it -- extracting 4 second bicuspids. Boy, do I wish I'd had this done 10 years ago. Now I feel really silly for being so scared and waiting so long." 
Oral Surgery Info. & Animations 
Of Note:
  • "When orthodontic treatment is performed for a patient the dentist is trying to perfect the alignment of the patient's teeth but they can only do so within the confines of the size of the person's jaws. Especially in those cases where a large discrepancy exists between the size of the patient's jaws and the needed space required for the improved alignment of their teeth, some strategically located teeth may need to be extracted."
How to Prepare for Oral Surgery 

Of Note:
  • "bite on a moist black tea bag. The tannic acid in the tea has been shown to reduce bleeding and assist with clotting."
Really Good Animation of Wisdom tooth extraction 

How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed? (Disclaimer: I am the type of person who likes to understand what procedures involve, if you do not then this may be too graphic for you)

  • Swelling 
    • Any swelling that does occur can be kept to a minimum by placing ice on your face in the area where the extraction has taken place. Position the ice on your face for 10 minutes, and then leave it off for the next 20 minutes. Repeat this cycle as you feel is necessary for up to 24 hours after the extraction.  
    • The principle associated with the above  technique is as follows. The cold environment created by the ice pack causes the blood vessels in the region to constrict (become narrower). Due to this constricted state, the blood vessels won't be able to transport in as great a quantity of swelling-causing fluids. As a result, during that time frame when your body creates swelling (the first 24 hours after your tooth extraction), a lesser amount of swelling will form. 
  •  DO NOT USE sipping STRAWS for about a week. The pressure change in your mouth can cause clots to become loose or dislodged. Clots are important in the healing process. A dislodged clot can often lead to a "dry socket" (exposed bone and nerve endings) which can be extremely painful.
  • Don't use aspirin, as this may cause excessive bleeding at the extraction site.

People always make the wolf more formidable than he is. 


  1. good luck with your extractions, it is definitely mind over matter. I myself had 6 teeth extracted. all 4 wisdom teeth, 2 impacted and 2 upper premolars. I had a melt down pre oral surgery, i took a valium which helped a little. Just breath and keep calm before you know it, it'll all be over with and then it will all be a memory. It is definitely a life changing experience to overcome your fears. I wouldnt go into so much research because it may actually psych you out, as It kinda did to me. I hoe you have a good experience, it really isnt all that bad when it comes down to it. it is really important that you trust and feel comfortable with the oral surgeon :)
    again, good luck!!! everything will be ok youll be so happy you did it for yourself :)

  2. Hey, your post is so honest and true, I feel the same way about my jaw surgery. I'm so scared. I've already had 4 premolars extracted, I think I wrote that on another comment on your blog, but honestly it was the best thing. I used to have really overcrowded teeth, They were all over the place and I hated smiling, I also had people telling me how nice I WOULD look if I had my teeth fixed. The extractions are nothing but a memory now, and I love my teeth, even though I have to have jaw surgery :(
    It will all go great! You will love your new smile :)
    I can't wait to hear your post-surgery blogs and hear about all the great progression.

  3. Thanks for the encouraging words! As you can see, my recovery isn't going quite as well as I had hoped it would.

    <3, you are right that even though I was in such extreme pain pain yesterday - it's already just a memory today. I can't wait for the whole thing to just be a memory! lol

    Vero, I love your blog! Jaw surgery is definitely scary, but you're going to feel so much better when it's done and over with! You'll fix your bite and more importantly, your headaches and TMJ will go away! yay! And we can get over our fears together!