Everything You Always Wanted to Know (Or Not Know) About Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Dudes, I got my wisdom teeth out last Friday.

Let me tell you something, the sound of your teeth cracking like  splintering wood is something you never forget.


After a long gestation, I decided not to go with sedation against the recommendations of many friends.

Luckily, I was only having two teeth removed (one tooth never came into existence and the other is in hiding) and they were relatively easy extractions, otherwise I would have maybe, maybe, gone under.

But not only was it $400 cheaper not to be sedated, but, I’ll be honest, voluntarily putting myself into a  coma is a terrifying thought. It’s even more scary when you hold the knowledge that THREE SEPARATE PEOPLE you know of have died while in the dentist chair. THREEEE!

The alternative to being knocked out is Novocaine, which worked out perfectly.

Since sharing my wisdom teeth perils with friends online and in real life, I’ve discovered that a lot of twenty-somethings are in similar situations that I was in- the little bitches need to be taken out, but *dental insurance is a thing that only corporate people with polo shirts have.

I spent months researching the most painless and inexpensive way to get your wisdom teeth extracted and here are a few pointers:

1.) Look Into Clinical Trials– Austin has a legendary clinical trial clinic called PPD where they’re perpetually doing wisdom teeth extractions in exchange for your first born taking experimental drugs. I’m sure many large cities have such programs. The wisdom teeth program in Austin varies from time to time, but when I looked into it, they paid $400 and extracted two teeth. The drug they were testing was a name brand sleeping pill/pain killer hybrid. I was selected to do the program, but chickened out last minute because I didn’t feel comfortable staying overnight at the facility. I’ve talked to several acquaintances who have completed this program and it’s completely safe and legit, but being sensitive about the surgery, I much preferred not being performed on in a windowless building in East Austin where I was referred to only as a number.

2.) Research the Living Shit Out of Oral Surgeons/Dentists in Your City, But Not So Much That You Neglect Your Oral Health– Because I was no longer doing the clinical trial and making coin off of my wisdom teeth, I spent many months researching dentists and oral surgeons that were affordable for people without dental insurance. My research was so in-depth and time-consuming, that my teeth finally got to a point where I could no longer wait, and I ended up selecting the first oral surgeon who could get me in the next day. I lucked out in that not only is he one of Austin’s most affordable, but also extremely professional and comforting.

3.) Don’t Go to a Sketchy Clinic– I highly recommend the oral surgeon I went to. His name is Dr. Todd Eggleston and his office is in a convenient central location near 5th and Lamar. His Yelp reviews are aces! Not only was he able to see me the next day (many other dentists/oral surgeons couldn’t see me for 3 weeks!), he was very thorough and attentive. Never did I once feel uncomfortable during the procedure and the whole experience was pain-free! In fact, I was so ecstatic that the procedure was easy, that I had a shit-eating grin on my face through the entire operation. The surgeon probably thought I had taken the painkillers before the extractions. At the office, we also met a lovely caseworker who takes her clients to Dr. Eggleston due to his fair prices and kind attitude. I had a friend who was in a similar situation- needed emergency wisdom teeth extraction, but didn’t have dental insurance- and went with one of the cheapest dentists she could find. She ended up going with Castle Dental and spent more money than I did for the same procedure. Her experience was also significantly painful. When she told the dentist that she could feel the tooth being pulled from her mouth, they suggested that she didn’t know what she was talking about.

4.) Sedation vs. Novocaine– As I mentioned earlier, folks have mixed feelings on this subject. Many friends told me that I was crazy not to be sedated. Others said it was not worth the money or the time you would eventually lose from being weird for a number of days. Because my surgery was fairly minimal, I opted for the Novocaine route which ended up being  a painless and quick experience. The only freaky-deaky part about being awake for the extractions, is the sensation of someone yanking and breaking your teeth in your mouth. I was nervous that the sensation would be quite grand, but due to Dr. Eggleston’s skillz, I barely noticed a thing. I didn’t even see him take the teeth out of my mouth. He’s magic. If you’re having all four teeth extracted at once and they’re deeply impacted, I would recommend being sedated. If most of your teeth have broken through your gum and you’re only getting a few done at a time, I would recommend saving the $400 and pride yourself in having toe-curling details to share with everyone after the procedure.

5.) Don’t Use a Bong Through Your Nose While Recovering from Wisdom Teeth Surgery– This is not advice from myself, since I don’t smoke weed, but advice from a friend who told me this quite seriously. When she took a hit through her nose, it caused dry socket X a million and she subsequently had to go to the surgeon several times a week for six weeks where they manually applied ointment into her wounds.

6.)  Get Creative With Soft Foods, Otherwise You’ll Die From Starvation- Truthfully, the worst part of having your wisdom teeth pulled is not being able to eat the foods you love for several days. Even though my teeth are healing up nicely, I’m still gun-shy to eat salads and crunchy veggies. These past few days I’ve been mainly eating soup, applesauce and mashed potatoes, which are all delicious items, but annoying when you’re forced to watch your boyfriend eat Mother’s famous Garden Patch Salad with Cashew Tamari dressing on it. IT’S STUPID TORTURE.

If you want to see what extracted wisdom teeth look like, I posted a very bloody photo of my little monsters last week. The photo offended a few, so instead of sharing it on my blog, here is a link for the morbidly curious (it’s really not that bad- some people are sensitive!)

*Dental insurance is not that expensive, but unfortunately pays for very little each year. I opted not to get dental insurance because I figured I would be getting $800 in savings a year (I need thousands of dollars in work done) and could potentially save more money by paying out of pocket (some dentists like cash over payment from health insurers). Either way, if you don’t have dental insurance, it’s worth looking into. The plan my health insurance broker showed me was only $20/month.

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  • Reply Jim Ranes August 28, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Very interesting, I never had to have this done…I count myself lucky, I guess. Hope you are feeling better!

    • Reply hipstercrite August 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      You are lucky, though getting removed really isn’t that bad. Especially if they’re already through the gums. I’m feeling a little better each day. Thank you!

  • Reply Carlos Kohler August 28, 2012 at 11:58 am

    You have to let someone hit the bong for you, only to clear it yourself. #dedicated

    • Reply hipstercrite August 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      Hahaha. I will pass that information along to whomever needs it.

  • Reply suzy August 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    oh my goodness!!!! thank you. i’m going in on thursday to get all four taken out, and because i’m a cheapie i’m not getting put under either. i’m just bringing my ipod and cranking it up so i can’t hear the cracking. but this made me feel a bunch better. you’re my hero. cheers.

    • Reply hipstercrite August 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Good luck, Suzy. Seriously, going under is for pussies. If you have a good oral surgeon, you won’t feel a thing with the Novocaine. I didn’t. Like I said, the only weird part was hearing the cracking and it’s really not that bad. You can consider it a new and interesting experience. You’ll be just fine! If you do feel any pain or sensation, tell your surgeon immediately and they should pump you with more Novocaine. When my surgeon was pulling out my bottom molar (they require more Novocaine), I could feel it. It wasn’t painful, but I could feel it a little in the nerve. I said something to him and he immediately gave me Novocaine. Didn’t feel a thing and he yanked that puppy out! The worst part is going to be the potential pain you have afterwards. Particularly the hunger pains!

      • Reply suzy August 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm

        bless you.

  • Reply Sandra August 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Were your teeth impacted? Were they the bottom or top? The thought of going under freaks me out!

    • Reply hipstercrite August 28, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Sandra, I had two teeth removed. One was fully exposed and the other was “soft tissue impacted”, which means it was hidden under the gum, but not way down in the bone. The fully exposed tooth was in the upper left side of my mouth, and the partially impacted one was in my lower right. Due to the simplicity of the surgery, it seemed redonkulous to go under. I’ve talked to several people who had all four removed and they didn’t go under either. It’s not really necessary unless it’s a heavy-duty surgery. Some people get really really scared at the dentist, so I think they go under strictly based of off fear.

  • Reply Hannah August 29, 2012 at 6:38 am

    Wow, I’ve never seen anyone before this have a positive story to tell about getting their wisdom teeth removed. You made it sound much less painful than a lot of the horror stories I’ve heard from friends.

    I must say though that I’ve never heard of anyone dying in a dentist chair. I’m sorry for your loss with those individuals, but I can’t help but wonder if those were extremely unique situations?

  • Reply Ivan Toblog August 29, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I had mine out sometime back in the ’60s. I must’ve forgotten how much fun it was because the rest have joined the wisdom teeth.

    I did learn, though, not to use a straw to drink any beverages until healing was sufficient.

  • Reply Candice May 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Hello! I just moved to Austin last year and I need to get my wisdom teeth out FINALLY! Unfortunately, I didn’t heed the words of advice from my Orthodontist post braces at age 15 (9 years ago)! So, I’m coming upon needing to get them out because my other teeth are hurting and they are slowly shifting the bottom ones out of place. All of mine have at least partially came through and from what I can tell, decently straight. I was wondering if you could message me how much you ended up paying at his office? I’m dreading getting this done financially but I can’t keep putting it off!

    Thanks so much!

    • Reply hipstercrite May 13, 2013 at 10:13 am

      Hi, Candice!
      I ended up paying around $700 total for x-rays, removal of two partially impacted wisdom teeth (I didn’t go under- that saved me $400) and two follow up appointments. If I got all four done, it would have cost around $1500 (I assume) and if I went under with four wisdom teeth, it would be close to $2000. I had a friend pay $3500 recently, so $2000 is pretty good. You might be able to find a little cheaper, but this doc is legit. I highly recommend! I didn’t feel a thing and they were so nice.


  • Reply Ellia May 28, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks for the great advice. My boyfriend needs to have his wisdom teeth removed soon and we’ve been really worried about being able to afford it (he has no insurance). Dr. Eggleston seems perfect for our needs! Thank you again!

  • Reply DeeJay July 17, 2013 at 1:17 am

    Oh boy.

    Sounds like you got lucky. Upon returning from a glorious vacation, with some swelling and pain in my lower left jaw, I went in for an exam and was told that I needed an emergency extraction of that one wisdom tooth.

    They say it was seriously impacted and the x-rays were pretty terrifying, proving that fact.

    It’s 2am where I am, on the 5th day post-op, and here I am. Awake and in some pretty notable pain. Nothing too excruciating, but enough to have a light sleeper like me in total discomfort and awake right now.

    I’ve been doing tons of research and reading to see if I may be experiencing either dry socket or some sort of infection.. But with so many varying post-op outcomes and possibilities, I’m just not sure what to think.

    I suppose a trip back to the surgeon is in order, but my scheduled appointment isn’t until August 1st (about two weeks post-operation).

    I guess what I’m really hoping to hear about is; just how painful your recovery was, how soon you could eat normally again, and how long before your swelling and pain went away?

    It’d be really nice to hear from someone real, and not some med report written by some doctor ages ago. I know your circumstances were much different than mine, but I’m hoping based off your answer, I can judge whether or not my pain is normal.


    • Reply hipstercrite July 17, 2013 at 9:27 am

      Hi, DeeJay! Sorry you’re feeling yucky! Having wisdom teeth removed can SUCK!
      I will tell you this, the most painful part of the entire procedure was a few hours after the novocaine wore off from the procedure AND later when the dry socket hit. The doctor told me that no matter what I do, I’ll probably get dry socket where my lower wisdom tooth was removed. It is more difficult to remove teeth in the lower jaw and removing them leaves a bigger/deeper hole. Are you have pain in your lower jaw? Truthfully, I think you should call the doc and tell them what is up. When I went back in, they placed a numbing strip over my sore wound and it numbed the pain for days. Life would have been tough without it (though putting that numbing strip on my wound was the most painful part of the entire experience- it only lasts a second though). As for swelling/pain, it probably took a few weeks. It wasn’t until about a month later that life really got back to normal. Good luck!

  • Reply Gabriella April 10, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Hi My name is Gabbie! I have wisdom teeth coming in but I’m not sure how many or where. I don’t want to get put under so I was wondering if the shot hurt really bad or not? I hate people getting close to my face. I plan on getting them out soon but I can’t tell if how far along they are? Any ideas on how to gauge that? Anyways money is not an issue with me but I’m really scared. I’m almost 17 years old.
    Thank you 🙂

  • Reply Paul Thompson September 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    I totally agree with your statement that don’t go to a sketchy clinic. Having this kind of surgery, you really need to go to a full-pledge dentist. I’m glad that you do the right thing. There are some people, who is risking their own safety just to save money. Little do they know that this will worsen the situation. And those tips are very helpful, by the way.

  • Reply Jan November 6, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Had my wisdom tooth removed last Friday an it is now Thursday. I still have pain, enough pain to take the Motrin every 6 hours still. The pain is effecting almost the whole side of my face including the other teeth on that side. Does anyone know if this is normal?

  • Reply Brittany August 2, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    I am getting my wisdom (stupid?) teeth out next Monday. Most friends have told me that it wasn’t too bad. I’m just really nervous. I guess I’d rather get them out while I’m 20, because apparently the older you are the more diseases you get.

  • Reply Get Paid For Wisdom Teeth Removal Austin - Impacted Wisdom Teeth Clicnic August 3, 2015 at 4:07 am

    […] Everything You Always Wanted to Know (Or Not Know) … – Reply Hannah August 29, 2012 at 6:38 am. Wow, I’ve never seen anyone before this have a positive story to tell about getting their wisdom teeth removed. […]

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