My Scar Stories


Getting My Wisdom Removed

They’re called wisdom teeth because they emerge when we reach adulthood (late teens to early 20s) and are now officially “wise.” Yeah, right. How many wise 18-year-olds do you know? How many wise any-year-olds do you know?

Here’s my theory: Things go wrong. And wisdom teeth, which nearly always go wrong, are called “wisdom teeth” because they remind us that some of the decisions we make will become “impacted” (toxic relationships, cell phone contracts) and will need to be yanked out by the roots.

And it’s gonna hurt.

My first wisdom tooth showed up when I was 18. The dentist had a fu manchu and played acid rock while extracting errant teeth. But, damn, he was good. “That was easy!” I remarked. Dr. Feelgood smiled, handed me a packet of painkillers, and said, “You won’t need these, but take ‘em anyway. They’re groovy.” Everything was copacetic. I even liked the way the little scar felt under my tongue.

Fake out. 

Wisdom tooth #2 showed up eight years later. (What had it been doing all this time?) I was in grad school and had free dental coverage. “Cool!” No, not cool. Because the free coverage amounted to being practiced on by a student dentist from Transylvania. “Oh, thees ees a bad one!” Dr. Eyegore said. And then, in order to break the tooth into manageable pieces, he pulled out a fiendish little jackhammer. Almost immediately, he slipped and put a hole in my cheek the size of Lake Michigan. “Oooops!” he said with a grotesque giggle. 2 ½ hours and fourteen Novocain injections later, he removed the last archeological fragment.

The pharmacist refused to give me morphine. For three days I begged my girlfriend to kill me.

#3 and #4 showed up when I was a married. They recommended pulling both teeth out at the same time. “No, no, no!” I begged. “Well, it will cost a little more, but we can give you Twilight Sleep (morphine),” the dentist said. “Yes, yes, yes!” I screamed. I offered both of my children as payment.

They put a diving mask on my face and said, “Count down from 100.” I began counting: “100, 99, 98, 97, 96…” Then I saw the dentist leaning in. “Nah, naht yeht, I not unner yeht,” I mumbled. “We’re done,” the doctor replied. An hour and a half had passed.

He’d removed the last of my wisdom teeth. Along with my brain, apparently. My wife followed me as I wandered through the pharmacy like a lost toddler. “He had his wisdom removed,” she explained to gawkers. And just as well.

Wisdom hurts. 

To read my next Scar Story, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, Humor, Memoir, Story Power and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to My Scar Stories

  1. profsloan says:

    Mitch, as I still have my wisdom teeth, does it make me wise? Having lost yours, does it mean you are ?? Perhaps it’s not wise to say so!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ekurie says:

    Mercifully all 4 of mine came in and thus went out at the same time. Sodium pentathol. Don’t remember a thing. Went to NYC with my roommate the next day. My sons’ on the other hand have never appeared. Nothing on X-Ray. Maybe he’s just that far evolved…?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. LOL! I had mine removed and than a second set came in. Not fair, Lord, not fair. Who has double sets of wisdom teeth? This is not quite the miracle I was looking for! The dentist thinks it’s pretty cool. I do not share his enthusiasm. Also, I’ve just kept them. That guy already owns all my earthly treasures and my firstborn, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Anni Harry says:

    Loved this! It had me chuckling quite a bit!

    Only had two of my three removed – there’s a cavity for the fourth, but no tooth or root. Like you, mine was similar to your fourth extraction.

    Great piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yup, being wise hurts.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Quirky Girl says:

    They say wisdom is gained through challenging and, at times, painful experiences. I suppose the name “wisdom teeth” has more to do with painful experiences than any wisdom imparted by an all-knowing 18 year old… 😜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Erika Kind says:

    Oh, what story! I still have my forth wisdom tooth. And it will stay with me as long as possible. Removing the third one was not fun at all!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. All four out at one time. At the initial exam, the nurse gave me a couple of pills: “Take these before you come for the extraction. They’ll relax you a little.” Yeah, they did. On the way to the dentist’s office, I was waving at strangers in other cars, drooling and smiling idiotically. Had to be helped into the office. The effect lasted for a day or two, which was nice – didn’t need the morphine!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. smzang says:

    I truly am LOL !

    Reading your ‘wisdom scars’ made me think that Mark Twain would claim you as his own!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. brunniegetchell says:

    Loved reading this. Your Scar Stories are the best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jon says:

    I can relate to the Transylvanian dental student. Had mine removed in the NAVY with a bone saw because they were impacted so low. Sorry, no drugs. Back to work! You tell your story well. I am laughing out loud.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Still have all mine. I rather keep my wisdom than extract them! Awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ann Coleman says:

    This post made me laugh, which is odd because I can relate to your pain oh so well… I have had two root canals and two crowns this summer, and am still going to the dentist on a weekly basis to finish up work on a night guard that is supposed to make my teeth finally stop hurting! Thank goodness my wisdom teeth are all gone…
    And just as an aside, they were supposed to take all four of my son’s wisdom teeth out at once. When we got home, he told me (mumbled, actually) that he thought they left one in. I thought it was the painkiller meds talking. But we counted his teeth the next morning, and guess what? They did forget one! Seriously, how hard is it to count to four? So back to the oral surgeon he went…..

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ellen S. Tompkins Sanchez says:

    Love the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Wisdom does have a price, but hopefully we learn from it. I have those scars inside and out, too.

    Thanks brother,


    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: My Scar Stories | Mitch Teemley

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