My Scar Stories


Getting My Wisdom Removed:

A Sort of Halloween Horror Story

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 shoulder length hair 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 probably won’t need these, but take ‘em anyway. They’re groovy.”

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. 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 Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to My Scar Stories

  1. My husband calls them “whiz-DUMB teeth,” and for good reason. I have bad memories of the one I had that didn’t want to leave – it had a root wrapped around my jawbone. I guess if pain makes us wiser …

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Kathleen Ellerman says:

    So true. Really enjoy your take on life’s everyday moments.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Paula Light says:

    Still have all my wisdom teeth. Still waiting for the wisdom…

    Liked by 4 people

  4. joansanusi says:

    You write so well it is as if I was there all those years following you around and laughing all the way! Can’t stop laughing! The humor in this piece is so relatable!;Thanks for making my day already!🙌

    Liked by 5 people

  5. joyroses13 says:

    Ooh you make my mouth hurt! I thankfully had mine removed all at the same time. I did enjoy reading your story though, thanks for entertaining us with your “scar stories” and making a good message with them. See they had some benefit. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Pingback: My Scar Stories | Mitch Teemley

  7. Ms. M says:

    You might be my favorite new writer.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. hcmorris77 says:

    I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was 15! And was higher than a kite, even when I got home (my dad had to carry me in the house as I couldn’t walk!). My son was 18 and walked out on his own! Times have changed!!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I think I’ve had those dentists.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I read this while in a quiet waiting room. Mistake. I thought I would implode. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Eliza Ayres says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:
    I had three wisdom teeth removed all at once… ouch, and woke up walking down the hall crying my head off, while being guided to the recovery room. Then I had to go to work…

    Liked by 2 people

  12. lprslr says:

    Ha ha- I tried to stay awake as long as I could to master the sodium penathol – mistake. I saw the mouth of the pseudo dentist, bigger than my head, saying “aaaaarrrrrreeeee yyyyyyooooouuuuu asaaaaslereep yeeeet?” I closed my eyes quickly.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. rsrook says:

    I had all four of mine removed at the same time and was awake for all of it. I was sobbing, shaking, and spitting up blood pretty much the whole time. The experience was so traumatic that I completely stopped going to the dentist for nearly a decade after.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. kkessler833 says:

    I was lucky. I only had two and they were in and easily removed.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. rugby843 says:

    This is great, 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I love having my wisdom teeth. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Love it! My cousin never had issues with hers…so my brother used to tease her and tell her it was because she’d never be wise!
    I don’t think any of us are ever ‘fully wise’ – but we’re continuously growing and learning and gaining ground in wisdom….and that’s great 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  18. This was a great read while still awake (not on purpose) at 2 AM. Thanks for the 😁’s!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. gregoryjoel says:

    I get it. I have a serious case of dentophobia (I even looked it up to see if it was a real thing…). A bad experience with gas and no Novocain is to blame. However, my wisdom teeth were a breeze. They pulled all four at once and copious amounts of IV anesthesia made it a bearable experience. Unfortunately, it also left me with swollen jaws that earned me the name “Chipmunk” from my then-girlfriend’s father – a severe emotional scar for a seventeen year old.

    I still panic when I sit in the dentist’s chair surrounded by sundry torture devices. Fortunately, the dental clinic I go to keeps my fears from becoming my reality. Several years ago I had to have a broken tooth extracted. My fear level was abnormally high. High enough in fact that I had to sit in the chair for 30-45 minutes to let my blood pressure drop so they could do the procedure.

    The dentist who performed extractions was a short, 5’1″, Vietnamese man who spoke with a heavy accent. I didn’t quite understand everything he said to me but I was grateful he was an expert in deadening my mouth. The experience ended being more comical than painful.

    Apparently, it was an extremely difficult extraction. After several attempts to get the remaining piece of tooth out, I looked up to see the doctor on top of me in the chair yanking and cursing in alternating Vietnamese and English. I wish I had a picture!

    Have a great week. I appreciate your writing my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. mitchteemley says:

    You have colorful dental tales of your OWN to tell, Gregory! I question the accuracy of the term “phobia” here, however. Phobia means an irrational fear of something, and there’s nothing irrational about fearing someone ripping your teeth out! ;>}

    Liked by 1 person

  21. smzang says:

    I feel almost guilty for laughing about your pain, but it is totally your fault.
    A well told tale.

    Liked by 2 people

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