Marquette Wire

Pearls of wisdom from common procedure

Extracting humor from students' tales of tooth removal

Drawing+by+Jennifer+Walter+jennifer.walter%40marquette.edu
Drawing by Jennifer Walter jennifer.walter@marquette.edu

Drawing by Jennifer Walter jennifer.walter@marquette.edu

Drawing by Jennifer Walter jennifer.walter@marquette.edu

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The reality of crying in the car with cotton balls stuffed in one’s cheeks or singing pop songs after coming out of anesthesia isn’t unusual content for a viral video. Reactions to wisdom teeth surgery are popular on Facebook timelines, Twitter feeds and Snapchat stories.

Marquette students have stories of their own, as many have made the nerve-wracking, one-time trek to the oral surgeon’s office to have their wisdom teeth removed.

Some, like Elizabeth Young, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, took precautions to calm nerves during surgery. She prepared for being partially conscious by making a calming playlist.

“I borrowed my brother’s iPod and loaded it up with a calming playlist I could listen to to distract me from the surgery,” Young said. “I only remembered to play it when I was leaning back in the chair and they were starting to work on me, so I blindly pressed play.”

In her rush, Young ended up playing an entire Iron Maiden album and giggled her jitters away.

It can be comforting to those expecting to undergo the surgery that the average wisdom tooth removal typically lasts less than an hour. The full sedation used for complicated surgeries like heart and brain isn’t often used for wisdom tooth extraction, though the mild anesthesia can produce zany stories as patients take time to become alert.

Mark Gotthelf, a senior in the College of Engineering, had an unusual reaction when he became conscious after his tooth extraction.

“In high school, I had what most people would call a jewfro, and for whatever reason, my mom was never a fan,” Gotthelf said. “She joked that she was going to cut off my hair while I was out for the surgery.”

Gotthelf’s mother is a dentist and was in the room for the surgery. Her threat was entirely possible, but to his relief, one she didn’t act on.

“The first thing I did when I came to was touch my hair,” Gotthelf said. His wisdom teeth may have disappeared, but his hair did not.

Andrea Matsudaira, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, was left with a funny, if not a little scarring, story from her experience.

“After I came home from the procedure, my brother and I were left with my two younger siblings while my mother went out to buy us soft foods. She made us smoothies right before she left, and I drank it while I had my gauze in my mouth. I don’t remember fully what happened, but I thought for a while that I had drank my lip and started crying,” she said.

Aside from that, recovery was easy, especially since Matsudaira suffered through it with her brother who had his teeth taken out on the same day.

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