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livelaughlove21's avatar

What should I do about this wisdom teeth issue?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (14484 points ) August 7th, 2011

I’m scheduled to get my wisdom teeth cut out (all four are impacted) on Thursday, but I just recently found out some bad things about the oral surgeon I’m set up to go to. Apparently, no one I know has been to him without some horror story.

The problems are that 1) he’s the ONLY oral surgeon my dentist knew of that took payment plans, and I just can’t afford $1800 out of pocket and 2) I needed to get it done before classes start next Thursday so I don’t miss school, and I don’t know how long I’ll be unable to work or go to school because of this surgery.

I knew I had a bad feeling about this surgery, and I can’t risk getting an infection and ending up having to pay a hospital bill or miss even more school. Would it be really bad to wait until my next school break in November to get it done? I don’t want to get a cyst or abscess or have my teeth be messed up by the teeth. I don’t know how long they’ve been impacted.

What should I do?

ETA: CareCredit isn’t an option for me. I wasn’t approved because of no credit history and I have no one to co-sign with me.

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18 Answers

chyna's avatar

Call your dentist and tell them what you have told us, that you have heard too many bad stories on this oral surgeon and need another reference. I would never go to an oral surgeon or dentist or any other person in the health field that had a bad reputation. Also, ask your dentist if it is possible to wait until your next break from school.

CunningLinguist's avatar

Open a phone book and start calling everyone around. See who accepts payment plans that your dentist doesn’t know of (or won’t tell you about). If none of them work out, call anyone with a good reputation and try to work something out.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Contact a dental school and sacrifice your jowls to the slab.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I wish I could. The only dental school around here is 2 hours away and they require a first visit, consultation, and then they’ll schedule the procedure, after which you have to stay in town for 24 hours before traveling back home. I can’t afford the time away from school to do all of that right now.

crisw's avatar

What are the bad things and horror stories, and how did you verify them?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@crisw The worst was my boyfriend’s mom went to him and he didn’t numb her all the way and when she told him, he said it was too far into the procedure to numb her more and she had to FEEL him pulling the tooth. Then three days later she ended up in the hospital with a bad infection that had dripped into her stomach. She said her mother and aunt also got “messed up” by him. I can’t find ANY good reviews online about him either.

Seelix's avatar

I suggest you contact your dentist and explain the situation. Ask your dentist what (s)he thinks about waiting until November. Honestly, I don’t think it should be that big a deal to wait a few months, but of course that depends on how bad your situation is.

How do you feel, physically? Are you in pain? My wisdom teeth have hurt me on and off over the years, and a little ibuprofen and saltwater rinse has helped. Then again, mine aren’t as bad as yours sound to be.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@crisw I’ve also heard that he’s left pieces of teeth in patients’ mouths.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I was having some headaches and someone suggested it could be my wisdom teeth, so I went to see my dentist. I saw the x-rays and I could see they were right at the gum line, but they’re impacted. I haven’t had a headache in awhile though, so I think it may have been because of the heat in my state that kind of hit us out of nowhere. I don’t have any other issues with them.

crisw's avatar

I just had my lower wisdom teeth out- at 47! It’s supposed to be much more difficult at my age, but I never had any pain at all- the surgeon really does make a difference. I was totally anesthetized for the procedure. I agree that you should tell your dentist your fears. Maybe you can also contact the local dental association and ask for a reference to a doctor who takes payments?

Seelix's avatar

@livelaughlove21 – If you’re not in any major pain, I can almost guarantee that it shouldn’t be a problem to wait until November. I was supposed to have mine out years ago, and they’re still there.

zenvelo's avatar

If it’s not causing any other problems, I’d say wait too, until a long break. I sure would not risk a questionable oral surgeon.

Nullo's avatar

Getting your wisdom teeth out will sideline you for about 2–3 days. After that, you can probably go back to life. Your face will probably be swollen, though.

blueiiznh's avatar

Don’t go into a medical procedure with concerns about your provider.
You need to feel comfortable and safe about whatever is going to be done and the Dr or organization that is doing it.
Do yourself a favor and don’t rush anything because of a timing convienence. Find a place you feel comfort in.

cazzie's avatar

Having your wisdom teeth out is a bit of a horror story in and of itself. My sister got dry sockets, if you know what that is, but she wasn´t looking after herself. Take all your medication and if you lay low for two days, you should be chipper enough to get back to school. Just don´t laugh. It hurts for a couple of weeks.

Judi's avatar

Are you in pain? If you’re not in pain there is no reason you can’t wait until November.

prioritymail's avatar

I am not a medical professional so don’t substitute my advice for that of one. But here is what I know from my experience with four impacted wisdom teeth in an already crowded mouth:

The sooner you have impacted wisdom teeth out the better. As your teeth grow, they push the adjacent teeth out of the way, which can make your front teeth less than straight. Corrective orthodontics can be costly. Also, obviously as they get larger they will leave a larger hole behind when they are removed and thus probably take longer to heal and be a more invasive surgery. I have heard of some surgeries that were quite minor because they were done very early when the teeth were quite small.

I knew I had impacted teeth when I started to get recurring headaches and one tooth partially came up above the gum line. The headaches came and went. I might go a month or more without having a headache or sometimes I’d have them several days in a row. I probably waited a year and a half or so from the time I first started experiencing these headaches before I had them removed. I know someone who waited until the headaches were quite unbearable to have them removed – he said the headaches always came back and so he knew he really had to get them removed. His teeth moved a bit but mine moved a lot. Maybe if you have a lot of space in your mouth it isn’t as critical to have them removed. The other issue I know about with impacted wisdoms is a greater potential for infections in the future, but I’m not sure how likely that is.

When I finally did have them removed, I had myself sedated so I do not remember anything from the actual surgery just them inserting the needle in my arm and then the surgeon laughing at me after I “woke up” (you’re not really asleep). My mouth bled for maybe two or three days. Post-op was very uncomfortable, but not unbearable. I let the drugs wear off once just to see how much pain there really was. My eyes were tearing and it wasn’t long before I swallowed a Vicodin. I do know people that have had gone through both the surgery and post-op without any painkillers at all, though, because they are nuts!

I spent the first two days in bed sleeping (I had it done on a Friday), and I took Monday off from work because I didn’t want to be bleeding from the mouth in front of my coworkers but I wasn’t nearly as miserable as Day 1 or 2. By Tuesday I was back to work. You have to shoot food out of the holes left by the lower teeth and hopefully you will get dissolving sutures. And do not drink anything out of a straw. The sucking motion can rip open the wounds. They’ll tell you all this when you go in… I don’t know why I’m typing it.

You should read up about the risks involved with the procedure just to know what they are. The ones that come to mind are dry sockets and permanent numbness in parts of the face if they hit a major nerve. I didn’t experience either. I think dry sockets are quite common but numbness is very rare. My surgeon didn’t really mention any of these, probably because it isn’t that common and he didn’t want to cause any more angst.

So that brings me to the point of this whole thing which is that you should absolutely have a surgeon that you trust. Other people already gave great advice like consult your dentist, do your own research… Sometimes if you do not have insurance, the doctor will discount their fee so that might help a bit. Also maybe you could research insurance plans and find one that covers the surgery that would be more affordable than not having the insurance. There is usually a ‘grace period’ between when you enroll in a plan and when you are covered so there would probably be a bit of a wait involved. You can probably put it off for a while, but don’t put it off longer than absolutely necessary. There really is nothing fun about this procedure but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and honestly I really wish I had had it done sooner.

creative1's avatar

Are there any dental schools near you? They are typically cheaper (about ½) than the regular oral surgeon and they have real dr’s there that are over seeing the proceedure. I would look to see if this is a better option than going to someone whom you are worried about and it might be better on your wallet where you wont have a payment plan to worry about.

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