Anxiety and Wisdom Teeth Extraction

dentist injecting local anesthesia inside patients mouth

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When I heard that I would need to get at least two of my wisdom teeth removed, I panicked. That might not seem odd to you. Having two teeth pulled would make anyone panic. But, living with an anxiety disorder, I panic just thinking about having to drive to the grocery store so the panic I felt was on a whole new level.

I’m telling my story for two reasons. One is that I know that there are other people like me out there who don’t know how they can get through wisdom teeth extraction if they have an anxiety disorder. But also, because I want to be able to look back at this experience and know that I made it through, even though it seemed impossible at the time.

Since I have a lot to say, I’m going to break this up into a few posts. Let me start at the beginning.

The Day Before

I tried to put this appointment off for as long as I possibly could. But when my gums started to hurt, I knew I couldn’t wait anymore. The pain was keeping me from doing things I had to do. Since my wisdom teeth were not impacted and had grown in straight, I had the option of getting them pulled at my dentist’s office. 

I went back and forth trying to decide if I would go to an oral surgeon where they could put me to sleep or going to my dentist who would give me local anesthesia. The idea of being awake and knowing what was happening was terrifying but the idea of being asleep and not knowing what was going on terrified me too.

The biggest trigger for me and my anxiety disorder is knowing that I’m not in control. So, ultimately my decision was that I would stay awake. I had three c-sections so I figured getting two teeth extracted should be a breeze. 

The night before I had already come to peace with my decision. I really love my dentist and the staff. They are friendly and knowledgeable and make me feel safe. I knew I would be in good hands. Of course, nothing is ever that easy when you suffer from an anxiety disorder.

The Day Of

I woke up on the day of the extractions and I couldn’t breathe. My heart was racing. I found myself googling every single thing that I could. I looked up what I should expect, what the procedure was, how I could prepare, what could go wrong… You name it, I googled it.

When you have anxiety, it’s best to fill your brain with what if’s and be prepared for them all. Of course, all of those what if’s are also what amplifies the anxiety. It’s a double-edged sword.

I took a shower, I got dressed and then I spent the next hour in an anxiety spiral. I paced back and forth, tried to calm myself down, thought of excuses to cancel my appointment, meditated for 15 minutes, and then finally convinced myself that I had to do this so that I felt better.  

I hate falling apart in front of my kids, but I did it that day. Over and over again. My oldest could see it in my eyes. I didn’t even have to say a word. She found a charm I had made with my Nana’s face and put it on one of her chains and told me to wear it.  She hugged me and told me I was going to be okay.

She was right. I knew I would be okay but inside, I was so shaken I thought I might pass out. My heart was beating out of my chest. I was sweating. I wanted to get it over with but also wanted to call the whole thing off. 

I finally got inside the car and my husband turned on a song that my friend Meg had shared with me and told me to listen to when my anxiety is at its highest, The Breakup Song by Francesca Battistelli.

As soon as she started singing, I lost it. With tears running down my face, my husband grabbed my hand and reassured me I was going to be okay. No words were going to calm me down. 

We were already 10 minutes late, but pulling up to the dentist’s office, I knew I still wasn’t ready to walk in. I put on my mask, stepped out of the car, and then asked if we could go home. I made up my mind. The pain was better than fear.  Or was it?

I took a deep breath and pushed myself to go inside. I couldn’t even give my name at the front desk. I must’ve looked like a deer in the headlights.

I sat down in the lobby, my legs shaking and my t-shirt drenched in sweat, and tried to stop myself from running out the front door. 

And then I heard, “Heather? Are you ready?”

Read more here: Wide Awake During my Wisdom Teeth Extraction.

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Getting your wisdom teeth removed when you have anxiety can be tough. This is my story.

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Hello There!

I'm so honored that you've found us! I'm Heather, a Mom of 3 who blogs about parenting, food, occasional travel and how I overcame my daily struggle with anxiety. I miss sleeping and rely on coffee and laughter to get me through the day. I hope you enjoy and visit often!

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  1. I can definitely relate to you. I was supposed to have my right wisdom tooth extracted through surgery. I kept on postponing it even if it was so painful. The tooth just eventually “died” and now, it feels nothing.

  2. Thanks for sharing the story!
    In my language, people call it “smart teeth” as translated to English. Idk why they call so but we all know that it’s not smart at all.
    I haven’t had a wisdom teeth extraction but some of my friends were in so much pain when removing them. That’s bad!

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. Good thing that your husband is with you all the way. Definitely, many would have experience the same anxiety.

  4. Oh I feel your pain. Thanks for being vulnerable this can help me because I never got my wisdom teeth taken out either.

  5. Pingback: Wide Awake During My Wisdom Teeth Extraction - The Super Mom Life

  6. I notice that most people are nervous about wisdom tooth removal but they find a way to get through the experience and come out the other side.

  7. I understand your feeling and not everyone (like me) who is happy to visit the dental clinic for tooth extraction.
    I noticed my dental clinic installed a huge flat-screen TV on the ceiling, featuring travel videos, nature (you can also request to change the channels!), and very useful for patients who need distractions.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story and cannot imagIne what it is like to deal with serious anxiety. So glad for you that it is over 🙂

  9. I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed when I was 19. My bottom wisdom teeth were impacted (turned sideways) and my dentist warned me that I would bruise and swell. He advised that I take a week off work, so I used vacation time to recover. I can only imagine how much worse it would’ve been with anxiety. I’m sorry that you had to go through that.

  10. Oh boy, I had mine remove and was so nervous that I had to postpone the appointment many times. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

  11. Hihi….this is a story I look forward to enjoying, till the end! It reminds me of 2011, when I last had teeth of mine extracted….the nurse made everything seem like I was going to be executed! (but in a nice warm funny way)

  12. This post brought back such memories! Wisdom tooth extraction really made me feel anxiety and too much emotions.

  13. Reading this brought me back to the day I had my wisdom tooth removed, definitely was a very scary feeling!

  14. Yikes! I soooo struggle with going to the dentist. I’ve been lucky and I’ve never had any teeth pulled. I hope everything went well 🙂

  15. You did it! Would love to know what happened next. I haven’t been to the dentist in more than a year due to COVID and just made by appointment for next month.

  16. I hear you on this one, I am actually at the dentist tomorrow!! So yeah anxiety is is full swing x

  17. I think many struggle with anxiety when it comes to the dentist. I know some that need to be virtually dragged in. I hope you went through with it.

  18. I remember when I got my wisdom tooth pulled. There was so much anxiety behind it. Thanks so much for sharing!

  19. The hubs had four tooth extracted all at the same time. And soon he will have his wisdom tooth extracted.

  20. Thanks for sharing your story and experience. It’s motivating for someone who also suffers from anxiety.

  21. MY daughter just had four teeth removed due to crowding. She was most anxious about the IV, I totally can relate to that. After spending two months at a time in the hospital, all medical procedures make me anxious.

  22. Aww, Heather! I hope you were able to go through with it and that it was easier than you expected! I was a teenager when I got mine out and the dentist told my mom that I thought I was in Paris and was talking about all the purses that I was buying. haha! Yikes!

  23. What a beautiful story about your oldest with the charm! Bless that child! I’ve had all 4 of mine out… what an ordeal.

  24. It really helps when the people around you knows what’s going on and supports you all through it.

  25. Reading about it actually gives me anxiety, I don’t particularly like going to the dentist but I should.

  26. I get you. I’ll probably would be panicking too if I have to get my wisdom tooth extracted. Even just the usual tooth

  27. It is a beautiful story shared with us. Support from your hubby is the key and provided you with that pillar you needed at the base. Looking for the ending of this story!

  28. I’m so sorry you had so much trouble with this. I had mine out as a teenager and it was so hard so I can only imagine how hard it would be now. Thanks for sharing your story to help others.

  29. I can relate to this. I remember getting all four of my wisdom teeth taken out. I have some anxiety, and especially when it comes to the dentist.

  30. I don’t know when this started but I am scared to get my wisdom teeth removed. I keep hearing stories and it just fuels my anxiety though maybe someday when I get the courage to get it removed.

  31. I remember when I had my wisdom teeth pulled, what an intense experience! I love how your daughter tuned right into you, my daughter is the same. The empathy some children have is truly amazing.

  32. Ah man I feel your pain. I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed at once. Afterwards I got an infection in one of the sockets. It was awful!

  33. I would be VERY afraid to have my wisdom teeth removed. I’ve always been a bit afraid of going to the dentist, and that is a major surgery!

  34. I had to remove my wisdom tooth a few months ago, it was a pretty serious surgery, I had to go to the hospital and I’m actually not completely healed yet but I hope everything went well and I’m so sorry your anxiety was so bad. Idk if you support these things and I’m sure your issue is stronger than mine but CBD Oil really helps me when I’m anxious (again my anxiety isn’t serious).

    I’ve never smoked weed but I’ve started working at a legal cannabis store and my boss gifted the oil to me (actually to help me with the pain of my wisdom tooth) and it really helps, maybe you can look into it.

  35. Oh yikes. Going to the dentist gives me anxiety. I totally understand this. I have many panic attacks going to the dentist which is why I don’t go as often as I should. I had to leave once because I couldn’t get it together.

  36. Anxiety is so hard, I’m sorry that you had to go through this! That is a great song, I can see why your friend recommended it to you!

  37. Oh, I know how anxiety can fuel anything and everything! Right there with you, mama. I have to get 3 teeth pulled soon.

  38. A lot of anxiety does go through your mind when you have to have your wisdom teeth removed. It’s a full-on surgery, and of course, going to any dentist is always a bit scary for a lot of people.

  39. Oh no, I’m really hoping i dont have to go through this. If I do I’ll try to remember a birth a human 😉 lol love your blog!

  40. UGH….getting teeth pulled is never fun and I’m sure the anxiety makes it extra difficult! Hope everything went smoothly! I had to have 3 teeth pulled last year!

  41. I think your reaction was so appropriate because fear of the dentist is so common. I had my wisdom teeth removed years ago but having a procedure is always scary.