I realize most people would probably opt for being "knocked out" during the extraction of teeth, and I can't say I necessarily blame them. Most people aren't as.. how should I say? Determined (maybe?) or careless as I am. I wanted more than anything to be awake during the extraction process. Why? Maybe I'm too much of a control freak of my own mind I guess. The idea of not knowing what is going on and not having complete control after waking up because of the anesthetic was something that was not at all appealing to me.
As we went into the dentist I was asked to fill out some consent forms, including one on being put under anesthesia though I had specifically told them I didn't want to be upon making my appointment. I told the nurse once again, "I'm good. I don't need to be put under." Her face drops, and she looks at me like I'm insane. Her eyes wide she asks, "You.. don't want the anesthesia?" I told her no once again and handed back the paperwork.
A short time later I was called in to the office, and sat in a chair. I was talked to by a nurse and the dentist, both of which couldn't believe I would say I wanted to be conscious. After a brief time talking with them and being handed a remote to a TV positioned above me. I looked through the channels a little bit, trying to find something crazy to keep me distracted while I wait. My only success was finding the show "Escaping Polygamy" which seemed just crazy enough to make me think "WTF?" rather than "I'm about to have four teeth pulled!".
The dentist came in once again and this time brought somewhere between four and six needles which he then injected into my gums. I had to wait about fifteen minutes after that for the numbing to fully kick in, in which time I was asked several questions by nurses coming and going. Considering the numbing begins in minutes, I really couldn't answer any of the questions.
The numbing was easy enough, the injections themselves didn't even hurt. However, panic did slightly increase when I began to realize that the left side of my mouth wasn't nearly as numb as the right. I could still feel the left. Being unable to talk, I wasn't able to say anything. Of course, I didn't really try either.
The doctor and an assistant came into the office once again, and pulled up a seat on either side of me. They comment once again on how they can't believe I'm staying awake during this and then get to work. The first two on the right side come out extremely easy. I don't feel a thing, and they're out in probably five minutes. The dentist and assistant start chatting about random things above me, including the dentist's mission trip to Asia last month, the few Japanese words they know, and a couple of other things off and on.
Then the removal of teeth on the left side starts, and here's where it starts to get tricky. The dentist trys to pull out the one on the top first and has no luck. I can feel the tooth being twisted and moved, and I can hear some of the nerves snapping, but the extraction isn't happening. He has to switch sides that he is on, and scoots his way across the room on the chair. After switching everything goes much better, and it's right out. I was probably all done within fifteen to twenty minutes at most.
Would I recommend staying conscious through tooth extraction? Absolutely. It's not a big deal at all, and if I had been entirely numb I wouldn't have felt a thing. Though I wasn't entirely numb there was no pain. The sound of the nerves breaking apart would probably be the only thing that would scare some people, but it was a very faint sound that almost could be ignored. It wasn't terrible by any means. Of course my extraction was probably an easier one because I only had one wisdom tooth that was growing in crooked.
The worst part of the experience was probably taking the pain relieving medication once I got home. Not only did it taste awful as medicine always does, but my reaction to it was not good. Within 45 minutes of taking it I began to have trouble staying awake and became extremely sick. I started to feel very cold and weak, which is not something I'm a big fan of. I haven't taken the medication since then, and at this point I am in very little pain. Considering it was a surgery (I did need sutures on all four) it doesn't hut nearly as badly as I was told it would.
Sorry if this is too much information! Just thought I'd post in case it helps someone out in the future that still needs to have it done. Chances are if you think you're tough enough to deal with it, you are. :)