Last Wednesday I had a couple wisdom teeth extracted. I still have two left, but one of them is impacted, and there is danger of nerve damage if the oral surgeon tries to remove it. He says the risk increases with age but that if it's done sometime in the next decade, the danger will not increase substantially. Anyway, he decided to just do the two teeth on the right side, so I could use my left side to chew.
Despite some pain, I was surprised at how easy the whole thing has been. Back in my teen years, I had a much more horrendous process done to try and preserve my bicuspids. The same surgeon did that (although he no longer remembers me). That involved two extremely painful injections in the roof of my mouth followed by 45 minutes in which he gouged a large hole in the roof of my mouth. Even though there wasn't much pain, I could still feel the pressure and cutting. I kept my eyes closed the whole time, and the nitrous oxide put me into a weird mental state in which I saw a bunch of strange colors and patterns and communicated with a weird swirling entity named Nutmeg. I spent the whole time trying to will myself to another place far away from there. For years after that, whenever I heard a lound pounding, drilling, or scraping sound, I was afraid I would find myself back in that chair.
The pain for the next several days after that was substantial. I was on a strong pain killer called Empirim. It had the side effect of making me quite happy with my life. In fact, I wasn't aware until then that I was unhappy. When I went off the medication, I completely crashed and spent several days in the darkest state of depression I had ever known. No one had warned me of these effects, and it was only some days later that I connected my changed mental state to the pills. It's a good thing I'm not suicidal. Something like that could easily push someone over the edge.
Anyway, after several months, I ended up going to Cameroon for a year with my parents. The hole filled in, and I got to go through the whole process all over again when I got back to the US. The initial shots were as horrendously painful as I had remembered. And this time, I had the added benefit of getting an infection. It was incredibly painful and went on for days.
So I was understandably trepidacious about having a similar procedure done by the same oral surgeon. But it turned out to be a piece of cake. It was ten times easier on me than that whole hole-in-the-roof-of-the-mouth thing. I haven't even needed any of the pain pills (Hydrocodone) I got. (I guess I can take them all for fun some time.) I would have no problem having my wisdom teeth out again, which is good, because someday I will get to do it all over again.