My South Korea Wisdom Tooth Removal Experience

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If you’re reading this article, you are probably worried about your wisdom teeth. It can be daunting if it is your first time, more so when it is done in a foreign country like South Korea. There are a lot of things to be considered like the language barrier.

I only had one wisdom tooth and unfortunately, I had to have it removed because it was partly covered by my gums and food particles sometimes go under the gums. When that happens, it was hard to clean the tooth and sometimes it hurts. I waited for the final step, which was stitch removal to be finished before writing about my experience.


Finding The Right Dental Clinic In South Korea For My Wisdom Tooth Removal

Photo of me in the dental clinic before the wisdom tooth extraction.

I have to admit that this was the most difficult part for me and not the actual extraction. I was very nervous. I’ve never had a tooth pulled out before besides from my baby teeth and those were easy because they were removed when they were loose.

I live in Yeongjong Island and is really near the Incheon International Airport and even though there were dental clinics, most of them are small. Since I was afraid of complications, we planned to go to Seoul or the main Incheon city to have my tooth extracted. My husband assured me that the extraction can be done in a small clinic but I was really anxious. One more problem that we had is that I am not fluent yet in Korean so if I had to go alone, I had to go to a clinic who have English-speaking dentists. Those clinics generally charge higher. My husband and I just decided to go together so we chose Songdo First Dental Clinic (송도퍼스트치과). They accept walk-ins as of this writing. The dental clinic is on the third floor of POSCO Tower Songdo but the name on the building is Oakwood so there was a little confusion during our first visit.

If you know someone who speaks Korean, it would be best to go to a dental hospital that does not target foreign clients to save money. Most dentists speak some English anyway so you will get by with some English and sign language.


The Day Of The Wisdom Tooth Removal

When we arrived at the clinic, the front desk only spoke in Korean so my husband talked to them about what I needed. The staff actually understood some English so when I spoke, my husband did not need to translate anymore but it was more comfortable when my husband talked to them in Korean. I waited for less than ten minutes after my information was encoded for them to start the process.

The clinic is really comfortable. It is facing Central Park, a famous park in Songdo and it was relaxing to look out the window while waiting for my turn. There were a lot of clients because it was Saturday when we went there but the staff was efficient and polite. I had an x-ray first. Their x-ray room was good and I wore an eye cover during the process and music was playing in the background. After that, we talked to the dentist about the tooth extraction.

The dentist was polite and asked me if I speak English. I said yes and he talked to me in English. Since my husband was also there, they switched to Korean and he explained the procedure to my husband and showed us the x-ray image. He told us that I had two options; one is to have my wisdom tooth extracted on the same day but it would hurt, and the other one is that they can give me some medicine for three days and I would go back. That way, there would be no pain.

I wanted the process done in one day because I work part-time and I didn’t want to work after the removal of my tooth so I chose to have it removed the same day even if it would hurt. I was really nervous after choosing the same day. I read a lot of blogs and they said that it would not hurt but my dentist said that it would so I was restless as to how much it would hurt.

The dentist said that I should have cleaning first. It is commonly called scaling in South Korea. I actually had cleaning a year ago so I thought it was right to have it done. Before the cleaning, the dentist injected me anesthesia near the tooth that needed to be removed. The injection hurt a little. It is like being pinched. There was also a burning smell that I cannot explain really well. It was a weird smell. After that, I felt disoriented and dizzy. I think the anesthesia took a long time to take effect because I could feel a little pain during the cleaning.

The waiting was really long after the cleaning and I was afraid that the anesthesia would wear off before the dentist could remove the tooth. I think I waited for around 20 minutes. The dentist suddenly went inside, lowered down the bed, and covered my face with only my mouth showing. He told me to open my mouth. He was very fast and I felt like he did it to reduce my anxiety. I could feel the pain when he was removing it and I raised my hand to say that it hurt but he just said, “Yes, it will hurt.” I felt kind of stupid because he already told me in advance that it would hurt but I went ahead and chose the same day anyway. The pain was actually tolerable. It’s not the kind of pain that will make you cry. He pressed my face hard when he was removing my tooth that I was not so sure if the pain was because of the pressure or solely from my tooth. The removal lasted less than five minutes including the stitching of my gums. After that, the dentist told me to bite the gauze up to two hours.


Wisdom Tooth Removal After-Care

Photo of the seafood porridge that I ate after my wisdom tooth removal.

Seafood Porridge

We paid a little more than 20,000 Won with insurance for the removal and the cleaning. I was really shocked because I think it was really cheap. After the payment, the front desk briefed us of the wisdom tooth removal after-care. She gave us a printed copy of it after the explanation and I also received the same instructions through a text message.

Listed below are the things that the staff advised me to do: 

  • Bite on the gauze up to two hours.
  • Do not spit to avoid further bleeding.
  • Avoid sucking or drinking using a straw.
  • Avoid hot bath (especially going to the sauna) for 1-2 days after the extraction.
  • Avoid hot food 1-2 days after extraction.
  • Put ice pack for one day if swollen.
  • Be careful not to chew lips or cheeks because there will be no sensation for about 2-3 hours.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco for two weeks after extraction.
  • Take a soft, non-irritating diet after extraction.
  • If bleeding continues and the pain is severe, contact the dentist
  • Take the prescribed medicine to the end.

After the extraction, we bought 해물죽 or seafood porridge. It was mild and very soft so it is perfect to eat after tooth extraction. I also did not wait for two hours before eating. I was afraid of feeling too much pain so I took the medicine before the anesthesia wore off. Fortunately, I did not feel any pain at all after the removal.


Follow-Up Dentist Visits After Wisdom Tooth Removal

I went back to the dentist on the third day after the removal. The dentist explained that it had to be sterilized to avoid being infected because I couldn’t brush my teeth well in the first few days. It was a quick process. They just put some chemicals in my mouth and I rinsed it after that.

A week after, I went back again for the stitch removal. That was also very quick. I went alone during the follow-up visits to the dentist without problems. Both were simple procedures and they already knew what I needed so I was able to finish them alone. I was able to get by with my broken Korean.

Overall, my experience was good. They also told me that I have five cavities and quoted us around 900,000 for all of them. I think I need one or two crowns included in that quote. They showed us images of those cavities. There is a tiny camera that captured photos of my teeth. They were not very pushy but when I went back to have my mouth sterilized, they offered it again and since there were some difficult Korean words, I told them that I did not really understand what they were talking about so I called my husband and they explained about the cavity filling again. During my last visit, I heard them talking if I came alone. Since I came alone, they could not really convince me to have the cavity filling because my Korean is poor.


Pin this post!A photo of me in the dental clinic in South Korea before my wisdom tooth was removed.

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