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B. There's Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

Narrator: This is Science Today. Chances are, you've had your wisdom teeth removed and for some of you, the experience was uneventful. For others, it may have been a painful ordeal. Dr. Alan Felsenfeld, a professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at UCLA, says a patient's perception of pain has a lot to do with the outcome of the surgery.

Felsenfeld: It's interesting over the years, I've had some very easy teeth to remove that I thought the patient would really like me after it was over and for whatever reason, that patient didn't do very well at all. On the other hand, I've had patients where I thought Aoh my gosh, this poor fella's gonna really have a problem tonight@ and the guy calls me up the next day and says, Awell, took an aspirin and I'm doing fine, doc@. Your perception of pain and how your body responds and how your mind responds will all add to that.

Narrator: By and large, Felsenfeld says people are more afraid of having their wisdom teeth removed than is really justified.

Falsenfeld: It's difficult though, if you're going to have surgery to not be a little concerned - everyone should be. I think you'll find that overall, the removal of wisdom teeth, which is a necessary evil in so many people, isn't nearly as difficult a procedure to get through as most people would believe.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.