Friday, April 25, 2008

Wisdom Teeth Extraction: What to Expect

I respect Doctors of all types. I always felt there was an art to their craft. They seem to have a deft touch with their instruments that separates them from the rest of us. This was until I had two of my wisdom teeth extracted on Wednesday. There is nothing graceful about having your wisdom teeth extracted.

Pre Procedure
While a dentist can often extract your wisdom teeth, my bottom right wisdom tooth seemed difficult to extract so I was referred to an oral surgeon. My appointment was at 3:30 and after a couple of questions about my medical history from the assistant, I was in a chair by 3:45. My surgeon was old, about 65. This sort of scared me because I wanted to be sure he wasn't going to pass out in the middle of the surgery (RIP Jorge- Died when the oral surgeon dropped the drill in his face). However, he had a good sense of humor as was evident when he explained to that there's a chance that removing my lower right tooth might cause temporary/permanent nerve damage, but there was nothing we could do about it. Let me repeat that, extracting your lower wisdom teeth can cause permanent nerve damage along your jawline/lower lip! Pretty scary thing to hear 5 minutes before you're about to get one taken out. No time to think about it by then, four or five shots of anesthetics and 15 minutes get my mouth feeling pretty numb.

The tools used for the surgery were a drill, dental forceps, and small variations of a pick ax. My lower wisdom tooth was the first to be extracted. It was drilled, pushed, and pulled for a good 25 minutes. I could tell it was not easy because the surgeon kept giving that "WTF?" look as he persistently tried to jar my tooth loose. Eventually, he was able to remove it and later told me it was toughest one he had removed all year. My upper wisdom tooth took a fraction of the time. A couple of smacks, a forceful pull, and presto. My wounds were stitched and I was done by 4:40.

Post Procedure
After the teeth were out, a piece of gauze was placed in my mouth to stop the bleeding. I was given a long list of what to do and what not to do. Replace the gauze every two hours. Take prescribed anti-inflammatory medicine every four hours, prescribed antibacterial medicine every six hours. I was told I couldn't eat anything solid or hot for the first couple of days and nothing spicy for a week. I was also told to not exercise for a week (fat chance) and to rinse the are with salt water a couple of times a day.

For about two hours afterwards I'm thinking this is a piece of cake. Why do people complain so much when they go through this? Then the anesthetics wore off. It is painful and highly uncomfortable. It adequately feels like part of your gums was torn off. A piece of gauze in your mouth, the taste of blood, and not being able to close your mouth correctly are quite a nuisance. I hate taking anything for pain relief, but at this point I took two Tylenols and that seemed to do the trick.

The next day wasn't bad. No pain to be reported and the bleeding had stopped the night before so thankfully no gauze! However, it became clear that eating real food was not an option. I tried nibbling a slice of pizza but even that was too much work. Since the extraction my diet consists of mostly juice. My most hardy meals have been mashed potatoes sprinkled with parmesan and a bowl of cream of wheat. My plan is to resume eating normal foods tomorrow and basketball by Sunday.

Overall the process is mostly annoying. If you're planning to get yours extracted I highly recommend you do. Julia asked me what's the worse that can happen if you don't. The answers are gum infection that can spread to the cheek and neck, pressure pain, cyst formation, etc... Also, the longer you wait to get your wisdom teeth extracted, the harder they are to remove. What I'm most happy about is no nerve damage! Good luck to you all going through this or those who will go through this.

More info provided by WebMd.


Anonymous said...

that little animation in itself makes me super scared

Jen Shin said...

A first in LiB history, an animated picture!

But seriously, I am so dreading the day I have to get mine out, whenever that is. Though I think I can seriously live on a mashed potatoes diet for a little bit.

Jen's friend!! said...

Though I can't comment on wisdom teeth extraction, I can note my abhorrence to canker sores and how irritating and painful they are!!

The only normal meals I have when I get canker sores are those at home when I can chew with my mouth open at peace...

Hmm...was that a wierd comment?

Jorge J said...

haha the weirder the better!

Anonymous said...

You should have asked for some codeine or vicodin. We could have used it the next time we play Apples to Apples for the poor judge who thinks Rhino's are cruel.


Vicki said...

I had mine taken out when I was in 9th or 10th grade - thank God that's over. The animation was cool though!

leo said...

this is actually relevant to my interests!

electricity said...

ya it's nothing to be afraid of at all, just rather annoying! I had my top 2 out last year one at a time, no problems, just took a couple advil and away i went. Easy.

I had my bottom one out last week, I'm 28 now so it was all grown in but decayed and hurt like a bit@#!

I got there, took them an hour and a half long to get out, had to cut the bone down some and they finally got it out, after it broke in 2 in my mouth. Tough bone so it wouldn't give they said.

Well I didn't feel a thing, they numb you good, 3 hours goes by, numbing coming out, I prepare by taking not 1 but 2 T3's. Those things only lasted about 2 hours at a time and then you had to pop more but I had to be careful, only recommended 1 every 4 hours. for the next 2 days and 2 nights i'd be ok for 2 hours, then wait in pain an hour and take another t3, ok for 2 hours then in pain for 1 while waiting to take another(did my own 3 hour rule). i was beginning to think they pain would not go away. 3rd night which was last night I went to bed, no pain killers, slept until 10 minutes before it was time to get up anyways and it was in pain again, took an ibuprofene and i've been fine all day now. It's healing well but I got a damn canker sore on the inside of my mouth but right at the corner where it was cut from the dentist, ouch! and a small bump on the tongue, those little ones that hurt from eating salty or citrus foods.

So the whole extraction process is nothing, it's the afterwards that's a pain, I can't enjoy any good foods. I've eaten them but slowly and painfully, not fun!

Some people I know have had all 4 out and had no pain, the top ones are always easy too.

good times! 1 more to go.

MOM said...

Just had 3 extracted and was feeling terrific on Day 1. Woke up on Day 2 thinking I was dying. At Day 4 now, and have a whole row of cankers on my tongue and it hurts to swallow. I am seriously considering refusing to have the impacted fourth one removed after this experience. I've been told by the oral surgeon the fourth removal may involve a broken jaw and nerve damage. I'm 65 years old and wonder what would happen if I did nothing? Or wait until the impacted tooth caused me some problem. If I had it to do over again, I would choose local anesthesia over sedation and have anti-nausea medication on hand. Have them out when you're young!

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Timothy said...

I'm about to get my wisdom tooth extracted too, Jorge. I'm still a bit scared of dentists, but my older brother referred one of the best dentists (Goose Creek), so I should be fine.

The thought of the dentist's chair and drills left and right kinda gives me the shivers, but he told me that his dentist in Goose Creek is very trustworthy and really does a great job.

kPg said...

I just had an odontectomy yesterday! It doesn't hurt anymore, but it's still swollen. How long did it take before everything went back to normal on your part? By the way, I wrote about it in my blog, if you want you can check it out. Thanks!

Sabka Dentist said...

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Tooth Extraction Treatments

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