Lucky me, I just enjoyed a week off work! Well maybe enjoyed isn’t the right word…. I had to have all four of my wisdom teeth removed and it was not fun at all.
My wisdom teeth have been playing up for years, but they tended to flare up every 6 months or so and then play nice for the rest of the year, so naturally I ignored the advice of my Dentist and left them alone.
Then when we were in the UK over Christmas they got infected. Really badly. Cue emergency dentist and a truckload of antibiotics and painkillers. Oh and then the infection spread to my sinuses. And I had to fly for 24hrs (not recommended). By the time we got back to Brisbane I had blood coming out of my nose and ears and was signed off work for a week. It was time to take care of these little bastards.
So I had my X-Rays and was referred to an oral surgeon due to the impacted nature of the teeth. He took one look and said let’s whip em out, and we both agreed that going under a general anaesthetic was a good idea in my case. So the surgery was booked, and I left feeling a little gleeful about the prospect of a week off work, tee hee!
Surgery day arrived and I was feeling a little nervous. We arrived at the Day Hospital, and I was shown to a little cubicle and instructed to don the obligatory backless nightie and hair net and hop into the bed. T was keeping me company and was about as much use as a chocolate teapot.
Soon enough I was wheeled in to surgery, given the good stuff, and floated away happily. Seemingly seconds later I woke up in recovery very dazed and confused. Then after what felt like 10 minutes of lying there (but was probably nearer an hour) a nurse came and gave me my clothes and told me to get dressed. What? I just had serious surgery lady, you must be joking?! I thought in my head, but somehow managed to wrestle my sports bra over my bandaged head and got myself dressed.
I was then taken to sit in a chair in the recovery area and given some tissues, a bag for the bloody tissues, and a lemonade. Which I promptly spilled down myself as my whole lower face was totally numb and I couldn’t find my mouth or feel my tongue. I remember distantly acknowledging that there was a whole lot of blood coming out of my mouth, but not being too worried about it.
After sitting a while I was allowed to be escorted home by T, feeling very loopy indeed. All I remember when I got home was that I was very hungry as I had to fast prior to the surgery, but was equally scared to eat. I managed (sort of) some cold soup, but it isn’t easy to eat when your tongue is numb, so most of it ended up on my chin and stayed there as my chin was numb too, so I couldn’t tell! Oh the joys.
My entire lower face up to my temples remained numb for a good 2 days after the surgery which was incredibly disconcerting. Especially when doctor google tells you this isn’t right. I think it was something to do with the fact that they used nerve blocks instead of local anaesthetic for the numbing, which are much longer lasting. I was SO relieved when the feeling came back as I was beginning to worry I would stay that way forever. Until the pain started…
Holy shit it really is painful. I definitely underestimated how much. They gave me some strong painkillers (which I don’t generally like to take as they affect me a lot) and I was counting down the minutes until I could have my next one. I didn’t really feel any pain from where the top two were extracted, it was all the bottom two.
Also I got really really fed up of the liquid diet. There is such thing as too much soup, custard, yoghurt or juice. Especially when you have to eat the soup cold because you aren’t allowed anything hot or warm as it promotes bleeding. Baby food offered a temporary reprieve but I quickly got sick of that too. But I had to eat or the painkillers made me want to vomit. Are you seeing what a fun week it was?
Also, no one told me what the extraction sites would look like. And it was nasty. There was nothing neat about it, massive jagged open holes in my gums, filled with whitish goo (more on this later) and criss-crossed with haphazard stitches. There was a lot of talk of “don’t dislodge your blood clot, you’ll get dry socket”, but there was nothing remotely blood clotty looking in my mouth, only the whitey gunge. I have since gathered that the whitey grey crap is in fact a blood clot, so although this looks like food, leave it in there.
I had my surgery on a Tuesday, and by the Friday I was sick and tired of the whole thing. I had stupidly imagined I’d be one of those people that go and eat a burger the same day they have their teeth removed, and then I’d spend the rest of the week enjoying myself. The reality was I was still on a liquid diet and in a lot of pain. Oh and by Friday – pow, hamster face despite the continuous ice head-dress I had been sporting the whole week.
On the Saturday the pain increased to the point where the painkillers were doing nothing, I couldn’t sleep, and I was just lying there crying. I had to go back to work on the Monday and I was still a bit swollen and my speech was a bit off. It’s now 3 weeks post-extraction and I feel pretty much back to normal, apart from it still hurts to chew on my left side, but I would imagine that will go in time. The holes are almost closed now too which is good because it’s literally impossible not to get food stuck in them.
Moral of the story is I survived, barely. I’m bloody glad it’s over and done with, but it was not a pleasant experience at all.
My top tips for wisdom tooth removal!
- Salt water rinses are your friend. Do them often (but gently)
- Blood clots in your mouth are not always red
- Take the painkillers before you feel pain, and stay ahead of it.
- Eat when you take the painkillers
- Ice. Ice. (baby)
- Don’t google everything like I did, it makes you anxious
- Numbness can last DAYS
- Sleep with your head elevated for at least a few days
- Don’t eat any hot foods for at least the first 3 days
- Pre-plan some creative soft meals or you will go cerazy