It’s been a little more than a week since the very first tooth extraction in my adult life. I’ve never known how painful wisdom tooth/teeth removal can be, and I finally found out on my own last Saturday.
After last month’s cleaning and X-ray of my teeth, the dentist informed me that one of my wisdom teeth was growing horizontally into the rest of my teeth and needed immediate extraction (the bottom left side). There was also a bottom wisdom tooth on the right side that the dentist feared would easily get cavities since it was harder for me to reach back there, and he recommended that I remove that too. Thus, I had two removals scheduled in a month’s time in total (the two extractions would be separated by a week for me to heal and be able to chew on opposite sides).
(Good thing I clarified which side we were working on when I arrived at the dentist’s office because the dentist had actually scheduled me for the right side. The right side wasn’t urgent at all! I told them I wanted the left side wisdom tooth removal only of one tooth.)
I was given a local anaesthesia (numbing cream) that was swabbed on to my gums. I was then asked to rinse my mouth and spit out with water. Within a few seconds and minutes, I felt that area grow numb and without feeling. When the dentist did what I presumed to be a “snip” of the gums, I could barely feel it — it was like faintly felt. The full effect of the anaesthesia hadn’t kicked into place yet so we had to wait a few more minutes.
During this time, I found it difficult to speak. The left side was growing more numb with each minute and eventually, the extraction procedure began. Part of the left side of my lips were numb as well (which I found so interesting to drink from a bottle after the procedure because I couldn’t feel half of my lips).
The whole process lasted about an hour, and to say that it was a comfortable enjoyable experience would be an understatement. I felt tense and uneasy to lie back and have someone work in my mouth. It was especially worst to hear all of the “digging”, tugging, and “drilling” that happened too. I was awake during the entire procedure and could see what they were doing (even though I closed my eyes most of the time). (I wish the dental office had some calming classic music in the background or something for me to focus on instead of the sounds of the work that was being done.)
The dentist had to remove my impacted tooth in two parts, so I heard all of the cutting and drilling that happened for that. Yeech. When it was finally done, she put in sutures and said that those would dissolve by itself and so I wouldn’t have to return to the office to get them removed. I left the office with some folded cotton gauze bit down on the left side of my mouth. It was to be changed out in 30 minutes to allow a healthy blood clot to form. I was so swollen I could barely talk and felt like I was drooling if I didn’t try to keep my mouth closed. Such an attractive look, I know.
Recovery was not pleasant either. I had commonly heard from others who had had their wisdom teeth removed that a liquid diet was all that was allowed in order to allow the wound to heal. In addition to not eating any hard foods that would disturb the area, I also wasn’t allowed to rinse my mouth with water or brush 24 hours after the procedure. I also couldn’t use a straw to drink. Wow. I didn’t know about this at all. This made the process so confining. The reason rinsing and sucking weren’t allowed was that a blood clot needed to be formed in the area where the tooth was taken out and if too much disturbance occurred, it could easily dislodge the blood clot from forming and staying. This was so scary. I felt so paranoid that I would unknowingly dislodge it and interrupt the healing process.
For the first two days, I chewed on the opposite side of my mouth. Again, this was inconvenient than any procedure or experience that there is out there. With a broken finger or arm, all you have to do is rest and lay back and eat anything and watch your favourite movies. With a wisdom tooth removal, you can do the laying back and rest but you can’t even eat properly or with satisfaction.
My beloved got me things like chocolate ice cream, Greek yogurt, apple pudding, soup, avocado, hummus, and made mashed potatoes, smoothies, and congee to round out the things I could eat. Also, a packet of ice against the cheek helped to reduce the swelling on my left side.
(Reading online, I know that soft foods like applesauce, scrambled eggs, mashed bananas, cake, mashed pumpkin, baby food, fruit juice, oatmeal, cottage cheese, salmon, and popsicles are good post wisdom teeth removal foods too. Foods to avoid included hard, crunchy, spicy, overly acidic foods, and foods like seeds and grains.)
I was advised to take 600 mg of Advil before the anesthesia subsided (lasting 3 hours) and subsequently to keep the pain away. I was prescribed a week’s worth of antibiotics as well. I had to rest and refrain from physical exercise and heavy lifting/machine operation.
It took at least three days for the area to heal properly and for me to feel comfortable eating regular food items. I found that even when I tried to chew on my right side, some of the food bits would migrate to the left side. I couldn’t eat anything crunchy or sharp for fear that it could lodge itself into the wound.
By the fourth and fifth day, I could “feel” the area with my tongue again. It felt unnatural to have a hole in the back of my teeth area.
I ended up calling to cancel the second appointment for the removal of the wisdom tooth on my right side, knowing that it wasn’t fully mandatory and more of a precaution procedure (I also know dental offices can be a business in themselves since our Ontario medical coverage doesn’t cover it, so you actually might not know if the suggestion of a tooth removal is actually necessary or if it’s to line the pockets of the staff). When I get my teeth cleaned again later next year, then I’ll have the dentist re-evaluate what the best situation is. I would rather wait and see than take out a tooth. Taking out a tooth is permanent and if I really don’t need to take it out — it’s not like it’s horizontal or sideways — then I’d rather skip out on the inconvenience and pain.
I was lucky to only get one tooth taken out at this time (but already still it was so painful and inconvenient). Does anyone else have a wisdom tooth/teeth extraction experience they’d like to share? 🦷