Wednesday, June 8, 2016

let's talk wisdom teeth removal

A day or so after we returned from Florida I scheduled my wisdom teeth removal. This brought on a ton of anxiety for me not only because I spent the last year learning everything that can go wrong in a procedure or in the healing process, but also because I was supposed to be devoting the next five weeks to studying for one of the biggest exams I'll ever take and didn't have time for pain or complications. I'm so embarrassed at the amount of questions I asked to my dentist, including:

what if I go into respiratory depression, do you know how to intubate?
what if I have an allergy to the anesthetic?
My legs shake every time I get local anesthetic, that ok?
are you going to perforate my sinus? ---"we might, you have a small mouth"
are you going to damage my nerve? ----"this tooth is right on top of the nerve, so we'll try not to"
what specifically is the anesthetic mixtures? (this was for educational purposes only)
what does a dry socket feel like, will I know if I have one?

I've never been satisfied with the broad statements of medical professionals such as: "this will make you sleepy," "we just maybe tickled a nerve" (describing a month or two of numbness),  "it's supposed to have sharp pain radiating throughout your tongue when we give you local anesthetic" (<- that was from another dentist), "this will open your airway" (okay.... maybe I don't care when an ER doc says that). Point is, I'm always asking questions for them to be more specific and I always have been. 

I had a decent experience getting my four teeth removed, and I don't remember much about the procedure, but I vividly remember still talking to them while they administered the anesthetic thinking "hm, did they do that to shut me up?" as I drifted off. I also remember when I woke up they were telling Jake about some sort of guaze they shoved in my hole and sewed up around because it wouldn't stop bleeding and I'm like "because I have vWF deficiency? (btw I don't know if I do have that)  Does the guaze have coagulation factors on it? Which ones?" They looked at me like I was stupid and since I hate that more than anything I kept talking on and on and on all about the clotting cascade .  Jake said at that point he didn't think I was as loopy as they told him I was, because I was sounding like myself, ha!

I went home and Jake took very good care of me. I couldn't get the bleeding to stop for eight hours on the same side that had that "special guaze" stuffed in it. Then we finally decided to call the office before they closed and they kindly took out the stitches and the guaze, and re-stuffed that bone hole with a bigger piece of guaze. I say "kindly" because it was nice of them to see me and help out, I really appreciated that, but it was the worst experience I've ever had at a dentist pain-wise and I laid on the table with my legs shaking (I think I have a vessel right at the dang local anesthetic injection site?...same experience as an epi pen) and tears running down my face. He worked fast, but holy moly that moment was so painful. I may have had some high left from the drugs because I also got in trouble a couple times for not keeping my hands down away from my mouth. Oh by the way, I hadn't had a narcotic yet either and I had only eaten a yogurt, and had no water. (it's extremely hard to eat when you can't stop gushing blood from your mouth). 

After a few more hours of biting guaze I finally had all of my holes clotted. I slept completely upright on the couch and woke up at 3 am with gushing blood from the same hole. It was too nasty, I think I scarred Jake with so much blood that day, at one point he had to just leave the bathroom he couldn't stand it. It stopped after a few more hours of biting down the guaze and I took every precaution to not disrupt the dang thing again. 

Jake took very good care of me, he even took off work a few hours the second day to make sure I didn't need to go in and get my socket repacked. He helped clean up all my blood, he cooked all of my food, made my medication schedule, and even camped out in the living room with me the first night.

I thought I'd be healed in two days. I was sore a lot longer. My jaw still aches a little even three weeks out. I was worried about dry socket after I finally healed a few days later, so I was super careful to not disrupt any clots. I slept upright for four nights, took my narcotics for three days, and ibuprofen for a week. I stayed on liquids and mashed potatoes for nine days, but mostly because I couldn't feel my jaw to chew (I was still numb). I started using the syringes in the picture above seven days after surgery to keep my holes clean, but I only had two holes to flush with water (the other gum tissue had closed up). I'm still using the syringe on those two holes but they are getting smaller, yay! 

I still have numbness on my right lower jaw, but I guess I have to wait and let it heal .... or never heal, but I'm being positive, so it should come back in a couple months.  ;)

Do you have any good wisdom teeth extraction stories?? 


  1. Glad the procedure went well. I also opted for a full sedation, would not be able to sit through it. The doctor talking to Jake about all the bleeding must have been scary. My husbands also didn't stop bleeding for a while after his removal. Thank you for sharing your experience. Get better soon and stay healthy and well, thanks.

    Joanna @ Westheimer Dentist

  2. Thanks for making this blog and sharing your experience. I'm getting my wisdom teeth removed next month and I'm a bit excited.

    wisdom teeth removal


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