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Having erupted wisdom teeth extracted - TERRIFIED!

C

Cassiopeia

Junior member
Joined
Jun 18, 2011
Messages
8
Hi everyone,

I just went to the dentist for the first time in 27 years (I had never been in my life and I am 27 years old) and I was told that my wisdom teeth have to be removed. They have all erupted and are in good position, but they are badly decayed. The only other abnormality is that my right upper wisdom tooth is very tiny, like a baby molar.

I have chosen to do the procedure under general anesthesia because I have had bad reactions to sedatives in the past. I am having all four of them removed at one time on July 14th.

For the past 8-9 months, I have been having extreme pain across my right cheek, face, ear, side of head and behind the ear, and all upper right teeth and jaw. We are unsure if this is wisdom tooth-related or a neurological problem. I will not know until my wisdom teeth are removed, but I am afraid that if it is a neuro problem, the extractions will cause a pain flare-up. I wore a headband for a half-hour the other day and was in astronomical pain all day yesterday and still feel like I've been hit by a truck.

Aside from that fear, I am terrified of the procedure itself. I've been under anesthesia before because I have a crazy-long surgical history, but I have absolutely no reference for this. I'm terrified of "the wall of pain" - which is what I call feeling your pain for the first time upon waking up.

I am terrified of the bleeding, the risk of infection, the pain, the hour-long car ride home from the oral surgeon's office (I hate hate hate living out in the country). I'm terrified that the pain I am experiencing now means I have an infection deep inside that nobody can see (x-rays, CT scan, and MRI are all normal, no infection seen and no fevers) and that I'll not get treated in time. I'm terrified of all of it.

The dental hygienist and the dentist both tell me that, because my wisdom teeth have fully erupted, my experience will be very easy. When I started talking about pain, they stopped me and insisted that I would only have some soreness for a few days. When I had my consult with the oral surgeon, he also referred to just having "some soreness" for a few days.

Everyone I talk to is minimizing this and telling me it's no big deal, but I'm still freaking out over here. I mean, I cry over canker sores, how can I do this?

Any support or advice would be awesome. The only people I know personally to talk to have had totally impacted wisdom teeth, so I don't feel that their experiences would necessarily accurately reflect what I might experience.

The only thing that calms me down somewhat is to remind myself that the extreme facial, jaw, teeth, ear, and head pain I am experiencing now has to feel worse than having these teeth pulled will feel, and having the teeth pulled might even fix the problem (or send me into a pain flare if it is trigeminal neuralgia and not related to the wisdom teeth, whichever! No big deal!).

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. Sorry for the long post - that's what I do when I'm anxious.
 
S

Stasisesque

Member
Joined
May 25, 2008
Messages
25
Hiya!

It's been 8 days since I had every last one of my wisdom teeth pulled (all fully erupted but decayed or crowded) - and I had two more than you. ;) Not to mention another molar that had caused me so many problems all my life - I'd had it filled twice, and hadn't even heard of root canals until a few years ago. I still have dissolvable stitches in my mouth, so I'm pretty fresh off the extraction wagon and hope I can help you.

I, too, had general anaesthesia. Partly because I had to have so many removed at once and partly because I'm a dental phobic and just would not have dealt with the local. You know how GA works, so all I'll say is - they used local on me as well. There was no pain whatsoever when I woke up because I was still numb, I believe this is common practice for extractions under GA but I would double check with your surgeon. I woke up (thrashing about, apparently) with gauze still in my mouth - with strings on the end, a bit like having a mouth full of tampons :D. I slept through most of what happened afterwards as I barely even remember the car journey home. You will be given analgesics (paracetamol and ibuprofen if you can have them) before the operation, and by the time you're home you can take another dose of paracetamol, so if you feel any pain at all on the first day I will be amazed. :)

I also suffer from TMJ, which leaves me in chronic pain around the jaw and neck and head and back and all sorts of nasties, a bit like what you've described, and I can safely say that the recovery period is... really not that bad. It's uncomfortable, yes, but plain over the counter analgesics and anti-inflammatories can control it, and if they can't your surgeon or dentist can prescribe you something with a bit more oomph. Relax, after three days you will feel better. A bit run down, but it isn't dreadful. Even with TMJ it isn't dreadful and I'm sure you don't have that. :)

If your pain tolerance is low, tell your surgeon beforehand, or a nurse and they'll do what they can for you. But I would say the thing that'll annoy you most are the stitches, and that's even if they use them! I only had two sites stitched up. You'll be back to normal within a week, I'm sure.
 
C

Cassiopeia

Junior member
Joined
Jun 18, 2011
Messages
8
Thank you for your reply! It's very reassuring to hear stories from people who have went through what I'm about to go through and did well.

I made the huge mistake of posting to a forum that discusses TMJ and jaw dislocation, because I have a problem with jaw dislocations. Most of the responses were positive, except for one. One of the posters warned me against GA because, in addition to removing her wisdom teeth, the surgeon pulled too hard and removed her jaw from its socket! She had to have 8 surgeries to repair it. She swears that this would not have happened if she had done the extractions under sedation.

Maybe her wisdom teeth were impacted. Maybe her surgeon was incompetent, or maybe she was just unlucky.

I tend to stay pretty awake after GA. I've had 7 surgeries, and one where it was an in-and-out before noon situation. I remember the whole ride home. I actually hope I'm awake, but not in terrible pain or gushing blood (I'm incredibly nervous about the amount of blood, and not getting dry sockets, which seems so easy to do), because my mom is a terrible "nurse." She might flip out if I'm not awake enough.

I'm sure I'll do fine. I have a pretty high pain tolerance. It also sounds like a relatively quick recovery, and you had more stuff done than I'm going to have done (I only have 4 wisdom teeth as far as we can tell, and that's all that's being removed - plus, my upper right wisdom tooth is teeny-tiny, about 1/4 the size it should be).

Thanks for your reply! It definitely makes me feel less nervous. :)
 
S

Stasisesque

Member
Joined
May 25, 2008
Messages
25
TMJ support forums have a lot of horror stories on them, that's why I avoid them. I'd rather not know what might, in a million years, happen and prefer to go with what has happened. There were three other ladies having teeth removed while I was in the ward, none of them experienced any complications with things such as jaw dislocation. I wouldn't say oral surgery is particularly gentle, but the lady you came across was just one of the very, very unlucky ones I'm sure. :)

Just be sure to not strain your jaw after the surgery, it'll be stiff and uncomfortable for a while, but doing some very gentle exercises (opening mouth to fullest, holding, closing) a few times a day when you feel able can really, really help. Don't do it before you feel able, though - you're in no rush!

Blood wise, you'll be kept in and monitored until you've stopped bleeding - your mum will never have to know you bled at all :D. For a couple of days afterwards you may (i.e. are relatively likely to) experience some bloody saliva - it looks worse than it is! You'll get aftercare instructions on what to do if bleeding continues, but you'll be fine - just carry a pile of tissues and a bin everywhere with you and drool it all out into those. Very unattractive, but saves you from swallowing any blood and doesn't require any effort on your part that may strain your mouth.

And dry socket, I was terrified too! I posted a lot on here about how scared I was - and now it's 9 days later and I was so scared of getting a dry socket that I promptly forgot to get one to be scared of. :D In other words, they are so so so rare - I'm a smoker (well was, I appear to have quit), I drank through a straw, I stuck my tongue in the extraction holes repeatedly - and I didn't get even a hint of dry socket. Just follow aftercare instructions (better than I did) and eat ice cream and soup and more ice cream and you'll be back on here a week after your surgery telling us all how simple it was.

I'll be thinking of you on the day!
 
C

Cassiopeia

Junior member
Joined
Jun 18, 2011
Messages
8
Thank you so much for your support! I'm sure I'll be fine. I've just had such a complicated and hairy medical history that every time I have to face yet another surgical procedure, I get especially nervous. This is even worse because, despite this being my 8th time "under the knife," I have no frame of reference for this. I've never had any problems with my mouth before, and I cry over canker sores.

But the bottom line is: I'm at the point where it's riskier not to do the surgery than it is to do it.

And when I think back about the appointment with the oral surgeon, it was quick and I could tell they do this daily there, but he wasn't trying to sell me surgery. I told him that because of a genetic condition that I have, I hold off on doing any surgery until I'm at a dead end with no options, and he said that this is exactly where I am. Not threateningly, no scare tactics. He was just honest.

I'm nervous about it, but I'm also ready to have it over with.

Thank you for thinking of me. I know I'll do fine, and I will definitely post my success story as soon as I'm able. :)
 
C

Cassiopeia

Junior member
Joined
Jun 18, 2011
Messages
8
Wisdom Teeth Extraction on Thursday - SCARED!

Hello,

I've been reading these forums for a few weeks now, reading all of the success stories written by people who have had their wisdom teeth removed and had a positive experience. This has been a huge help in relieving some of my fear, but I'm still pretty scared about the procedure this Thursday.

I'm having all 4 removed under general anesthesia. I've had 7 surgeries under GA, so I'm not too nervous about the procedure itself. I'm scared of the aftermath. Of course, being put under GA is always a little anxiety-producing.

In a way, I'm so ready to be done with it, to be done with the facial and jaw pain I have right now, to be done with the anxiety. I'm so ready to be able to say that I did it, and I'm ready to tell other people that it's nothing to worry about.

But I'm also scared. Scared of the bleeding, pain, and all of the other aspects of recovery. I'm scared of not being able to handle it. I'm scared of all of it, really.

It feels better to be able to vent, so thanks for letting me do that. I'm looking forward to posting my success story in the next few days, and I've really appreciated reading all of yours. :)
 
A

April

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
281
Re: Wisdom Teeth Extraction on Thursday - SCARED!

Hi Cassiopeia

I had my 4 wisdom teeth removed, along with 9 others, under GA and as with all my dental treatment my recovery was nothing like I had envisaged.

On leaving the hospital I was given antibiotics and told to take painkillers every 4 hours so when I got home I took the medication and slept for a long time. When I woke up my face did ache a lot but no pain and there was a small patch of blood on my pillow. I continued to take the pain killers for a few days but because of the aching , not because I had any pain. To be honest, apart from that first morning, I didn't see any blood at all.
I was careful what I ate, nothing with bits or lumps etc. was extremely careful when brushing my teeth but used lots of mouth wash.

Other than to say that the feeling of relief is amazing and being able to live pain free is wonderful I am pleased to say, that was the sum total of my recovery :)

You will be posting a :jump: by the weekend
 
C

Cassiopeia

Junior member
Joined
Jun 18, 2011
Messages
8
No Extractions - It's Not What You Think

Ok, so...I was supposed to have all 4 wisdom teeth extracted last Thursday, but things did not go as planned.

I have several very rare and very complicated medical problems, which I told the oral surgeon about during the consultation, but I guess he didn't fully grasp the gravity of the situation. Also, there was a miscommunication regarding the kind of anesthesia I was supposed to get.

I only cried once, a little bit as my mom and I were walking into the hospital. I hadn't been crying, but I rubbed my face and my mom said, "Aw, don't cry. This is a good thing and you'll do fine." That was actually what got me teary-eyed! I don't know why, but I'm one of those people who, when I hear "don't cry," I cry as an automatic response.

I went in there thinking I'd be having general anesthesia. You know, amnesia meds, intubation, disrobing, and all. Just like when you have surgery to, say, remove your appendix. Nope! I was to have conscious sedation, which involved using a drug that I had previously had a dangerous experience with (and I told them so during the consultation...not sure how that slipped past them).

As I talked to the nurses and nurse anesthetist about my conditions and surgeries, they realized just how complicated I am. One of them told me to wait while she spoke with the surgeon.

She came back and informed me that they no longer felt safe doing the extractions in the office. They would only do them if it was in an OR (operating theatre) in the day surgery center downstairs. She guided me out of the chair and into another room. They brought my mom back, and the surgeon spoke to both of us.

We are now in the process of getting my insurance to cover this.

The whole experience of getting all worked up for nothing really exhausted me. However, I left actually feeling better about the procedure. I know more than I did before, and I now believe that the surgeon and his staff understand me more fully. I'm sure I will be nervous again before I have to go back in, but even just knowing that I'll be numb for a few hours after I wake up is a huge relief.

This forum has made such a huge difference in how I feel about having my wisdom teeth removed and having dental work done, in general. It makes me feel less alone to know that there are plenty of other people who feel exactly how I do. Reading the success stories makes me feel so empowered about taking control of my dental health. I know I can get through this, and I thank you all for your incredible support and courage.
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,879
Location
The Hague , Holland
Re: No Extractions - It's Not What You Think

Hey

Your dentist did the right thing. Instead improvising some kind of other sedative drug (in order to "get things done") your dentist took a step back once realizing what's your medical situation and taking right precautions. You are in good hands.

You wrote that you cry harder when someone is telling you `don´t cry`. It might be `what is called in psychology `the pink elephant phenomena` or `The Pink Elephant Paradox`, and it goes like this`:
Try not to think about a pink elephant. It is impossible. Our mind does not oblige to our wishes, and by telling ourselves `don´t think about X` this X pops up unwillingly to our consciousness.
 
C

comfortdentist

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Jul 19, 2009
Messages
2,881
Location
Miami, Fl
Re: No Extractions - It's Not What You Think

Hey

Your dentist did the right thing. Instead improvising some kind of other sedative drug (in order to "get things done") your dentist took a step back once realizing what's your medical situation and taking right precautions. You are in good hands.

You wrote that you cry harder when someone is telling you `don´t cry`. It might be `what is called in psychology `the pink elephant phenomena` or `The Pink Elephant Paradox`, and it goes like this`:
Try not to think about a pink elephant. It is impossible. Our mind does not oblige to our wishes, and by telling ourselves `don´t think about X` this X pops up unwillingly to our consciousness.
Agreed and thanks for the explanation
 
J

jaime

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2010
Messages
73
Re: No Extractions - It's Not What You Think

This forum has made such a huge difference in how I feel about having my wisdom teeth removed and having dental work done, in general. It makes me feel less alone to know that there are plenty of other people who feel exactly how I do. Reading the success stories makes me feel so empowered about taking control of my dental health. I know I can get through this, and I thank you all for your incredible support and courage.
Yes, this forum is an awesome find. It's comforting to read through success stories and know that if they can do it, so can you.

Good luck with your extractions. I'm glad your dentist is willing to hold off because he wants to take extra precautions.
 
C

Cassiopeia

Junior member
Joined
Jun 18, 2011
Messages
8
Trying to be positive!

Hi everyone,

I've posted quite a few times about my wisdom teeth extraction drama.

When we last heard from our anxious hero (ha!), she went for her appointment and found out that one of the medications they use for the twilight sedation was a dangerous medication for her.

So, my choices were to have the extractions done under deep anesthesia in an operating room or to be awake (with nitrous at the most) and have them out one side at a time with local anesthesia.

Ever since the oral surgeon mentioned doing it with locals and one side at a time, I've been feeling in my gut that this is the right choice for me. Ever since having a terrifying and life-threatening reaction to a medication given to me via IV before surgery 7 years ago, I've developed an intense fear of having IV medications unless I know I've done well with them in the past. In addition to this fear, my health has deteriorated over the past few years, and there is significant concern over anesthesia risks and my ability to wake back up. These things had me scared out of my mind, and this was the major source of the breakdown I had in the chair when I showed up for my appointment on July 14th.

After thinking about my teeth themselves and the complexity of the extractions (top two are fully erupted, bottom two are fully erupted on the side closest to the front of my mouth and a teeny-tiny bit hidden in the gum on the side toward my jaw), I've come to the conclusion that it is not worth the knock-out drugs and the risks that they bring. I feel no need to be asleep for this, as long as they can get me numb enough to do one side at a time.

Of course, I'm nervous about it. It's a big unknown because this is the first dental thing I've ever had done (besides a cleaning and exam/x-rays). I'm nervous about gagging too much for him to be able to do anything. I'm nervous about the nitrous and the local anesthesia (I really don't like weird bodily sensations).

Overall, though, I feel ok about it and am confident that I will be able to go through with it. The oral surgeon and his staff are excellent, so I know I am in good hands with patient people. I definitely feel more confident than I did the last time.

I am 27 years old and just now beginning to get my dental health under control. My mom "passed on" her dental phobia that she got after childhood experiences with a truly sadistic dentist (she would signal that she was feeling pain, and he would keep going and even drill harder/more aggressively, grinning all the while). She has had some pretty bad experiences as an adult, too, with root canals gone awry and such. She has no molars whatsoever. I don't want that for myself, and she doesn't want that for me, either.

So, this Thursday, August 4th, I'll have the two wisdom teeth on the right side extracted with local anesthesia and maybe nitrous.

I'm trying to stay positive. This forum has been a tremendous help, and I'm eager to be able to post my own success story for others to read and hopefully feel comforted by. :)
 
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