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I finally got my wisdom teeth taken care of!

Z

Zeolocation

Junior member
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
17
Alright, here's my story. I've been scared out of my mind about my wisdom teeth for so long. I'm now 22 and there was just no way I could keep them in there, so I got an appointment with my husband's family's dentist. This was Wednesday, and she told me that not only did the 4 teeth need to come out, I also needed a root canal and two fillings. Not too bad for not having been in for several years (the root canal was caused by the impacted wisdom tooth pushing on the tooth next to it and trapping food). So, they got me in for an appointment yesterday morning to get this all done at once under IV sedation. I was terrified but also deeply relieved to finally be getting these terrorists out of my mouth!

I had a xanax to take at bedtime and one to take in the morning before the procedure. That really worked for me--I was totally calm and felt really present; not apprehensive at all. I got my vitals and xrays done at my first appointment in preparation for yesterday, and my dentist was trained and competent to do everything I needed. So no going to a separate oral surgeon and waiting for weeks or months! When I got in there, they hooked me up to the IV. The xanax kept me neutral about the whole thing--I'm really scared of needles in general so it was good I had that. And then...nothing. No counting down, no conversation, nothing.

Apparantly I was very difficult to wake up. The sedation hit me really hard, and it took them a long time of pinching my shoulders to try to wake me up, and I'd keep starting but then falling back asleep. I do not remember anything until I woke up lying on my bed with my husband nearby. The day went by very hazily.

The next day, I feel mostly pretty good. My shoulders are very bruised and hurt if I touch the bruised areas. They hurt much more than my mouth! I guess I really was that hard to wake up. So I'm just taking it super easy for the next few days. I go back in to get my crown for my root canal in a few weeks.

Everyone on this board helped me immensely! Because of this board, I was able to make the dreaded appointment to find out what was wrong and what needed to be fixed. You guys all helped me to get through the scariest thing I was facing, and now I hope I can help someone else face their fears!

Edit: follow up below!
 
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Z

Zeolocation

Junior member
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
17
8 days later:

I've just gotten back from my post-op checkup and found out I'm doing great and healing well! That's been the nicest bit of news. Since enough time has passed, I'll fill you in on what my overall experience has been.

I was off the vicodin at day 3 and off the ibuprofen by day 5. I had two difficult extractions on the bottom, and even with these the mild irritation and soreness didn't last long at all. My swelling was also very minor and was gone by the third day (although my shoulder is STILL sore and bruised from where they were pinching me to wake me up!) I'm able to eat somewhat normally again, although because of the fillings and root canal I got my teeth are still sensitive otherwise. The biggest pain for me is having to take my antibiotics every six hours and losing sleep by waking up at 4 every morning to take them. That, and keeping my sockets clean. The irrigator helps so make sure you get one of those. Other than that, I feel great! I was pretty sleepy and out of it for the first three days, probably because of the pain meds and the remnants of the IV sedation, but after that I was going out and enjoying myself. I feel back to normal now (except for the holes in my mouth, lol).

If you're reading this because you're terrified of an impending extraction, you probably have a lot of questions about the before and after. I've learned a lot this last week both from my own experiences and from reading through this forum. I was plagued with questions, especially before I could get in to have my dentist check things out in there, so here are some of the things I've learned from this:

BEFORE/DURING:
  • First things first: this seems like a really scary thing for phobics to have to experience. But it isn't at all! You won't feel a thing and likely won't remember it either, if you get the IV sedation. Getting in there and getting this done will make you feel a million times better afterward! You'll finally be in control of your mouth again (whether wisdom teeth removal is a part of your treatment plan or the only thing you need done). Nothing is better than the feeling of having done this and knowing you're on your way to a healthy mouth again! And it only has to be done once! Your experience will be great, but even if it has its icky sides, you'll have a whole life with a healthier mouth! It's definitely worth pushing past the fear!
  • IV sedation affects people differently. A lot of people are afraid it won't knock them out and make them completely forget the experience. To be honest, my experience was a lot more like GA. I was totally and completely out of it. I hear I was receptive to the dentist during the procedure, but not only do I remember nothing after the IV was placed, I also barely remember anything from the day until later that night. I had the surgery at 8:30 am. (Taking an oral sedative beforehand may have helped me be a bit more receptive to the IV, as well.)
  • Any kind of oral sedation that you can take beforehand is super helpful! It may not do for you what it did for me, but it will definitely help get you in the door!
  • If you are afraid of needles and are concerned about the amount of injections you'll get: you'll only get one. Once the IV is in, you won't even know about the others (and even if you are dimly aware of them, you won't care). It's completely painless.
  • Any dentist/oral surgeon who doesn't bend over backwards to try to make you feel the most comfortable isn't worth your money. Don't bother putting up with them if they refuse you any kind of sedation or means of comfort (within reason!) There are plenty more dentists/oral surgeons who would love to give you a much more pleasant experience!
  • Swelling is different for everyone. Keeping ice on it the first day (really the first hour after surgery) helps. I didn't have much swelling at all.
  • Arrange to have someone take care of you/your kids for at least a couple days. You may not need an extra person around all that time, but it is really nice to have someone else make you malt-o-meal. :)

    AFTER:
  • You'll want to keep a towel on your pillow for a couple days. :drool:
  • Pain can last up to a week or two, so don't be alarmed if you're still feeling pain for awhile afterward if your pain is slowly lessening and you don't notice any other warning signals. On the other hand, you might end up feeling very little pain at all! Some people don't even have to take pain meds, or come off the heavy stuff early on. For me, the "pain" was no more urgent or annoying than a dull tension headache. And ibuprofen takes care of that no problem!
  • As far as how long it will take you to feel normal and have full capacity of your senses...for me, it took 3 days. For others, it takes 30 minutes. If you can, arrange to have a really easy week following the surgery. You may be able to do all your normal activities after 24 hours, but you may not want to. And hey, you just went through a really big experience! You should have as much time as you need to take it easy and heal.
  • It really freaked me out that I couldn't clean back there much, but I learned from others on this forum that you really don't need to worry as much about getting every single food particle out and brushing every single spot in your mouth. Just do the best you can: do your salt rinses, irrigate if you have one, brush where you can. That's as good as it has to be for now.
  • If you are a woman on birth control who is nervous about getting dry socket, try to arrange your appointment when you're on the menstruation part of the cycle, or days 23-28. It's a pain to be bleeding from both areas, but it's one less pill you have to take and it helps to have your estrogen levels the lowest they can get when you're having this done.
  • I've heard some conflicting figures about when the window for getting dry socket is. Some have said up to 48 hours, and others have gotten them at 5 days or so. But I think the biggest risk is really around the first couple days. As long as you are doing everything you can (salt rinses, avoiding sucking/spitting etc) you're probably in great shape. For the most part, those who get dry sockets get them because they didn't or weren't able to follow the care instructions properly. And if you do get one, your dentist can quickly help alleviate it.
  • If you suck in your sleep, try sleeping with your mouth open a bit to prevent suction.
  • Normal pain does not mean you have a dry socket! You will know if you have one; the pain will be sudden and overwhelming!
  • Dissolvable stitches usually dissolve by one or two weeks.
  • Don't worry about obsessing over every little thing you see in there. You have no idea what your mouth is supposed to look like after surgery, so everything you see will look scary and alarming to you. But trust me, it's fine and it's supposed to look that way! The greyish/whitish areas people see back there afterward are healthy and normal. Don't worry that you'll be able to see the bone: you'll feel it (dry socket) before you ever see it! If there's anything funky going on, your dentist will be the one to tell you because they know what a healing mouth is supposed to look like! If you really are concerned about something (or suspect you have dry socket), your dentist will be happy to take a look for you!
  • I was told to expect a funny odor/taste after the procedure. With all the medicine/LA/antiseptic stuff you've had put back there, it's not surprising.
  • Your mouth will be really hard to open wide for awhile. Even 8 days in, I could still barely open my mouth wide enough to brush the biting surfaces of my teeth. This is ok and perfectly normal! Gently stretching your jaw a little bit each day will help you get full mobility again. But it'll still take awhile!
All of these suggestions can be found elsewhere on the site, but I know that we all have so many questions and it's nice to have them all in one place. If you haven't gotten this done, you may not even have some of these questions yet, so I thought it'd be good to get a head start. It is just WAY TOO EASY to freak yourself out about what's going on in your mouth. You're not the dentist and so you don't really know what to expect, after all! But hopefully this gives you an idea of the common questions people have (and I had) about this experience! Good luck! Once you get it done, you'll feel a million times better!
 
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J

JessicaB

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
272
Hi Zeolocation. Congratulations on getting this sorted and an even bigger congratulations on your posts. You write brilliantly and in a way that is very logical, non-confronting and easy to read and understand. I'm sure this will help more people than you can imagine. I'm currently counting down to having 3 wisdom teeth out with IV sedation in October and I am very nervous. Every story like this I read helps me a lot, and yours is so full of useful information too. I will definitely come back and read this again and again as the day gets closer so I can remind myself of all these important things. Thanks again :)
 
Z

Zeolocation

Junior member
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
17
I am so glad to hear that! :)

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer/add them to the list!

Take care and good luck! It'll go great!
 
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