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Wisdom tooth anxiety causing sleep issues and dread

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porchpet

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Aug 17, 2019
Messages
8
Location
Canada
Hi all,

I know this question must get asked a lot on a forum like this, so I apologize in advance for adding yet another one. I'm looking to get some advice from you guys on how to proceed and deal with this. I hope I'm posting in the right section.

First, let me clarify that I am quite a ways off from getting anything done at the dentist. I haven't made an appointment for even a consultation and don't intend to for a bit, I just want to start working on this huge bundle of fear early.

Here is my situation. I probably need to have all 4 wisdom teeth removed. Sometimes they flare/swell up and make my mouth feel crowded. But they go back down again a few days later. There are little pockets of exposed tooth that I have to keep clean since I know that can cause infection. But mostly they are just hard lumps that are covered by gum. Is that what it means to have impacted wisdom teeth? Either way, I'm pretty sure this means they need to be removed unfortunately. No pain or anything, though.

I feel like I can't physically make myself go to an appointment. I went with my boyfriend when he had his removed. He wasn't concerned at all and we chose a really good dentist for him so he didn't even need his pain meds and healed very quickly. The dentist said his came in well, though, so it was an easier case. But even being in the office waiting for him made me so anxious. I just felt such an overwhelming feeling of dread being in that office and seeing him in the chair, thinking about waking up in pain groggy in that chair in a strange room with people I don't know.

I'll try to be more concise with my worries and list them out.

- Fear of pain is the biggest one. I'm worried about feeling trapped with the pain.

- My mouth is small, I've been told this by my dentist. This makes me worry that they will have trouble and not be able to do the surgery properly.

- Fear of being sedated is another big worry.

- Fear of vomiting and getting a dry socket.

- Fear of taking pills. I can't take a pill without putting it in yogurt or something first. I'm worried about not being able to swallow the pain pills (especially with a numb mouth) and being in agony due to it.

- I'm also worried about taking pain pills and getting addicted to them.

- I'm worried about what drugs they'll give me and potential side effects from those. This includes worries about things that happen after stressful surgeries, like hair loss and other complications.

- Fear of losing facial structure from the loss of wisdom teeth.


I'm sure there are more lurking in my brain, but you get the point. All of this dread is building up and causing me to have trouble sleeping. It is lingering over me, because I know I will have to go through it at some point, but feel that I can't.

Sorry for such a rambling post everyone. What should I even do when I feel like I just can't imagine making an appointment for this because the fear is so intense? I would really appreciate any advice, thoughts, or info on the matter.
 
Sol

Sol

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Mar 26, 2010
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241
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USA
Hello porchpet,

I'll try to answer some of your questions based on my experience with having impacted wisdom teeth removed.

If you are having IV sedation then you won't remember the surgery from the time the sedation effect kicks in until it wears off (a side effect of this type is amnesia). If it's oral sedation or inhalation sedation you will be aware but feel relaxed. I had IV sedation and was worried about nausea/groggy feeling after but that didn't happen. I felt pretty normal and not impaired after the surgery. There was an assistant in the room with me when the sedation wore off and I was taken to a side room to recover with my mom who had driven me to the appointment. Sedation can sometimes cause people to act "loopy" but this usually happens when people are given a combination of sedatives.

There shouldn't be pain during the surgery but you will need to take things easy for sometime after the appointment while your mouth heals. Some people have higher pain tolerance than others and some heal faster than others so experiences with this vary. I took the prescribed pain pills the day of the had surgery but they made me feel really sleepy. The day after I just used ibuprofen and was able to manage with that for about a week. The below link has a good summary of what to expect during the healing process.

https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/faq/healing/

You won't lose or notice a change in the structure of your face. You need to be missing a lot of teeth for something like that to happen. Depending on your situation (like your age, the position of your impacted teeth, etc.) they may opt to leave some in if they are not bothering you. I had 5 impacted teeth, dentist recommended that all of them be removed. The oral surgeon ended up only removing two because the rest weren't bothering me and there was a chance for additional complications.

Suggest checking out the success stories on this forum. Knowing is half the battle and it may help to boost your confidence by reading about other people's experiences. Hope this is helpful and good luck with making an appointment to get it checked out.

 
Susanne

Susanne

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Aug 13, 2014
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115
Location
USA
As far as the sedation goes, I also worry about that. The less side effects or possibility of side effects, the better, as far as I'm concerned. The dentist I will be going to has agreed to split things up into separate appointments so I don't have to get all 4 teeth done at the same time. That may not work for everyone, but it's what I'm comfortable with.

I will be having mine done with local anesthetic only plus a small/mild dose of anti-anxiety medicine such as Ativan. I've taken it before and know how it affects me - I just feel more calm/relaxed, not loopy or out of it. I will have to have someone drive me home, though, because the anti-anxiety medicine can slow down your reaction time.

The dentist I'm going to said that in their practice, they've found that taking a combination of ibuprofen and Tylenol (acetaminophen) actually works better at minimizing post-extraction discomfort than the prescription narcotic painkillers, plus it does not have the nausea and loopiness side effects that the narcotics do. The ibuprofen also helps with inflammation, not just pain. They send patients home with a prescription for the strong stuff too, but recommend trying the over-the-counter medicines first. You might ask your dentist if that would be an option for you.
 
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porchpet

Junior member
Joined
Aug 17, 2019
Messages
8
Location
Canada
Thanks for the helpful response, Sol. I will definitely read the links and start getting familiar with the process. So you did need to use a bit of medication for the pain. Do you have any idea what your pain tolerance is like? Mine is pretty bad in general, so that's why I'm concerned.
 
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porchpet

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Aug 17, 2019
Messages
8
Location
Canada
Thanks, Susanne. I'm going to ask about that now for sure. I would be much more comfortable taking those medications I'm used to that I have already taken before, so I really appreciate that.

I would do local if I could manage being awake during it, but I don't think I can. The surgeon my boyfriend went to said that healing is faster if you don't get sedated.

As for me, I think whenever I do this, I will want it all done at once. I can't imagine working up the nerve to go into the office twice. But sounds like that is better for you. Good luck on your surgery!
 
Sol

Sol

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Messages
241
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USA
Used the prescribed pain pills the first day because, well, they were prescribed by the surgeon and some family members had mentioned situations where they did not take any pain medications before their numbness wore off and they regretted it. I've never used prescribed pain meds like that before or since so I'm not sure how necessary it was. I stopped the next day because I didn't like how drowsy they made me feel. Using over the counter pain medications was good enough for me for the next 10 days or so, but felt ok with eating after about 3 days. I think using ice packs the day of the surgery, like what was recommended, also helped keep the swelling/pain down over all.

It's hard to say exactly how you will feel after the surgery. If you look around at the posts here some people are fine and able to eat normally the next day. Other people need a week or longer to feel more like normal.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Just to add, prescription painkillers are pretty much unheard of on this side of the pond (ibuprofen and paracetamol aka Tylenol/acetaminophen are recommended instead). And I doubt that pain thresholds are very different...
 
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porchpet

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Messages
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Location
Canada
Used the prescribed pain pills the first day because, well, they were prescribed by the surgeon and some family members had mentioned situations where they did not take any pain medications before their numbness wore off and they regretted it. I've never used prescribed pain meds like that before or since so I'm not sure how necessary it was. I stopped the next day because I didn't like how drowsy they made me feel. Using over the counter pain medications was good enough for me for the next 10 days or so, but felt ok with eating after about 3 days. I think using ice packs the day of the surgery, like what was recommended, also helped keep the swelling/pain down over all.

It's hard to say exactly how you will feel after the surgery. If you look around at the posts here some people are fine and able to eat normally the next day. Other people need a week or longer to feel more like normal.

Yeah, I have heard similar stories and when my boyfriend got his surgery the nurse mentioned to make sure to give him the pain pills before the numbness wore off. He specifically told me that he wanted to try without and see first, though, and we did that and he was fine. So I like to think maybe the pain isn't as bad. But then my anxiety kicks in and reminds me that was an easier case. But I'm trying to be positive about it regardless.

Thanks for your help and info. I will definitely make a note to have ice packs ready to hopefully speed up the healing process as well.
 
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porchpet

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Aug 17, 2019
Messages
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Location
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Just to add, prescription painkillers are pretty much unheard of on this side of the pond (ibuprofen and paracetamol aka Tylenol/acetaminophen are recommended instead). And I doubt that pain thresholds are very different...

Thanks for the info, letsconnect. That is very interesting to note that in your area it's just commonplace to do the tylenol/ibuprofen route instead. That definitely makes me feel a bit better about the pain. I used to think everyone just took painkillers immediately and if you didn't it was going to be really bad. That was my previous plan.

I'll have to re-think my options now. I may reconsider immediately taking the pain pills after reading more stories and experiences on here.
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

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You offer excellent questions.

Here is my two cents:

Were I to do the wisdom teeth thing again, I’d just stick with ibuprofen, and not bother with the opiates they gave me.

If you have any doubts about opiates (which is very reasonable) I’d advise you to go with strong doses (as they prescribe) of the wonderful ibuprofen. You should be okay.
 
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porchpet

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Aug 17, 2019
Messages
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Location
Canada
You offer excellent questions.

Here is my two cents:

Were I to do the wisdom teeth thing again, I’d just stick with ibuprofen, and not bother with the opiates they gave me.

If you have any doubts about opiates (which is very reasonable) I’d advise you to go with strong doses (as they prescribe) of the wonderful ibuprofen. You should be okay.

Thanks for the input, Dg6300. It helps me feel more secure in this decision hearing more people chime in with their experiences. I will certainly feel better about taking a preventative dose of ibuprofen following surgery than a drug I've never used or heard of before.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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I always take a dose of Tylenol and ibu before just to make sure. usually if I have to take the opiates I will save them for bedtime, just so I can sleep if its that bad.. and stick to nsaids during the day. I must have a high pain tolerance as I don't usually use many they give me.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Dear porchpet,

your post is a bit older and you have already received a lot of replies, but there is something I would like to add.

First of all, you mentioned that you probably will have to have your wisdom teeth removed. This is a really important point. It's about probably. I don't know how old are you, how long have the teeth been there and how urgent it is to get them out and whether they need to come out and you do not know either. You haven't mentioned wether you have a dentist you trust and whether he said something about your wisdom teeth in the past, but getting a consultation just to clarify this questions would be a very good thing and then you are still in charge to decide what you would like to go (if you don't like what the dentist said, you can still postpone the whole thing and not do the removal).

Accompanying someone else for their appointment might seem as a good first step to see how a practice is etc., but this doesn't apply to everyone. Being in a dental practice and not having anyone who can put you at ease or look after you (because it is not your appointment) can make you feel stressed and lonely. Watching procedures can be pretty scarry too. Remember that once you see a procedure you are having the perspective of the dentist and not of yourself. Also, seeing a procedure can trigger your own fear and loss of control and make you feel stressed even if the person is completely fine. My point is: it is not the same to have an appointment and to go as a company of someone else having an appointment.

I can only encourage you not to deal with your fears on your own, but to find a nice kind and caring dentists who will be willing to listen to you and tell you your options. Again, there is a long way between starting to google practices and actually have any procedure done and you are in charge.

Last but not least, most of the people are terrified of their wisdom teeth and I have met people who have put off dental visits for years because they were afraid of hearing what needs to get done. And enough of them were quite relieved to hear that the teeth can either stay in or that getting them out is not as urgent as they thought.

All the best wishes and keep us posted
 
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porchpet

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Aug 17, 2019
Messages
8
Location
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Dear porchpet,

your post is a bit older and you have already received a lot of replies, but there is something I would like to add.

First of all, you mentioned that you probably will have to have your wisdom teeth removed. This is a really important point. It's about probably. I don't know how old are you, how long have the teeth been there and how urgent it is to get them out and whether they need to come out and you do not know either. You haven't mentioned wether you have a dentist you trust and whether he said something about your wisdom teeth in the past, but getting a consultation just to clarify this questions would be a very good thing and then you are still in charge to decide what you would like to go (if you don't like what the dentist said, you can still postpone the whole thing and not do the removal).

Accompanying someone else for their appointment might seem as a good first step to see how a practice is etc., but this doesn't apply to everyone. Being in a dental practice and not having anyone who can put you at ease or look after you (because it is not your appointment) can make you feel stressed and lonely. Watching procedures can be pretty scarry too. Remember that once you see a procedure you are having the perspective of the dentist and not of yourself. Also, seeing a procedure can trigger your own fear and loss of control and make you feel stressed even if the person is completely fine. My point is: it is not the same to have an appointment and to go as a company of someone else having an appointment.

I can only encourage you not to deal with your fears on your own, but to find a nice kind and caring dentists who will be willing to listen to you and tell you your options. Again, there is a long way between starting to google practices and actually have any procedure done and you are in charge.

Last but not least, most of the people are terrified of their wisdom teeth and I have met people who have put off dental visits for years because they were afraid of hearing what needs to get done. And enough of them were quite relieved to hear that the teeth can either stay in or that getting them out is not as urgent as they thought.

All the best wishes and keep us posted

Enarete, thanks very much for your reply.

You are exactly right in what you said about accompanying someone to an appointment. I accompanied my boyfriend and it went the best it could possibly go (no pain after, fast healing, great doctor, etc) but I still felt worse about the whole experience after. I can probably manage a consultation at my current level of anxiety, because like you said I can always decide if I want to postpone it afterward.

I currently have a surgeon in mind for the procedure, but haven't spoken to him about it yet. The reason I believe the teeth need to come out is because they sometimes swell a bit and I can feel them more. And when I had braces as a teenager, the orthodontist mentioned something about needing to have them removed sometime in the future. But you are right, I don't currently know the state of things and will have to get that checked out.

I appreciate your input and will try and act on it and not wait too long just fearing it.
 
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porchpet

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I always take a dose of Tylenol and ibu before just to make sure. usually if I have to take the opiates I will save them for bedtime, just so I can sleep if its that bad.. and stick to nsaids during the day. I must have a high pain tolerance as I don't usually use many they give me.

Thanks, krlovesherkids777. After hearing everyone here talk about not really using the pain meds as much as I expected, my plan is to try and just use tylenol/ibuprofen. I suppose it's probably still a good idea to fill the pain med prescriptions even if I end up not needing them, though. Your sleep idea is a good backup, cause I certainly don't want to extend the healing time due to lack of sleep.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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I currently have a surgeon in mind for the procedure, but haven't spoken to him about it yet..

This is great to read. Having someone in mind means you are already moving forward. I know actually getting in touch might need some time but it sounds like you are making friends with that thought. I think you are doing well so far.
 
Aurora10

Aurora10

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Just to add, prescription painkillers are pretty much unheard of on this side of the pond (ibuprofen and paracetamol aka Tylenol/acetaminophen are recommended instead). And I doubt that pain thresholds are very different...

In my experience, in the UK they will give you prescription painkillers for dental pain but you can't get them from the dentist generally, you have to go to your GP. Procedures like a RC can cause extreme pain and ibuprofen and paracetamol won't cut it sometimes. For me, I'd rather do without painkillers at all, but if I do need them I prefer to start with over the counter tablets.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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I know here in the US too they are really trying to not give the heavy duty painkillers . But I do agree here that sometimes it really does go beyond the ibuprofen/acetaminophen threshold. I know dentists differ in how they give out these. and some are more generous with pain relief than others. I know in my state it is a HUGE thing.. I'm personally glad to have a dentist that gives me the option to have a few of the heavy pain killers when I go for more heavy duty procedures. Especially with history of ulcers. I go more tylenol than ibu.and they haven't flared in a while so I dare take ibu when needed. but some can't. so its a hard situation.
 
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