While at my regular cleaning at the dentist last year, she noticed that some of my teeth had started to move. She immediately had me get an X-ray to find out if it was being caused by wisdom teeth. And, she was right. The day I have been dreading my whole life was here. It was time to get my wisdom teeth removed. No one looks forward to this but it is definitely needed if your teeth are crowding.
I asked my friends and family about the experience but they only ended up scaring me. After going through the experience myself, I don’t want anyone else to go into blind. I’ve only had one removed so far so I have to go back for the other three, but let me break down the procedure for those of you who are curious.
A week before my appointment, I asked my doctor if I needed to do anything to prepare. She prescribed me at least six to eight hours of sleep the night before. So, I opted out of seeing my friends that night. She also suggested that I take 200 mg of Celecoxib one hour before the surgery. It is an anti-inflammatory, which would help with any pain or inflammation I would experience during the procedure. This is what my dentist prescribed so consult yours first before taking any medication.
What to expect
I’m not afraid of going to the dentist or doctor but thinking about this surgery had me a little nervous. This was mainly based on the horror stories from my friends and family. Yeah, they weren’t helpful at all. Your own dentist should talk you through the process but here’s what you can expect.
First, we went over my X-ray to assess which tooth should be pulled out first since not all would be taken out in one session. After deciding on a tooth, my dentist explained what was going to go down.
The first step was placing a numbing gel on the areas she was going to inject with anesthesia. Once that kicks in, she started applying the anesthesia to the different parts of my gums. You will definitely feel the pressure of the first few ones but as it starts to take effect, you won’t feel anything. Tip: Just keep breathing through your nose the entire time. After that is the waiting game. As the anesthesia starts to do its job, you will obviously lose feeling in that area and it could affect your cheeks and lips as well.
Before starting the extraction, she checked if I really couldn’t feel any pain, and I didn’t. You’ll still feel what’s going on but it shouldn’t be painful. Since my wisdom tooth was still hidden, my gums had to be sliced open. Once the tooth was exposed, my dentist started loosening the tooth from the root. Okay, this is where it starts to get really uncomfortable. Because the tooth is being pulled, you’re going to feel pressure. If it starts to get painful, let your dentist know so they can add more anesthesia. Seriously, don’t be afraid to do this. I had my dentist add more twice during the procedure. One thing that helped was a stress ball they had me squeeze. Ask if your dentist has one or you can opt to bring your own.
Keep in mind that this surgery can take a while and your mouth will be open the entire time. Expect that your lips will also be stretched a bit. Mainly because wisdom teeth are way back in your mouth. If it starts to get uncomfortable, ask your dentist to apply more petroleum jelly on your lips.
My dentist was talking me through the whole process, which was also very helpful. This way, I was able to brace myself for pressure and any other discomfort.
After care is very very important so take not of what your dentist recommends. Here are some that I followed:
1. Don’t gargle with mouthwash. Lukewarm water with salt is okay.
2. If you’re going to eat solid food, make sure to chew on the other side of your mouth.
3. Refrain from any strenuous activity.
4. Go back to your dentist one week after the extraction for a check-up.
5. Do not drink from straws since the pressure can affect the healing gums.
6. Refrain from drinking alcohol and smoking.
7. If you notice unusual swelling, contact your dentist.
8. Rest! A lot of people forget about this which is why many people get a fever. Remember that this is considered surgery so you body needs time to recuperate.
9. If there is any pain or itchiness, take a painkiller. I found that Advil and Biogesic worked best for me. But, only take them when needed.
Art by Marian Hukom
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