The Teeth of Wisdom

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I recently got all four of my wisdom teeth extracted and, boy, what a scare they gave me! Like most other people, I was really worried and scared going in. The dentist was very pleasant and the team was supportive, making the entire ordeal a little more bearable. Being totally knocked out during the procedure helped immensely as well!


Now, the day before going in, I decided to google for words of wisdom. I didn't get a chance to try all of the advice, but here were some that stuck out at me:

NOTE! If you're going to try this, follow with caution! I am in no way an expert in this and this info may or may not be accurate!

- The dentist prescribed for me painkillers and antibiotics.
- Stay ahead of the pain! I've been taking the painkillers right on schedule, and I currently feel no pain - a bit of dull numbness, but nothing bad at all.

Dry socket
- I haven't got it, and I don't want to either.
- What is it? It's apparently where the blood clot over the wound is dislodged prematurely, exposing the bone and nerves to the air. The result is a ton of pain, and not much can be done to help. In the case I do get it (knock on wood!) I could visit the dentist, and they can pack it with some cloves and gauze, but nonetheless, healing time will be delayed.
- How can I avoid it?
Do NOT use a straw afterwards - the sucking action is not good for the healing area.
Avoid coughing and sneezing because that could dislodge the clot.
No touching the area with tongue or fingers.
Don't rinse mouth rigorously.
Avoid playing a wind instrument (bye bye flute *tear*).
Luckily I don't smoke, since smoking increases the chance of getting a dry socket!
It's also lucky that I don't drink - drinking is a big no-no if I don't want dry socket.
I didn't hear about this before, so I scheduled the surgery near the beginning of my cycle. I should have tried to get the teeth out at the end of my cycle, when estrogen levels are lowest - this would have decreased the chances of developing dry socket.

- Pain and swelling peaks after 2-3 days of surgery, after which they slowly subside.
- For the first 24 hours after the surgery, I used an ice pack on my cheek. 20 min on one cheek, and then switched the ice pack over to the other cheek for 20 min.
- It's the second day now, so I'm going to be using a warm, damp towel on my cheeks. I'll use the warmth treatment tomorrow as well.
- Hopefully this works so I don't end up swelling like a chipmunk!
- I found that a tiny bit of swelling is happening this second day, but it's nothing major. I do feel a bit of soreness in the jaw area though, and today, it's a little harder to open my mouth. Then again, yesterday, I couldn't really open my mouth at all.

Salt water rinses
- The first 24 hours, I wasn't allowed to rinse out my mouth.
- After 24 hours, I'm now supposed to gargle/gently rinse my mouth with warm salt water. Something like 1tsp salt per cup of water.
- I'm supposed to do this 10-20 times a day, or as many times as I can manage.
- It helps reduce the chances of infection.

Tea bags
- These can help with excessive bleeding.
- How to use it? Dip the tea bag in a bit of water, squeeze to drain excess water, wrap it in some gauze, and put it over the wound and bite down.
- How does it work? The tea helps draw out the blood, and the tannic acid helps stop bleeding.

Pineapple juice
- The bromelain in the pineapple helps reduce swelling.
- Drink a few days before, to prepare your body. You can drink it after as well, though be careful because it can burn the wound a little.


The most important part! :D

It's just a few days after the surgery, and I'm already missing all my regular food. I'm a food lover, so it's hard not being able to eat all the food that I love. Even this morning, my family had BBQ chicken and some pasta that I couldn't indulge in.

I should eat just soft foods.
The first day was mostly liquids. The second day, I was able to start eating more solid foods.
I should avoid small particles that can get stuck in the wound, like rice and coconut.

Sometimes I don't feel like in the mood for eating because opening my mouth is a bit difficult, but of course, I need to get nutrients in order to get better! I've been using a small teaspoon to feed myself, or I've just been using a mug to drink out of.

I also need to stay well hydrated, so I should be drinking lots of water.

So far, I've found that the percocet (the painkiller) made me feel kind of nauseous especially when I had it with just liquids. The side effects go away if I have it with some food, though apparently taking percocet with some food lessens the painkilling effect - I still feel fine though, as in no major pains.

* My diet over the past few days has been:

Day 1
- congee (no rice!)
- chocolate milk
- water

Day 2
- congee again
- mashed potatoes - with homogenized milk and lots of butter yum. I'm going to find some gravy for it soon because there's only so much I can eat before being tired of just plain mashed potatoes
- chocolate pudding
- orange Jello - this one was harder to eat than the pudding because it was a bit harder and required some chewing; I ended up mashing up the Jello before eating it
- water

Day 3
- mashed potatoes (I'll eat it for breakfast, but otherwise have gotten sick of it already)
- banana smoothie
- strawberry Jello
- chocolate pudding
- Pizza pops cut up into tiny pieces and chewed carefully in the front
- slices of white bread, dipped in hot chocolate (I wanted to dip it in sweet condensed milk melted in hot water, but ran out of that milk at home)

* Food I haven't eaten yet but can eat right now:
Ice cream, sherbet, yoghurt, applesauce, avocadoes, etc.

* Food I'm planning to try and eat once I've healed up a little more:
Softly scrambled eggs, miso soup, well-cooked pasta, soft-boiled eggs, pho (noodle soup without the beef), crackers dipped in coca-cola (I swear by this! It tastes so good!)

March update: So I'm back to eating normally now, and it's fantastic.
Now looking back, it doesn't seem so bad. I'm just glad the doctors fully knocked me out before the extraction!