This blogpost is slightly different to the recent blogposts I’ve been doing – skincare+ makeup + food reviews but I thought it would be handy in the long run for people choosing which kind of ‘state‘ they wish to be under when their wisdom teeth removal operation is in process + also debunking the myth of being conscious during surgery as a terrifying and painful experience.
Disclaimer: This was only my experience, each individual’s surgery and recovery experience will be different. Also, this is quite a lengthy post compared to my other posts as I want to go in depth as possible! (Warning: I talk about blood and plaque so if that irks you, then this isn’t the blogpost for you.)
About 2-3 weeks ago, I got all 4 of my wisdom teeth(3rd molars) removed because I had an infection last year around October in the midst of uni semester 2 assessments and there was the Hong Kong elective which meant I couldn’t remove them in time (the swelling went away with antibiotics and salt water gargles). The problem was connected to all four wisdom teeth in some way – the teeth were not fully exposed/ everytime I chewed, the tooth inside the gum would hit the other tooth etc and early this year, the bottom two teeth started to hurt again so the 4 teeth had to go, though the actual operation didn’t happen after a month of xraying and hopping from dentist to dentist, I ended up choosing an oral surgeon who also operated on my friend (thanks Naomi for the recommendation!). The reason why an oral surgeon was chosen was because the other dentists in the areas nearby were not 101% certain they could do the wisdom tooth extraction of my left wisdom tooth which was close to a nerve.
First step was a consultation which lasted around 10-15 minutes and the oral surgeon checked my teeth and assessed the Xrays. Then an appointment was secured at the reception desk (there was about a week in between the consultation and the operation date).
An hour before the operation, I was given x amount of Panadine and y amount of sedation tablets and after ingesting those and then was told to lay down and wait for the drowsiness to kick in. I underwent conscious sedation which meant I would be drowsy and relaxed but conscious throughout the surgery.
The only pain during the surgery was when the 4 needles were inserted, one at a time into the gum near the site of extraction – it was short intense pain. When the actual extraction occurred, I only felt brief moments of a drilling sensation/vibration since I was numb at this point. A small roll of gauze was placed over the wound and I was told to bite on it for about 30 minutes.
In the car ride home, I kept nodding off and at one point, the blood overflowed(not like gushed cos the blood was thick) out from my mouth (it was a long drive) #tmi but we bleed because we have blood – went to the Coles afterwards to pick up some smooshy and smooshable stuff to eat in the upcoming days (I mostly ate congee, a soft rice soup).
[Note: Only take tablets/pills that have been prescribed to you – I only took the ones listed below because I have allergies to another type of medication / I’m not too sure if Panadine and Panadol are the common painkillers used.]
After 2-3 hours, the Panadine began to wear off and I didn’t read the slip of aftercare instructions which instructed me to take painkillers regularly before pain develops + the time gap between the first tablets If I thought the needle insertion hurt, this pain hurt way more, to the point I was bawling a fountain of tears- I don’t recall crying from pain before. I couldn’t get myself out of my room and to the Panadol because I was so focused on how intense the pain was – I normally try to distract myself from pain because I read somewhere that our experience of pain is intensified when our minds centre around how painful it is but since I wasn’t expecting the pain of this intensity, I was caught off guard. Anyways, got the Panadol and the pain subsided somewhere between 5 to 20 minutes after ingestion. This was about 5pm on the day of surgery and before the next ‘scheduled’ round of Panadol, I went to sleep around 9pm because I’m not a fan of medication so if any pain came around I’d be asleep (I don’t know if that logic works but I woke up the next day in no more pain.)
Also, the things I ate and drank on that day were Winter melon(boiled till soft then I smooshed it with my tongue- you’re not meant to be chewing or moving your jaw much on the day of surgery as this can dislodge or rip the stitches but I was stubborn and lucky that the stitches held strong), Congee, rice pudding, soy milk, rinsing my mouth with salt water – no brushing teeth on the first day not that I could move my mouth as much as I could before.
The swelling on my cheeks, in particular my left cheek lasted for 3-5 days after surgery with the left side of my cheeks near the bottom cheek bearing a yellowish green bruise. Luckily it was the holidays and the place I worked at allowed me to take a week off – the first two days, I didn’t have all my nutrients so I was lethargic and I kept falling asleep throughout the day – to be honest, I was planning to edit content but that clearly didn’t happen. Nevertheless, rest is always a good thing.
The first day after surgery, my jaw started to ‘stiffen up’ and its full range of motion was restricted but since I was smooshing winter melons with my tongue the night before then it didn’t seem as bad as other people’s case of jaw stiffness. Due to the jaw stiffness and the relatively freshness of the wound, I wasn’t able to brush the tooth close to the extraction so I would reach up to that teeth and when I could open my mouth a bit more wider, I meticulously took 30 mins – 1 hour everyday using a toothpick (I used these) to scrape off any plaque I couldn’t fit my toothbrush around – sides of the teeth as the toothbrush head isn’t as flat as the toothpick and then I would brush on the top of the tooth with the toothbrush – this is what I personally did, not advising you to follow my footsteps as it is easy for the toothpick/flosspick to slip and get tangled in a stitch or something!
Also, after a few days, I thought I had food on my wounds but it was just granulation tissue.
Around 3-4 days after surgery, I was freaking out because I read up on dry sockets as a common but unfortunate thing people experience after wisdom tooth/teeth removal. None of the symptoms matched so I was safe.
About 6-7 days after, I was able to open and move my mouth like how I used to before.
There is now a noticeable ‘hole’ and it’s easy for food to get caught in it and people online have recommended syringes but I’ve found that syringes don’t help me to flush out food particles so I do the whole 30mins-1 hour meticulous, full focus and concentrated toothpick/flosspick removal of food particles and then aiming a syringe of warm saline solution (salt in warm water ) at the cleaned area to prevent infection and minimise bacteria buildup. Once again, I don’t recommend probing with a toothpick/flosspick.
Consultation by referral: $115 AUD
Operation including medication and whatnot: $1800 AUD
It has almost been 3 weeks since I’ve gotten my wisdom teeth removed and the dissolvable stitches are still there. I was told they’re disposable stitches but forgot to ask if they’re the longer-term-to-dissolve-type but so far no complications.
If you’re someone who absolutely cannot stand the smallest amount of pain (not saying it’s a bad thing, everyone is different and it might be traumatic for some) , then conscious sedation (what I did) may not be recommended (especially if you move around a lot if you’re in pain or if it triggers you in any other way) but if you are a relatively calm person when it comes to temporarily bursts of pain and irritation, conscious sedation is a cheaper method (by up to $400 AUD less). The reason why I chose conscious sedation was that my pain toleration levels vary but generally I can deal with a moderate level of pain and I was curious about the process though unfortunately I didn’t get to see any of it nor see my wisdom teeth at the end – but I was also pretty drowsy to care about the teeth haha.
Something that I wish was included in the aftercare sheet was more and thorough information because I didn’t know about dry sockets or what actions could lead to them occurring – compared to tattoo aftercare sheets, this was like a trailer if the tattoo aftercare sheet was the full deal/model example of how detailed an aftercare should be (but then once again they’re both kind of unrelated). I freaked out over the granulation tissue when I saw it and thought it was food, or it was an infection or something but a quick Google (though not always the most reliable but I went on forums and several dentist ish sites) proved me wrong.
Overall, I’m thankful that I was able to have my wisdom teeth removed – I can’t imagine how it would’ve been like in the past / or even now with people who are not as fortunate to receive safe surgeries. This definitely was an interesting and lengthy experience(not so painful but inconvenient aftercare process) and I’m glad that all four teeth were taken out all at once instead of two at a time so now there’s no repeat of this experience as I would prefer not to do this again.
Thanks for reading