View Full Version : Wisdom Teeth extraction, speeding recovery
06-07-2001, 12:34 AM
I am getting my wisdom (teeth) removed Wednesday next.
Is there anything I can do to speed/ asssist the healing process and minimize my chance of complications?
06-07-2001, 12:46 AM
Your oral surgeon should give you some directions on this post-removal. They're fairly obvious, IMO: don't eat anything hard or pointy like chips, don't chew ice, be careful with hot foods and liquids, etc. You also might be given some painkillers (I didn't need mine; they're probably still in my medicine cabinet) and gauze for the bleeding. That's pretty much it. In a week or so, you should be almost as good as new.
How many teeth are you getting removed?
Oh, and welcome to the SDMB. :)
06-07-2001, 12:58 AM
also, straight after the surgery, and for a few hours after you'll have to spit out the blood. But the thing is, you can't spit like you normally would, you have to do it very very gently or you could get what's called "dry bone" (I think that's right). That's when you dislodge the blood clot that's formed in the now empty socket. I found the best way was to just let the blood sort of dribble out of my mouth (very attractive look!)
You may also be told to periodically rinse your mouth with warm salty water. You can't really "speed up" the recovery as such, but you can make sure you don't impede it and you can make it more comfortable. It doesn't take that long anyway, a week or so should do it. Ice packs are good for post-op swelling.
As a side note, be careful what you eat even after it's all recovered. There's nothing worse than getting bits of food (corn is bad!) stuck in the holes where your teeth used to be!
06-07-2001, 01:11 AM
Another tip: Put tea bags on the extraction sites if the bleeding doesn't seem to be stopping within a couple of hours. I ended up vomiting several times on the first day post-op, which I believe was due to swallowing too much blood (kept bleeding despite using gauze and pressure). It stopped being a problem once I finally used the tea bags, and the rest of recovery was uneventful. Oh, and no, it didn't hurt very much, especially compared to how uncomfortable I had been beforehand with those impacted teeth.
Like Audrey said, it's really common sense for the most part. Eat soft things like pudding/jello for a couple days afterwards. Don't smoke or use a straw. Doing such things might dislodge the clots at the extraction sites and you might end up with "dry socket", which is reportedly very painful (despite vomiting repeatedly I was fortunate enough not to encounter the dry socket problem). I was very apprehensive pre-op, but in fact I'm glad I got it over with while I was still young. Good luck!
06-07-2001, 01:14 AM
Most of the "recovery" process will be getting over the general anesthesia. If you are into drugs and think pretending like you are still coherant so the nurse will give you more is a bad idea. I did it and couldn't move for three days. Not to mention you'll be eating/drinking nothing but milkshakes and juice boxes until you don't look like a chipmunk any more.
So really, there is no way to "speed" your recovery. Make sure you have a comfy sofa or bed and a big stack of Blockbuster's greatest hits cause you wont be going anywhere(I don't care who you are) until the 2nd or 3rd day.
06-07-2001, 01:43 AM
Got mine out at the beginning of May. it's really a breeze. They brought me in at 7:45, gassed me, knocked me out, and I woke up about an hour later, went home, and went to sleep. My mouth was kinda numb from the novocain, but by the end of the first evening, I was eating cambells soup and drinking milkshakes. The 2nd day, I was feeling just fine, ate fried fish and cheese grits for lunch, then got a bowl of soup and a shake at Steak'nShake. I bled a bit the first day, but not too bad. I kept ice packs on my face while I slept the first day, but after the middle of that afternoon I didn't need them
All in all, it's not nearly as bad as they make it out to be. Mostly just inconvenient. The Percuset they gave me knocked out all the pain, and left me very relaxed for the rest of the week. Since I took 4 days off from work, It ended up being a nice little vacation. I'd say the flu is 10 times worse than having my teeth pulled.
And yes, I did have all 4 pulled, and they were all impacted.
06-08-2001, 11:07 PM
The main problem with wisdom tooth extraction, especially from the mandible (where the blood supply is less) is the development of a "dry socket," essentially alveolar osteitis (inflammation of the bony tooth socket).
I can tell you from personal experience that this is a horrendously painful condition. I had a right mandibular impacted wisdom tooth extracted when I was in my residency training. A dry socket ensued, and it hurt like Hell for a couple of weeks. I'd never experienced such pain. Nothing helped, except for constantly repacking the socket with iodoform strips soaked in clove oil and lidocaine. I finally went to see some of my maxillofacial colleagues one night while I was on-call and learned how to self-administer a novocaine nerve block. That worked great until the damned thing healed.
06-09-2001, 06:52 AM
Mine went pretty much like muffinman's. Except for the vomiting thing. As soon as I woke up for the next 4 or 5 hours, I must have puked every 30 minutes. I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with swallowing blood but rather a reaction to the drugs in the IV drip they had going. As soon as that passed, I felt much better, and the next day I was almost normal.
But I consider myself lucky. Boy, have I heard some horror stories! :eek:
Duck Duck Goose
06-09-2001, 08:05 AM
1. It won't be as bad as you think. Ignore the horror stories. I've had 3 out so far.
2. Allow me to strongly urge you to ARRANGE TO HAVE SOMEONE DRIVE YOU HOME AFTERWARDS. Even after the medication has technically worn off, you still won't feel up to operating heavy equipment. Shell out for a taxi if you have to.
3. The warm salt water thing really works.
4. I had two of mine out during a time in my life when I had a kindergartner and a 3-year-old underfoot, and nobody let me lie on the couch for 2 or 3 days and watch videos with ice packs on my face. Count your blessings. :D
06-09-2001, 10:32 AM
To avoid vomitting-don't eat anything for up to six hours before the operation. Yeah, it's a pain, but that's what I was told, and never had a problem.
06-09-2001, 02:09 PM
I think that the variation in experiences is more of an individual thing, than dependent on what you do about it. Myself, I had to stay away from solid foods for about two hours, and didn't touch the pain meds at all. By that evening, I was eating just like I always had, and didn't have any problems. Far less unpleasent than my braces were, when first I got them... I think that I lived on milkshakes, broth, and Jell-o for two weeks, then.
Most oral surgeons won't let you get your wisdom teeth extracted if you don't have somebody around to drive you home. They like to have that person around just in case some sort of complication arises.
I had my father wait around for me. I only had to have two teeth pulled and it was relatively simple and I felt normal in about two days, although I developed a low grade fever on the third day presumably from a post-operative infection. If your doctor gives you some antibiotics, use them.
And don't take the painkillers on an empty stomach. If you do, you will likely vomit and vomiting with a mouth full of gauze is no fun.
06-09-2001, 09:04 PM
Ask your oral surgeon/dentist if he/she can call in your prescription for pain meds BEFORE your appointment, so you can pick them up beforehand. That will save you the hassle of having to stop for them on your way home from the appointment, and having to go into the pharmacy and ask for a prescription for a controlled substance while your entire face is numb and drool is running out of both sides of your mouth. "Cud I hab sub Puuhkuhdaaaah?"
If you're having them pulled, take along a stereo headset, and a tape you like to hear played at high volume. I found the sound of it to be rather disconcerting.
I had all 3 of mine pulled at once (I didn't have a 4th one), and it wasn't a big deal. It was an incredibly low-tech venture, though. I remember sitting there thinking that what he was doing with his set of high-falutin' pliers didn't look too much different from what I had seen my neighbor do when his horse had to have one of its teeth pulled. (My other thought was "Not only am I sitting here and allowing him do this to me, I'm PAYING him to do this to me...")
Hope it goes smoothly for you. Let us know how it went.
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