Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bye Bye Wisdom Tooth!

Today was the dreaded 'wisdom tooth removal day'. I first noticed my lower right wisdom tooth had come up in May. Oddly enough, it was a grey/brown colour (the dental hygienist remarked this might have been caused by medications my mother took when she was pregnant?). I didn't have any dental coverage so I put off going to the dentist. My mouth started to hurt in July, but that went away after a week. Yay for grad school though, I finally got coverage in September, but couldn't get an appointment until October. Unfortunately, at that time I had a bad cold so had to put it off for a further three weeks. Oh the drama.
Anyways, today was the day. My dentist said that since I only had one tooth that needed to be removed, and because it was only partially impacted, I could get by with local freezing, and not anesthetic. This was good news because going under anesthetic scares me. Still, this whole procedure had the potential to be the most traumatic health procedure of my entire life, not counting the endoscopy I had a few years ago, so I was still pretty nervous.
First, she put some gel on the area to numb it, then injected me THREE TIMES with the local anesthetic, which immediately started freezing. Half way through, she had to inject me once more. Honestly, those stupid freeing needles where the most painful part of the whole thing. What followed was two hours of open mouth mayhem. Besides the needles, the other worst bit was the cheek retractor they kept shoving in my mouth. It's hard to keep your mouth wide open for two hours! She poked and scraped and pushed, which wasn't too bad. Then she started up the drill to break up my tooth, which also wasn't so bad, except it tasted and smelled really bad (that was probably just the salt water they were irrigating my mouth with). But then, horror, she kept sticking these screw driver type things in my mouth, pushing and yanking really hard. Those I did not enjoy. 
This entire process was repeated over and over again. The hygienist kept laughing because every time the dentist used the screw driver things, I would cringe and roll my eyes. She told me to just keep them closed, but I couldn't help watching. Seriously, I wish there was a mirror on the ceiling so I could've seen the inside of my mouth. Alps, I wish the dentist would've talked me through what she was doing (it's not like I could ask!). It ended up taking like two hours, before she finally pulled that sucker out in three pieces. Apparently it was difficult and stubborn. I've also been told I have a small mouth, so that probably didn't help matters. I was just glad to have it out. It ended up pushing my other teeth forward a little, but hopefully removing it will fix the alignment problem. She gave me a couple stitches (by far the coolest part to watch) and put this dirt looking medicine in to help it heal (but it tastes like bad tea).
Now, bring on recovery. The one side of my mouth aches a bit, and biting on gauze has proved to be not so tasty either. Then the freezing wore off. Now it just hurts a bit more, and my mouth tastes gross. I keep replacing the gauze because it keeps bleeding a little. I've been using ice packs all day to keep the swelling down. Unfortunately, it hurts to open my mouth too wide, which makes eating a problem. So far I've sucked down some soup and yogurt, but honestly, I'm so hungry right now!! It doesn't help that I've got Bob the Ulcer to feed too. I'm pretty sure I need some carbs. 
I don't know how people get all four done at once!! I'm a pain baby so one (and not getting knocked out) is all I can handle. Getting four out must be soooo painful!! I only have two more left, both the upper teeth, but hopefully they stay where they are because apparently getting teeth removed as an adult is pretty risky and wrought with complications. Lucky me though, I've only got three. I hope the swelling isn't too bad. I hope I don't bruise or develop a dry socket. Plus I've got a Christmas party in a couple days, so I hope I can enjoy the food!!
Some interesting resources:
Patient's Guide To Wisdom Teeth (interesting background to why we have those stupid teeth in the first place!)
Wisdom Tooth Presentation (watch the super informative video at the bottom of the page)
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It just took me half an hour to eat a banana. My jaw really hurts, but Bob the Ulcer isn't as mad. It hurts to swallow though. I'm such a wuss.

2 comments:

  1. Good to hear you made it through one of the most uncomfortable dental episodes and wihout having general anesthesia too!

    The screwdriver thingy is called a dental elevator. It basically loosens the tooth and its surrounding dental fibers from the socket. As for the dry socket..try to cut down on the cigarette smoking Lisa that should prevent it :)

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  2. Dental elevator? Such a boring name for an instrument of evil!

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