Bottom Wisdom Tooth Removal - What to expect and the recovery

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My first piece of advice when it comes to having your wisdom teeth removed is to do it before you head to college. I wish that I would have had all four of my wisdom teeth removed when I was 18 years old, instead of waiting and doing them all sporadically over the course of 18-34 years old. When you are younger your teeth are not fully formed, and the removal of your wisdom teeth is much easier before you hit the age of 20. I would suggest having this done before your child (or you) heads off to college – get put under sedation or anesthesia and have all four removed at once. You will be so glad that you did.

The pretty aftermath of wisdom tooth removal, lots of ice for the first two days to try to bring down the swelling

I had gone in at 18 to remove my bottom two wisdom teeth. It was with my childhood dentist and someone who I know has done tooth extraction many of times. I trusted him as did my mother, who I don’t think ever expected my first experience to go down the way it did. I was wide awake with only needles to numb the lower jaw and area around my wisdom tooth. Because the tooth had not yet erupted out of the gums the removal required cutting, breaking of my tooth in various pieces and then the terrible cracking, pressure and pulling. This one wisdom tooth took my dentist over an hour to remove – over an hour. The experience was so bad that the dentist stopped and told my mother “I just can’t put her through it to do the other one today, it is too much in one day so have her come back in a few months.” Needless to say after that terrible day in the chair I did not go back to do the other one.

My last wisdom tooth which was removed on 10/19. It had to be cut and then removed as it was fully grown but hidden below the gum line. Graphic I know!

Years passed and nothing about my teeth bothered me. When I was in my late 20’s I started to have a lot of dental work done to fix some of the botched work my childhood dentist did. My good friend is my dentist now and he truly helped me to redo so many awful fillings and make my mouth amazing. He removed lots of old “silver”fillings and replace them with enamel colored fillings. He did two veneers on my teeth that were a lot smaller in size than the surrounding teeth (I called them “baby teeth”) and around that time my top two teeth were really growing in all kinds of crooked. After doing some x-rays it was clear that my top two wisdom teeth were pushing into my other teeth and would have to be removed. At 28 years old all of the roots of my wisdom teeth were grown, and when the wisdom teeth are fully grown you run the risk that they are very close to the nerves. It is a gamble to go in and remove wisdom teeth at this age since it can have some impact on the nerves, and your dentist will tell you there is a risk you can have tingling in your face for weeks, even months, after the removal.

Here I am, right after my procedure. My dad took me since I knew I would not be able to drive myself home after.

The second time around I went to a new oral surgeon to remove those two. I asked to be “knocked out” since I was not going to put myself through that traumatic experience I had in my teens again. I don’t know why I just didn’t ask him to remove all 3 that remained, but I didn’t. I just had the top two removed and the recovery was rough. I was so swollen and puffy and very sick because I could not eat much and was on lots of medication. It was better to be asleep though during the removal and after a week or so I was back to normal.

Fast forward to this week – my last wisdom tooth, my bottom right, had been bothering me for weeks. It had erupted above the gum line and I could see it and feel it, but under the surface this tooth was growing in sideways. It was pushing up against the tooth in front and causing so much pressure. I went to a new dentist to have this evaluated and he said it would have to come out. When I made the appointment for the removal I was told that IV sedation and General Anesthesia was not an option at this office, and that frankly it wasn’t worth paying the $300-$500 out of pocket to do that for only one tooth. That’s something to keep in mind – if they are going to knock you out, you pay. It is not covered by your insurance so if you are going to do it make sure you just do all the teeth and get it over with. So, here I was over 15 years later back in a chair doing one wisdom tooth with just a needle to numb me and that was it.

I had never had Talenti before my extraction – what the hell was I missing?! It’s amazing…

The dentist I went to did not make me feel comfortable or at ease. I don’t even think he was as gentle as he could have been and he proceeded to keep telling me what he was doing the entire time “okay now you will feel this, and then there will be a crack”….”grab her head here” I just kept praying to my mom to get me through this hell. It took about 20 minutes and the tooth was out but had to be drilled and cut into two pieces to remove. Now 3 days later and my face is so swollen, my jaw looks like I’ve been hit in the face with a lead pipe. I can barely open my mouth and I haven’t eaten more than some soup broth, yogurt and ice cream. The pain medicine and all the antibiotics make me feel sick. It has been one hellish experience but I am glad I don’t ever have to do this again.

My tips to help your recovery go smoothly, or as smooth as possible

  • After your wisdom tooth removal make sure you have Arnica Montana – a homeopathic that helps to prevent bruising and swelling. I have been taking these non stop.
  • Have an ice pack to keep applying to your face for the first 48-72 hours to bring down the swelling.
  • Eat only soft foods and always have something in your stomach when taking medication.
  • Take the full course of your antibiotics so that you do not develop infection.
  • Rinse your mouth with luke warm water with sea salt a few times a day but not too rough, you don’t want to dislodge the blood clot forming in your socket or loosen the stitches.
  • Keep your mouth clean by brushing lightly and avoiding anything too close to the extraction site.
  • Try to sleep sitting up and avoid sleeping on your face at all.
  • Don’t eat anything that can get trapped in the sides of your mouth; stick to soup (not boiling hot), yogurt, rice pudding, ice cream
  • Don’t keep touching your face, just throw on your sweat pants and tshirt and relax.
  • If something doesn’t feel or seem right, call your dentist. Never feel like you are bothering your dentist!
  • Try to get your tooth or teeth removed in the middle to end of the week. You will need a few days home from work and doing it on a Wednesday or Thursday will also give you the weekend to recover.

As I write this I am on day 3 post wisdom tooth removal and my mouth is still super swollen. I have a huge lump on my jaw line and under my jaw line. I can barely open my mouth and I am in a good amount of pain – I hope in a few more days this swelling goes down and I am back to normal. I miss working out, eating food and just being able to sleep in my bed on my side.

On day 4 post tooth removal finally the swelling is going down – it seems that swelling is the worst day 2-3 but after that it should go down slowly. I woke up today with less of a golf ball near my jaw and it felt a bit better. If you feel like things are getting WORSE then call your dentist right away, it could mean you have an infection.

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