Aside from the fact that it was bloody, my wisdom teeth surgery was probably one of the most comfortable of all new, potentially horrifying events in my life. The dentist had a wonderful dental-seat-side manner and walked me through exactly how my teeth were doing, what i should and might expect, and—this i especially appreciated-how normal or atypical my case or the risks are.
1.5hours later, i left the clinic with a strange wonderment. The actuality was less than the fear (thank you, anaesthesia). After a couple more hours and youtube videos, i am extra grateful to my dentist and his assistant (the wisdom tooth extraction scene in Saw VII is now completely believable to me). Their gentle hands and careful information made my own feel like a breeze. I thought id be in the hardy camp, good as new the next day. But my relatively advanced years and petal-shaped roots means i’m learning lots from my traumatised gums.
1. Ask all questions before surgery. I thought the dentist and i would be having a post-op debrief. I didn’t reckon that the left side of my face would be immobiled and guazed up. In the general aftermath of the trauma, all i could manage was “Thangssh bewwy mush”. The good bit is the anaesthesia might not have worn off yet, so you will be able to speak if you don’t mind sounding and looking very odd.
2. Eat your fill 6 hours before the surgery. They say do not eat too close to the surgery, and eat at least 5-6 hours before the surgery, but they should have added ‘your fill’, and ‘have some chips and peanuts’ cos i know i won’t be having them for a month at least.
Then brush your teeth.
3. Drink your fill before the surgery. You might want to make this a couple of hours prior.
4. Unless you’re feeling brave, take a painkiller before you think you need it. Eschew unnecessary drugs!, i’d thought. Then i became a shivering mess crawling to the kitchen for my meds.
5. Keeping your head elevated while you sleep will help you look less of a chipmunk.
6. Cold packs do help with painful swelling. I used frozen green tea packets. After 48hours, warm towels help with the blood drainage.
7. The tannins in tea bags help with clotting. They make a tastier substitute for gauze, and are a helpful bit if you’re afraid the bloodclot will be lost—
8. Which would lead to dry socket. Do not suck, sneeze, cough, rinse for the first day at least. The dentist left me a helpful key word: to bathe the area regularly, but not send it through a washing machine; I realise sneezing exerts tremendous force throughout the entire mouth.
9. Stitches are a good idea. White patches are likely dead skin (mucosa).
Yes, ice cream is allowed. Hot foods or drinks will dilate blood vessels and make the wound bleed more. No rice, nothing with skin or seeds or spices. Runny eggs topped with melted cheese have been great. A blender is very useful invention.
10. The body is amazing and always working to heal itself. Leave the area alone; keep food, tongue and fingers away.