If you know me like, at all, then you know that I have been afraid of getting my wisdom teeth taken out for nearly a decade. That’s 100% not an exaggeration. I’ve legit been living in fear of this since my dentist first recommended I get them out when I was still in high school. I thought she was full of it, so I ignored her. Then in my first year out of college, my new dentist (also a family friend) told me I needed to get them out. This time I actually made an appointment for a consultation and showed up, only to have the receptionist be so insanely rude to me that I actually called my mom in tears from the waiting room. She reminded me that there were plenty of other oral surgeons who would be more than happy to take my money AND be nice, so I left and never looked back.
Flash forward to a few months ago at my new dentist in NYC. I was getting a crown done and my dentist cracked my wisdom tooth. Instead of fixing it, she told me that I might as well get them out anyway. I’m prone to cavities. All 4 of them were at least partially grown in and had cavities and even if she were to fill them, they’re so far back in my mouth that I would likely continue to get cavities in them for the rest of my life. So I decided to take the plunge and make the appointment for yet another consultation.
I can’t even begin to explain to you how badly I wanted to avoid this. When I was at my consultation, I literally cried because I was so scared. All I’ve heard are horror stories from people who say that if you don’t get them out in high school, you’ll be in lots of pain. Women are more likely to get dry sockets – that was a nice fun fact someone shared with me. Oh, and apparently if you have to get your bottom two out, that puts you at a higher likelihood of dry socket too.Since I’m a girl and I was getting all 4 out, you can imagine how lovely this was to hear…
Morning of the surgery:
I was given instructions not to eat or drink anything after 12am that morning. This is really important, because anything you have in your stomach can throw off the anesthesia calculations and be really dangerous and possibly deadly. Don’t mess around with that. I wore my comfiest sweats and had my mom drive me to the office. I tried to be chill, but I was very unchill.
Before the surgery:
Once I was called in from the waiting room, the world’s nicest nurse took me into the room I’d be getting the surgery in. I was honestly kind of surprised to see that nothing looked scary at all. It was a regular dentist chair that I was put in (for some reason I pictured an operating table – how ridiculous am I?!). She hooked me up to a blood pressure machine and if I’m being real here, that was legitimately the most painful part of the process. That MF squeezed my arm so tight that I for sure thought it would just pop. When I kept saying how nervous I was – and almost cried again – the nurse was so sweet and talked me off the ledge, so to speak. She had me rinse my mouth out with anti-septic and then the surgeon came in to get started. Not only was Dr. Solomon a really nice guy, but he’s distractingly attractive. Like, every time I looked at him I felt blinded by this man’s good looks. It was ridiculous. Unfortunately for me, I apologized for being dramatic and he goes, “don’t worry about it – I’m married to a woman, I’m familiar with dramatics.” Thanks for letting me down nice and subtly there, dude.
The nurse tied something around my upper arm to get the blood pumping and then inserted the IV – TBH I’ve never had an IV and I’m scared of needles so I’m pretty impressed with myself for not being more freaked out. It wasn’t comfortable, but it didn’t hurt. The last thing I remember is the surgeon saying they were going to give me my medicine through my IV. And then I was asleep.
The actual surgery:
I can’t tell you a thing about this because I was out like a freaking light. From what I was told afterwards, the surgeon went in and numbed up my gums with Novocain anyway, just in case I were to wake up from the anesthesia. Luckily for all of us, I didn’t wake up until the very end when I heard the surgeon say, “ok awesome, we’re all done.” And just like that, I was awake.
The recovery room:
I was brought into a room to rest up a little bit before I was ready to be released. I definitely felt tired, but I didn’t feel loopy or drugged up at all. I was expecting a David After Dentist moment – I’d even asked my mom to record me if I did anything funny so I could share it in this post. Sadly for all of us, I have nothing to share. Because I was the most boring patient ever. When my mom had her wisdom teeth out, she literally tried to jump out of the car while we were on the highway and also called my dad at work to tell him I was kidnapping her. The most exciting thing that happened with me was that I thought it was cool af that they let me keep my teeth. And all I said was, “wow” because I’m boring af.
The biggest piece of advice I can give anyone who’s getting this done is to take your medicine in a timely fashion. DO NOT CHASE THE PAIN. I was given a 600mg Tylenol while I was still at the dentist’s office (I had to ask them, but they were happy to do it). The prescription said to take one pill every 6 hours, but I religiously took one every 5 hours because I was terrified to feel the pain I was expecting to feel. I set an alarm on my phone to go off every 5 hours (even in the middle of the night). They also prescribed me some stronger stuff similar to Vicodin, but I only took one pill of those each night when I was ready to go to bed, because they made me tired.
It’s really important that you do NOT spit in the first 24 hours of getting your teeth extracted – this is a crucial time for the blood clots to start forming and if you spit, it can dislodge them and that’s when dry sockets occur. You should also stick to liquids or soft foods. Luckily for me, my mom was an angel during all of this. She kept bringing me pudding and sorbet and then when I was hungry for real food, she chopped up mac and cheese for me, and even chopped up a little Lactaid pill because I’m lactose intolerant so I needed to take one for the dairy, but I couldn’t chew. She’s so freaking cute!
Aside from the alarming amount of pudding I consumed in the first day, there was nothing exciting to report. 3 of my wisdom teeth were fully grown in and 1 was partially impacted still so when they took that one out, they put in one stitch to help close to hole. The only part of my face that was noticeable swollen was where that tooth came out, and I think it’s because that part of the surgery was a bit more invasive. The other three teeth barely felt sore at all. In terms of timing, the Novocain felt like it had worn off by about 7pm that night, and other than that, I was just sleepy from all the excitement.
24 hours post surgery:
24 hours after I had my surgery – you’d think I’d be posted up in bed watching Real Housewives reruns and eating ice cream, right? WRONG. My entire family was out of the house, all doing different things and didn’t have their phones on them. That’s when my poor dog decided to poop blood all over the house. In a state of panic, I called my best friend who came and picked us up and we went to the emergency vet together for three hours. So yeah, not typically how you’d spend your first full day post-op. But my babygirl needed some attention, so that’s what she got.
Once we were cleared to leave the vet (with 4 different medicines and a scary warning to keep checking her for dehydration), we headed back to the house. Cookie was pooped and so was I, so we spent the rest of the afternoon snuggling and eating soft foods.
Fun fact: by later that night, I was able to start munching on some hard foods. I wouldn’t recommend this if your mouth is sore, but mine felt fine and I needed some oyster crackers in my life, so I went for it. I didn’t regret it one bit.
5 days post surgery:
By Sunday night (2.5 days post-op), by stitch had fallen out. After frantically googling it and seeing that most people were saying that this shouldn’t happen until day 5 at the earliest, I was FREAKING TF OUT. I wanted to kick myself for eating anything but soup the last few days. Luckily when I called my dentist’s office in the morning, the receptionist let me know that it was dissolvable and that they weren’t expected to stay in longer than a few days, so I was totally fine. PHEW.
5 days post-op and I’m feeling 85% back to normal. My mouth is still slightly sore, but just barely. I religiously take the Tylenol still (and probably will for another week or so, just to be safe). My face isn’t really swollen anymore like, at all. I’m still rinsing with anti-septic rinse twice a day (I started doing this 24 hours after the surgery). It helps keep your mouth clean and helps to dislodge some of the food that gets stuck in the extraction holes.
I’m still paranoid about getting dry socket, so I still avoid straws like the plague (that sucking motion will get ya every time), and I have a mini panic attack whenever I sneeze because I can feel the pressure in my mouth and I’m nervous that it’ll dislodge the blood clots.
One week follow-up appointment:
Exactly one week after my surgery, I went back to the office and got checked out to make sure everything was healing ok and there weren’t any signs of infection. I find it incredibly ironic that despite being a nervous wreck about this entire surgery, my surgeon said it was one of the easiest recoveries he’d ever seen. Everything was doing well, I had no signs of infection, no dry socket and no pain whatsoever.
I walked in and out of that appointment in 10 minutes and had the official go-ahead to start using straws, so I headed straight to Starbucks and ordered my classic iced soy chai latte – straw included 😉
Before I left, I was given a syringe looking thing to use to clean out the holes left in my mouth. My surgeon explained that over the next few weeks, the holes would start to close up and we wanted to avoid getting any good particles stuck in there because that might cause infections. So now every morning and every night, I fill this thing up with water, insert it into the little holes, and squirt out any food debris that gets stuck in there. TBH, it’s extremely cool to me. Then again, I’m one of those weirdos that likes watching Dr. Pimple Popper, so any type of extraction is cool to me. STOP JUDGING. My mom thinks I’m disgusting but whatever.
So there you have it – a full week of what it’s like to get your wisdom teeth out! Coming from someone who was deathly afraid of getting this done, I cannot tell you how silly I feel about putting it off for an entire decade. It was so easy! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to write a comment or send me a message. I’m happy to help you however I can! xo, AJ