Being healthy isn't that hard.
Post wisdom teeth extraction. Bone exposed on bottom jaw
**Since writing this, more bone “pieces” have come to the surface. Being the picky person I am, I picked them out using my fingers. This caused some pain, and some bleeding. BUT – I continued to rinse with salt water twice daily. At this point (feb 24 2011) I am happy to report that I can no longer feel any bone! It’s all been smoothed over by my healthy gums!
Feels great :)
The sockets are still filling in, but they don’t trap as much food anymore. Still, I like to squirt them with salt water once per day.
Getting your wisdom teeth out is NOT without its risks. I consider myself fortunate.
Why I did it
The reason I got them (all four) out was not because they were impacted, which is the typical reason to get them out.* Rather, I was biting my cheeks on and off which was an annoyance. Every time I bit them, they would swell up just a little bit so I would bite them again. Like I said, this wasn’t a HUGE problem but rather something that came and went from one week to another. Another factor that I considered was that my mother bites her cheeks all the time, and she wishes she had gotten her wisdom teeth out at my age (21). At her age, it’s not usually recommended because the jaw bone is much harder and the risks are much greater (nerve damage, even brain damage!).
The day of the extraction
Getting them out was actually no big deal. It was the drugs that made it so easy. I wasn’t awake! Although they call it “conscious sedation”, I completely blacked out and remember nothing. It was probably awful (blood everywhere) but I (and my mother) saw nothing.
In the morning before the operation, I had to skip breakfast (fasting was required). Instead, I got to start my day with 10mg of Valium.
By the time I arrived, I was feeling quite talkative and optimitic. It wasn’t long before they hooked me up to a laughing gas mask. It largely obstructed my view of what happened next… which may have been the point.
They hooked me up to an IV, which didn’t hurt at all really. This is where the fun began: They began giving me multiple shots into the IV: One for the pain, one to keep me sedated, one to keep me still… and who knows what else. Literally the last thing I remember seeing was the (last? maybe?) syringe being injected into my IV. Then I time-travelled forward and the next thing I knew I was being helped to a resting bed to allow the short-acting drugs to wear off. Surprisingly, I didn’t have any trouble balancing after getting up. And I didn’t feel half-bad either.
Now, I’m a pretty big guy, over 6 six and around 190lbs. But I think a smaller female would need some SERIOUS support after all those drugs. Just my guess.
The healing process involved taking pain killers (oxycodone + tylenol, as well
as ibuprofen) and NOT brushing my teeth :) Brushing could disturb the blood clots that had formed, which would NOT be good. Rinsing with salt water was the best thing to promote healing.
After one week, however, I still had some serious pain in the bottom left socket. My doctor said it may be infected (impossible to tell, except for the symptoms). So I was given a Z-pack, which is a 5-day antibiotic.
A few days later, pain gone. So the infection theory may have been correct (although that’s impossible to prove).
By the way, along with the z-pack I also got a syringe-squirt thingy for “irrigating” my sockets. Supposedly after one week enough healing has taken place to be able to clean them by squirting salt water into the holes (but still not brush). It’s amazing the amount of food that collects in them. At one point I had piece of walnut the size of a tooth that came out into the sink during “irrigation” (yes it’s called that!).
I can see BONE!
After the z-pack one thing in my mouth still did hurt. Turns out that part of my jawbone was actually EXPOSED! Yes, I could see a white patch along the inside rim near the socket (but NOT in the socket a.k.a. dry socket). My tongue would rub against this patch of bone and irritate it, especially during meals and when swallowing.
Apparently, the doctor caused this. He didn’t actually admit this openly, but from what I have read the doctors need to clamp onto your jaw somehow. What can end up happening is your jaw-flesh gets rubbed off right down to the bone.
The solution? Avoiding brushing it, and just giving it time to heal, rinsing with salt water. Which I did.
However, the last few days I’ve noticed that the bone patch has gotten larger, and more protruding… After some reasearch, I came accross this post .
Excerpt. “It could be some bone chips from the extraction which are being “pushed” out by the gums. They’ll come out on their own and the area will continue to heal. If you want to, the dentist can numb the area and remove the bone chips but if they don’t bother you, I’d let it just heal on its own.”
I’m hoping that this is the case. I don’t have any pain whatsoever which is definitely a good sign. I’m just worried that the bone will get infected, which could mean serious trouble. I study abroad so going back the the surgeon isn’t currently an option. I will update later with what happens!
Good luck to anyone who’s gonna get their wisdom teeth out! Feel free to ask anything you want (you can be anonymous if you like).
Oh, and I forgot to mention, ask if your clinic if they can save your stem cells. Apparently our wisdom teeth contain stem cells that can be preserved for future (currently theoretical) treatments. Like re-growing our brainz :)
*Although these days many oral surgeons will suggest you get them out even if they aren’t causing any trouble whatsoever… They claim that wisdom teeth often “cause problems” later in life, like decay and tooth loss. Truth? Or are the Benjamins talking?