Monday, October 15, 2012

Wisdom Teeth: My Journey

September 10, 2012

I finally got my wisdom teeth removed! A few months ago, I went in to see the dentist for some pain and possible infection around one of my wisdom teeth. I've had pain on and off for the past few years as my teeth had grown. Sure enough, I did have an infection and needed an antibiotic. As a result, we talked about the possibility of removing all my wisdom teeth to prevent reoccurring infection. This was especially important now, more than ever, because I'm pregnant. Infection, in general, is not healthy for pregnancy and can lead to preterm labor and other complications. Dental infection is affects pregnancy even more than a general infection. I had two options. Remove them now, during pregnancy, or wait until I deliver. I chose to just do it now, rather than having three kids, one of which is a newborn and nursing. The dentist assured me that it was safe for the baby but that I would experience more pain and a longer recovery. 

Being pregnant, I wasn't able to take any noninflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen. I was left with tylenol. Also, I was wide awake during the procedure because putting me to sleep and/or administering laughing gas was not safe. And lastly, the general anesthetic they typically use to numb the mouth was greatly lessened to also make it safe. My anesthesia only lasted an hour so he had to work fast. The top two came out fairly easy and quickly, just a few cracks and twists. Then he started on my bottom teeth. And that's when it got tricky. He spent about 45 minutes on trying to pull my one bottom wisdom tooth. Not fun at all. After breaking, twisting, sawing, and cutting it into several pieces, he finally pulled it out. And to his great surprise, I had a hook root. My root was hooked onto my bone and just would not come out. Next, he started on my final wisdom tooth extraction, the other bottom tooth. He said it is extremely rare to have two teeth symmetrical. He was sure this one would come out fine. Unfortunately, I was the extremely rare exception and had 2 symmetrical hook roots. 

Once my extractions were finally finished, I looked like I stepped out of a horror movie. I had splashes of blood all over my face. :) I'm pretty sure I scared Talmage and Emma. But who cares because I was done!

That evening, I was feeling pretty good and just made sure to take my medicine on time. I had zero swelling once the numbing wore off. I was so excited! By the end of day 3, I was cleaning the house and doing laundry. I felt so proud that I was recovering quickly, especially being pregnant. And then day 4 rolled around...

I was having an immense amount of pain and the medicine didn't even touch it. The pain radiated through my jaw and into my ear. I didn't sleep all night. All I could do was pray and cry. It was horrible. I used a warm pad to help take the edge off. The next morning, as soon as the dentist's office opened, I was on phone. I told them of my extreme pain and thought I might have an infection. They told me the doctor was out of the office for the next few days but they call him and see if he could order me more pain medication and an antibiotic. He did. But the pain persisted for 4 days. I stopped taking the medication because it did nothing. Finally after suffering for four very long days and sleepless nights, I went into the office to be seen by the dentist. And the verdict...

He said he rarely sees a true dry socket. Only 3-5% of wisdom teeth extractions result in a dry socket. Lucky me. Usually what he does is prescribe strong pain medication but seeing as I'm pregnant, he can't. Then he suggested taking Tylenol. I thought it was a cruel joke but he was serious. Then I begged him, asking if there was anything he could put on it to help with the pain. I had heard of dry sockets being "packed" with something so I was sure he had to have that "something". 

Good news. Bad news. He said dry sockets are packed with a clove oil gel and tiny cotton balls. Unfortunately, he doesn't see very many dry sockets so he was all out! What? Was this another cruel joke? Nope. He was serious again. But he did tell me that if I could find some pure clove oil, that he would use that to pack it. 

I was in so much pain. I would rather be in labor and all he could say was take Tylenol. I was hoping for an epidural for my mouth! So I left the office. And I cried once again. 

How was I going to find this oil? I didn't exactly feel like running around all day, dragging the kids in and out of the car, just to hopefully find this oil. Luckily, my mom came to my rescue, picked us up and went out searching. Finally I was actually lucky and found the clove oil on our second stop. Phew.

We then headed directly to the dentist, where he packed my painful socket with the clove oil. It was a miracle worker. It immediately took my pain away. Where was this stuff 4 days ago? The next week consisted of me going into the office to get it changed and repacked every other day. The clove was strong and I smelled like a walking air freshener, but I didn't mind. It worked!

After that week, it was officially removed. I had pain for another day or two and then it was gone. It was finally healing, after two long weeks.

So there's my story. I had to document it, since this blog is also like a journal for our family. I was so grateful that Jacob took a week off work to help out with the kids while I went through all of this. I couldn't have done it without him. 

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