Friday, August 6, 2010

Wisdom Teeth

I just got my wisdom teeth pulled, and also got a bone graft and a sinus lift. In other words: A lot of stuff happened with my jaw area today. Also, I'm still on Vicodin while writing this, so some errors may occur.

Here's what it was like from my perspective:

In order to put everything together, there had to be quite a bit of back-and-forth between the oral surgeon who was doing the pulling, the graft, and the lift, and the orthodontist who does my braces. I'll only be using the first letter of both their names, since I haven't gotten permission to use their names. Dr. S is my orthodontist--has been since third grade--and Dr. F was my oral surgeon.

A while back, I got a tooth pulled. I don't know what it's called, but if I touch my right canine, then go back two, there's a gap there where the tooth used to be. It was pulled because it was a milk tooth with no adult tooth behind it, and so was going to grind down too much. I knew that, eventually, that would have to be replaced.

Unknown to me, the bone did not fully heal. This is normal. If there's no tooth there, there's no reason for the bone to completely heal, it just heals the hole back together, but the bone is too thin for an implant (needed the graft and lift to put it in).

My lower wisdom teeth, meantime, were growing in slanted. If this isn't taken care of, that causes something called impacted teeth. I don't know much about this, but I believe it means the bones get crushed and then you get teeth that are damaged and other teeth that are hard to pull and that just doesn't work for anyone. So, better to do it before any of that stuff happens.

Dr. S told us that I'd need an implant** and needed to get my wisdom teeth looked at. He recommended Dr. F. We went to Dr. F a couple times to set up exactly what the procedure would be, and it ended up making the most sense to do everything we could do at once.* That meant getting both wisdom teeth pulled, and doing the lift and graft. So technically the title of this post should be longer, but so it goes.

I got some drugs to take the morning of. One was a Valium pull, to ease me into the general anesthesia they'd be administering, and the other four were some antibacterial pills that were white and pink/red. The white side had A 45 marked in red. I was told to take all of these at 9:00 AM the morning of the surgery.

I was not supposed to eat or drink anything but the meds and a little water to wash them down after midnight (general anesthesia).

A little later, I was worried something in my braces might mess up the operation. Dad said that probably nothing would, but called anyway. The receptionist said Dr. S would probably have noticed something like that, but she would ask anyway. I don't know if anything happened on our end after that.

The Night Before
I had a late dinner, and ended up finishing quarter of nine.

It's summer, so my sleep schedule was completely out of whack. Despite knowing I had to get up at 8:30, and accordingly planning to get 9-10 hours, I didn't get in bed until 11:03, and I couldn't sleep until I finally gave up and tried reading my biology book. I got to sleep around 1:00.

The Morning Of
I got up at 8:30 and showered. After reading the paper for a little while, it was 9:00, so I took the four antibiotics. I confirmed I could take two at a time, but I found that out by taking one, so I ended up taking one, then two, then the last one.

The Vicodin, however, had crushed into a powder. Luckily, it was in an envelope, but I still had to tap it into my mouth, which meant that I tasted it. Bleaugh.

There wasn't much effect, and then I sat up and felt rather lightheaded. It didn't really affect my head, just made it a little difficult to go down the stairs at my house and get in the car. I was thinking a little differently, but just as clearly as is usual. Make of that what you will.

Then we got to the waiting room. We were about five minutes early, and I think we waited about ten.

The Surgery
They put me in a blue chair. It was pretty much a normal dentist's chair, except a little more cushioned and with straps on the arms. They put an IV sedation in me. I looked away from the needle, because I have no problem with needles unless I have to watch them go into my skin, in which case I jerk my hand away. Don't ask me why; it doesn't even scare me; it just happens.

I remember thinking I should probably let myself fall asleep, then hearing the doctors talk about how to set everything up, and then I don't remember anything until waking up.

(Though I was not awake for this part, I was told after the fact a little of what happened. Dr. F had to snip through some rubber bands on my braces in order to do the sinus lift--so I was right about my braces causing an issue, though I didn't guess exactly what. I also found out later that my molars were fairly easy to take out, all things considered. I'm a good patient even asleep :D.)

I woke up to Dr. F asking me to open my mouth wider, and I was a little cold. I thought there was something on top of me, but I wasn't sure. I was still a little out of it for a while, but from what I heard and saw, he was putting the stitches in.

The string he was using was bloody, as were his gloves. I thought, Hm, that's my blood. That should probably bother me, but it doesn't. Ooh, I wonder if this is how hemophobiacs feel under anesthesia!

He finished with the stitches, and someone took off the blue paper they must have covered me with at some point. So I was right about there being something on top of me. After that, someone else took the IV out. My legs were cold, and just as I was about to finalize my plan of how to communicate that without using my gauze-filled mouth, someone brought me a blanket.

They wanted to move me, so I tried to sit up on my own. Someone next to me said to lean back a moment longer, and sat me up with the chair. She gave me an ice pack. And even if you think you don't know what I'm talking about, you do. Those little while, wrap-around-the-head-like-a-headband deal. Then she got me over to a bed that was about five steps from the chair, and told me I'd probably have to rest for about half and hour. It was five of twelve, by my watch (which is five minutes fast). My tongue and my right cheek, right lips, and lower lips and chin were numb.

About ten minutes after that, whoever had gotten me to the bed found/figured out that I had gotten the drugs that would make me dizzy early on in the operation, and they would probably have mostly worn off by that time. She got me in a wheelchair and wheeled me out to my parents, who had been waiting in the waiting room about three hours by this point.

Dr. F had apparently gone over wit them when and how I could take the various drugs I'd been given--X every four hours normally, but can go every two if the pain's intense, Y as labeled, and the antibiotics with dinner. None of the drugs have bad interactions, so we didn't need to worry about that.

The woman who had helped me along wheeled me out to our car. Dad offered to bring it around, but since it was in the lot she said she'd just wheel me out.

End Wound Count
Stitches over where both my wisdom teeth, the back part (near the hinge) of the right side of my jaw, and on the right side of my mouth, under my upper lip.

I got home and my tongue was no longer numb, and the rest of the numbness was receding. I felt pretty good, too. That may just have been the drugs, but besides a little ache in the back right of my jaw, it hasn't gotten much worse, Vicodin or no. I got a bit of a bloody nose, but Mom said Dr. F says that's normal. Makes sense--he basically cut a hole in my sinuses. I went out to see a friend whose party I could not attend (no points for guessing why), and he said my smile was creepy. Mwahaha.

Dr. F called a little while later (c. 5, 5:30) to tell me I should use the meds ahead of the pain, and so I took a Vicodin around then, at my mother's request/behest.

Then I started the blog entry and oh I've gone recursive.

TBC: Obviously I'm still recovering. Dr. F said the pain should peak at around Sunday (two days), so I'll at least keep this posted until then.

The numbness faded completely around 7:30 PM. I went off the Vicodin at about 9:45--in that that's when it was supposed to stop affecting me. At about 10:00, my mom thought I looked pretty tired and pale, and told me to try to get some rest.

I got into bed and burst into tears. No pain, I was just crashing from (a) drug(s) in my system. Sadly, I had a bloody nose and the sheets got bloody... My mom replaced the sheets and set up a spot for me on the couch so I could wind down some more. I did that until my brother called to be picked up from a sleepover, at about midnight. I went to bed at 12:30.

I woke up at 8:00 and proceeded to put the ice pack on, eat breakfast (clam chowder, yum), take my antibiotics, brush my teeth (ow), and take the antibacterial rinse, in that order.

I had my first thing I really had to chew at 5:40. Pulled pork sandwich, courtesy of Mom. It was delicious.

The swelling and pain were the worst, but that was the warning I got. On the bright side, I could chew without much change in pain, it just hurt more overall. So whatever, I guess. Started calcium supplements--regrowing a lot of bone.

Swelling worse, pain better. I sneezed and it hurt a lot. Really. It had no right to hurt that much.

Swelling better, pain better. I tried to go off the pain meds though and...too soon. Sharp pains with the aches.

Finished the antibiotics with lunch, finished the antibacterial rinse in the evening. I could actually go off the pain medication and go out, though I don't think they'd worked their way out of my system yet. Swelling better, pain better.

Swelling almost entirely gone, and I can actually sing for short periods. The pain lessens, and I could chew grilled cheese on sourdough.

It pretty much continued like this. I went off the calcium supplements a few days after.

* We couldn't put the implant in until after the bone from the bone graft had settled in, which would take ~9 months.
** EDIT: Or a bridge. But the doctors suggested the implant, and it's what we chose.


© 2009-2013 Taylor Hobart