Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Teeth Are Gone!

I meant to update a lot sooner, but today is the first day that I've felt well enough! Why? Because this pretty little brace face got not one, but TWO DRY SOCKETS! My worst fear came true, times two. I cannot even begin to tell you how excruciatingly PAINFUL it has been for me. But I can tell you my wisdom teeth (+ 4) extraction story, so here we go . . .

Wednesday 3/09
Night before surgery, stayed up as late as I could b/c I knew the sooner I went to sleep the sooner it would be time for me to get my teeth extracted. I think I ended up going to sleep at about 11:30.

Thursday 3/10
Extraction Day: I woke up early in anticipation of my appointment. I took a shower and got ready, deciding not to wear any eye makeup in case my eyes watered but slapped on plenty of chap stick because I read that my lips would get really dry during the procedure. Then we were off. I was super nervous the whole ride there, but also a little excited. Getting my wisdom teeth out has been something that I've needed to do for years, but I've been too afraid to do. I was finally getting it done! Getting over my fears! And getting my 4 pre molars removed makes way for my braces to do their job! The braces that are going to get me that gorgeous smile I so long for! So as nervous and afraid as I was, the excitement of what the extractions will result in was making it worth it.

I arrived at the doctor's office 20 minutes early! Handed over $1,200.00+ (thank God for insurance or I would have been out almost 5 Grand!), filled out a few papers and was ushered right in. The assistant walked me to a small room that honestly just looked like a typical dental office. For some reason I was expecting the room to be bigger and look more like an operating room. She seated me at the big dental chair in the middle of the room and kept the conversation going as she prepared everything for the doctor. She asked me to remove my sweatshirt, I had worn a short sleeved T-shirt underneath because I knew they'd need easy access to my veins so they could knock me out. Then she placed a face mask on me and told me it was oxygen. Just as she did this the doctor and 2 other assistants entered the room. An assistant wiped my arm down and inserted the IV. I was OUT in a flash! I remember opening my eyes twice during the procedure and hearing my doctor's gentle voice telling me to close them. I didn't feel a thing though and I only remember seeing a blurry white light and the doctor's hand. As soon as the doc told me to close my eyes, I did and the next thing I knew the room was empty and I was being woken up by the first assistant.

She helped to walk me to the recovery area and had me lay down while she gave my prescription to my husband so he could go down the hall and pick it up while I "recovered". She was going over the wisdom teeth instructions with me, but I was too out of it to understand. Soon both my husband and doctor came back and the doctor went over the instructions with my husband and we were on our way. I was numb and out of it the whole way home. Not a funny out of it like those YouTube videos of people saying funny things, more sleepy out of it. My feet felt like bricks and my legs felt like I was walking through jell-o, but my knight in shining armor got me home and situated in bed. I slept for hours until I awoke in pain. My husband quickly gave me my pain medication (codeine) followed by ice cream. Yum! I was dizzy for the rest of the night, but mostly slept.

Friday 3/11
I had a chocolate ice cream smoothie for breakfast, blended with chocolate ensure to give me some nutrients. I continued to take my pain medicine every 4 hours as directed. I knew I needed to because I could feel the pain begin as the medicine wore off. I was also taking amoxicillan 3 times a day.

Saturday 3/12
I was tired of the codeine knocking me out and making me a zombie, so I switched to Motrin to handle my pain. My swelling was at its worst on Sat. Not nearly as bad as I had expected though.

Sunday 3/13
I thought I would start feeling at least a little better by Sunday, but to my sad surprise I was still sore and in pain. I could tell that other than the swelling, I had made NO progress. I had to take codeine a few times because the Motrin wasn't helping as much as it had before.

Monday 3/14
My pain was at it's highest on Monday. I was able to confidently say that it was definitely MORE than just the discomfort my doctor said I'd be in. Still, I thought I was just being a wimp. I kept thinking to myself that I really thought I had a much higher tolerance for pain & was sort of disappointed in myself for being such a big baby. I had stayed in bed the whole time since my surgery and somehow that didn't seem right to me. Especially after 4 days! I am not exaggerating when I say that Monday night was just plain TORTURE! I was asking for codeine every 2 hours (hubby wouldn't give it to me of course) and was in TEARS. I spent the entire night in EXCRUCIATING pain. Horrible.

Tuesday 3/15
I awoke in a codeine induce fog and began crying as soon as I opened my eyes. I hadn't really slept the night before b/c the pain kept me awake. Although the codeine knocked my body out, which was really weird. I was lying still in bed with my eyes closed, but my mind was still wide awake and in pain. My husband, being the amazing man that he is had already called the doctor and made an appointment for me to come in. I basically just got up, washed my face, brushed my hair and brushed my teeth as best I could. I could barely even speak when we got to the office. My doctor was not in the office so another (more senior) doctor seen me. I had heard of this doctor from some people that I knew who had their wisdom teeth extracted by him. They all said he was good, but not friendly or warm and fuzzy. Maybe the tears in my eyes and pathetic looking face made him feel bad for  or something because he was definitely friendly and sympathetic towards me. As soon as he seen me he knew there must be a complication because wisdom teeth removal should not hurt as bad as it was hurting me. He laid me back in the chair and I immediately felt nauseous and announced that I thought I was going to get sic. He sat the chair right back up and called for an assistant (the same super nice one from Thursday) to bring him a pan. She came quickly, but not quick enough. I puked all over myself and the floor. So embarrassing! The doctor just walked out and asked the assistant to help me. I was really embarrassed and just kept apologizing, but the assistant was so understanding and told me not to worry and that it happens all the time. After I cleaned myself up and rinsed my mouth out, the doctor returned. He looked in my mouth and told me I had not one but two dry sockets.(dry socket: exposed nerves when blood clot does not form over extraction site or is dislodged) He said it's not too common, but that it does happen in about 10% of patients (1 dry socket anyway). He soaked small pieces of gauze in oil of cloves and basically shoved them in the sockets where my wisdom teeth once were. The two lower previously impacted sites were the culprits. It hurt when he put the gauze in the socket, as you can imagine, but compared to the pain that I was in before it wasn't that bad. The oil of cloves also tasted really bitter and gross, but again it was nothing compared to the pain I had been in. By the time I left the office I was already starting to feel a little bit better and within the hour I realized that the pain was definitely decreasing and dulling. Unfortunately, I had a new issue to deal with. The nausea just wouldn't quit and I continued to throw up for the rest of the day until it eventually (TMI) turned to dry heaving. Later that evening, my original doctor called to check in on me. He apologized for not being able to see me earlier but explained that the front desk person didn't even tell him I was coming in - she just put me with the first available doctor. He reminded me that I have his cell phone number and encouraged me to call if I have any further concerns. He also went above and beyond by canceling m y previously scheduled ortho appointment for me. I'm scheduled to see him tomorrow for a follow up appointment and to change my guaze. I snacked on soggy saltine crackers through the rest of the night to try to ease the nausea and by nightfall I seemed to be doing a lot better. Still nauseous and sore, but that extreme pain was finally gone and I actually slept through the night.

Wednesday 3/16
I finally feel OK! Slight headache lasted through most of the afternoon. Mouth is sore, but not in pain. All in all, I finally feel like I am recovering!

I really didn't expect this whole process to go this way! I thought I'd have the surgery, be knocked out for a few days then start recovering. Who knew it would take 6 days for me to feel even somewhat ok. Man! I am so paranoid that that horrible pain will come back. The doctor said most likely my blood clots never formed so I was basically dealing with exposed nerves for about 5 days! Can you believe that! Here I was thinking that I was just being a big wimp, when I was dealing with the most painful extraction complication out there - times two!

The doctor is supposed to change my oil of cloves soaked gauze to a dissolvable dressing tomorrow so that by the time it dissolves I should be healed. I seriously can't wait to be healed! This has been such a trying experience for me. I don't wish it on anyone!

But...on the bright side, this should be the hardest part of my orthodontic treatment. I don't anticipate anything being harder than this! I'm sure it will hurt a little when I get my braces tightened etc. but nothing can possibly compare to pain I was in. So yay for the hardest part being just about over!


  1. OMG I'm so sorry to hear about your complications. Wow I didn't even know that could happen! It sounds like you had a really difficult week. I hope everything heals perfectly from here on. The good thing is that braces are a breeze, for the first bit your gums will be pretty sore, but the wax helps wonders. I think the first day with braces I had wax on them everywhere! The best part is, with the braces you are going to see your teeth shift so fast. I noticed that having extractions, i guess because of the extra space it gave my teeth, really made them shift quickly. I remember getting the braces on, and then I remember having straight teeth. Good luck with the remainder of your healing process :)

  2. Ya know, I had read about dry sockets and people posted on dental websites about painful they are but I just figured I'd be overly cautious so that I didn't dislodge the blood clot. I really never even thought of the clot not forming on it's own! As freaked out as I was before the procedure, I really thought that after it was all said and done I'd laugh at myself for worrying so much. Ha! Looks like I had reason to worry.
    I haven't noticed too much of a shift in my teeth yet, but I am really hoping that after my ortho tightens my wires and attaches some dorky rubber bands that I'll notice movement quickly!