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Published April 25th 2017
For the greater good, I will share this essential guide
I wish someone had written a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for a wisdom teeth surgery. I just had 4 wisdom teeth removed last week and I didn't have jello or ice at home. Bad idea. This is a doomsday prepper's worst nightmare.
For the greater good, I decided to share this essential guide for all the brave souls out there who are planning to undertake the unthinkable Middle Ages torture method of ripping teeth out. There are no truths or confessions to be extracted, only the burdensome teeth of wisdom. Nevertheless, the mess and pain are the same, but with this guide and the many other wondrous inventions of mankind since the Middle Ages, you will survive.
The day before the procedure Ice- Prepare lots of ice! Crushed ice and iced water will be your saviour for the first 24 hours.
Ice gel pack- Buy a gel ice pack if you don't have. It really helps to ease the swelling in the first 1-2 days. I bought one from Chemist warehouse for $6.00, and don't forget to chuck it in the freezer before you head for the procedure.
Jellos and puddings- It helps to prepare the jellies and puddings the day before so that they are nice and set for you after your procedure. Let your creative juices flow with the variations of pudding you can create. I made a wheatgrass milk pudding and a honey and almond milk pudding to ensure I keep my glow on..even with a swollen face.
Keep your glow on.. even with a swollen face
Painkillers- this is a perfectly legitimate reason for you to go crazy on your painkillers. I rarely take painkillers and the amount of Ibuprofen and Panadeine that I took during the first 1-2 days totalled up to the amount I would take in say, 2 years. Though the hospital or dental clinic would prescribe them to you, you may not get a chance to fill the script straight after your surgery. So, while you are at Chemist Warehouse, purchase a box of Ibuprofen and Panadeine too.
Food- Stock up on the other food that you plan to eat during your first 3 days of recovery (this is war people!). I personally bought a couple of the Heinz soup pouches, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetable smoothies and, you will like this, ice creams! You have legitimate medical reasons to completely indulge in ice creams, just don't buy those with bits and bobs in it. I had to send my husband to buy another tub after he returned home with cookies and cream.
My diet during recovery
On the day after the procedure
Remember the ice and gel ice packs? You will be quite dehydrated after the procedure because you may be asked to fast (no food and water) if you are going under general anaesthesia. Have a glass of water with ice and use a teaspoon, not a straw. The suction from using a straw may dislodge the blood clots that are stopping the wound from bleeding. Start icing your cheeks for 20 minutes on, and then 20 minutes off while you are awake. This will help to reduce the swelling, which will peak in Day 2 and 3. You think you look bad after the procedure? It's not the worst.
I was famished after the procedure because I had to fast from 8am till 5pm for the procedure. I had cold soup when I first came home. The nurses wouldn't recommend hot soup because you can't feel it when you scald your tongue. Yes, your face will be numb for at least the first 12-24 hours after the procedure. And yes, you will have dribbles down your chin and neck. I found having a cup of ice cream and jelly after to be very comforting and necessary.
Though I wasn't feeling much pain before I went to bed because of the anaesthesia, I took Panadeine before I slept. The doctors and nurses also recommended it, as it was easier to prevent the pain than control it after it peaks.
Days following the procedure For the next 2 days, I followed the doctor's instructions to medicate alternately with 1 tablet of Ibuprofen and Panadeine every 3 hourly. On Day 3, I was able to reduce my pain medication to just Ibruprofen and Panadol, and then just Ibuprofen after Day 4.
My diet during my recovery basically revolved around mashed stuff. Just think of any food that you can mash. I had mashed broccoli and cauliflower after steaming them, mashed sweet potatoes with butter (yum!), and I had a special indulgence with KFC's mashed potatoes. Not the healthiest option out there, but it makes everything taste much better.
Diet of mashed stuff
I am pleased to say that overall, the experience has been well, manageable. I have heard my fair share of the pain and trauma of wisdom teeth extraction. Thankfully, I did not experience any excruciating pain apart from the excruciating 4-hour wait in the day surgery ward for my turn. Further exacerbated by the fact that an old man across me sniggered to the nurse "who would in the right mind pull out 4 wisdom teeth?!" If that's not enough, the peace that I cultivated during my wait was punctured by the hysterical cries of a girl wailing for her missing nose and cheeks after she was wheeled in post-wisdom teeth surgery. Unfortunately, this survival guide does not cover what to do during fear-inducing circumstances such as these.
Kudos to the nurses, surgeons and especially to the old man and brave girl who shared this experience with me. I hope that this guide will help make your experience as pleasant and civilised as it can be.