A bober election day is hard to accept
November 2, 2008 1:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting two wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow(top and bottom on the same side) I've never had a tooth pulled. It is my tradition to drink while watching the election results. I know my dentist would recommend against this. If I *were* to drink on Tuesday, how bad would that be? Anyone have experience with the tooth extractions and the drinking? Also feel free to share your recommendations for food/after care/things I should expect
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron to Health & Fitness (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
After your surgery, you'll likely be prescribed some strong painkillers that would be dangerous to mix with alcohol. Beyond that, prepare for a few days of a sore, bloody mouth. Keep cold liquid foods on hand: ice, ice cream, protein shakes, etc. Rinse often with warm salt water to keep your mouth clean. Talk to your dentist, etc.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:06 PM on November 2, 2008

There are two problems with this:

Anesthesia + Alcohol = Very Bad Idea.

Open Wounds + Alcohol = Excruciating Pain

Fortunately, they're going to prescribe you with narcotics, which should get the job done at least as well as the booze would have. Take the prescribed amount and you should feel just fine. It still hurts, but somehow it doesn't seem to matter.
posted by valkyryn at 2:15 PM on November 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, jeez--if it were me I think I'd cancel the appointment and reschedule. I think as a nation we're going to be pretty drunk.

You could not take the prescribed painkillers, but you'd still need Tylenol or something which is hard on your liver, and combined with lots of alcohol, not a good idea.

Extractions can turn out to be no big deal or you could be in pain with chipmunk cheeks and misery. Mine were all really easy, but I don't think you can tell how it will go.

So: I'd cancel.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:20 PM on November 2, 2008

Hey, forget drinking. You'll probably be taking home some Vicodin. Since this is a special election, why not accompany it with a special intoxicant?
posted by mudpuppie at 2:22 PM on November 2, 2008

Everyone already covered the 'OMG don't mix alcohol and strong painkillers' bit. Your recovery probably depends on whether the wisdom teeth were impacted or not. Buy lots of soft non-chewing food. I had lots of mashed potato and gravy, soups of various kinds, ice cream, smoothies etc. I got sick of it all really quickly, and in retrospect I wish I had pre-made some pureed meals. Like, make your own space food kind of thing. Hopefully you will get lucky and only have to go a few days without chewing. You can also buy those meal-in-a-can things like Ensure, but they aren't going to taste nice.
posted by Joh at 2:25 PM on November 2, 2008

Are the teeth impacted or not? There's a big difference in recovery time.

I had two wisdom teeth pulled (top & bottom, same side) with local in the morning. Came home, took some ibuprofen and slept for a few hours, had a tender dinner of alphagetti and went to work the next morning. I never took any other pain medication, but my teeth were not impacted. I went out the following night and celebrated a friend's 21st birthday - it was not a problem. IANAD, IANYD and YMMV.
posted by meerkatty at 2:27 PM on November 2, 2008

Concurring with what people have been saying

- alcohol + painkillers = bad
- recovery time depends on what's wrong with your teeth
- the big deal, to my mind with alcochol would be either the sting OR the fact that you might get stupid and do something stupid like chew something that fucks up your stitches, or ignore some sort of "don't ignore this" pain warning.

My best advice is to have some mint tea bags around the house and get them damp and then just chew on them where your wisdom teeth used to be. Helps your gums feel better, helps your mouth taste a LOT less like blood and gives you something to rest your teeth on that is soft so less impact when you're just sitting there. The good news is you're not likely to feel like going out and eating a lot of nachos, so sitting someplace while the election results come in -- which is sort of surreal anyhow -- will not be really screed up if you're on heavy pain medication. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
posted by jessamyn at 2:59 PM on November 2, 2008

Teeth aren't impacted. The bottom was is decayed, I'm having the top taken out to avoid migration. I did consider the pain med + alcohol aspect..I was just wondering how bad it would be to drink if by some miracle I don't need the pain meds on Tuesday...would the alcohol be a negative force on my healing/cause undo pain? What can I say, I'm just a sucker for tradition
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron at 2:59 PM on November 2, 2008

Yeah, with narcotics (that you'll likely be given), you won't *need* alcohol. I think a lot of your friends watching the election will envy your Vicodin supply as it really does help to take the edge off. Of anything.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:11 PM on November 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

When I had mine done I wasn't given a prescrption to any narcotics - doc just told me to take 600mg of ibuprophen every 4 hrs as needed. I was over it in about a day and a half. Do what the doc says regarding your personalized pain management.

The best thing though was my sweet sister baby-sitting me that first day. She helped me out of the doc's office, to the car, into the house to the couch in front of a bunch of movies she'd rented. Get yourself a good caretaker for that first day. That makes a huge difference.
posted by dog food sugar at 3:16 PM on November 2, 2008

What you're really, really wanting to avoid with teeth being pulled is developing this thing called 'dry socket' where it doesn't plug up properly, and takes ages, and pain, and stinkyness to heal.
Trust me - do not want.

And unfortunately, even if you weren't on pain meds, a cursory google search (alcohol "dry rsocket)) says that drinking within 48 hours of having teeth out, makes dry socket more likely.
Also, no hot liquids, smoking, or sucking through straws.

Sorry man, but possibly you can just be un-sober this year on pain meds & endorphins?
Given several prior elections, pain meds are maybe not that bad an idea...
posted by Elysum at 3:19 PM on November 2, 2008

You will probably either be in enough discomfort that you will have powerful painkillers or you won't be and you'll be given some cursory low-dosage Tylenol-3's.

If it's the former, you probably will be not feeling like you need a drink. Adding a single drink to the mix could make you go from comfortably-numb to truly zombified. Any more than than if you're taking Vicodin or anything else that has an acetaminophen/paracetamol ingredient is generally a bad idea.

If it's the latter...well, if you can get up and get through most of the day without painkillers, then you can get by without painkillers. Drinking lots of alcohol can upset the balance of bacteria and whatnots in your mouth (you may have noticed a fuzzy, white tongue after a heavy night out) and that's not a good idea with a gaping wound in your mouth. But plenty of people do it without serious complications so it's a small-albeit-nonzero risk. If you're in otherwise good health, one day of boozing shouldn't impact your recovering tooth-holes terribly much. Becoming dehydrated as a result of drinking can increase swelling in already-inflamed tissue, so drink water too.

Soft, cold foods. Anything spicy or acidic (like orange juice) may sting.
posted by K.P. at 3:21 PM on November 2, 2008

You know the other thing you don't want while recovering? A hangover. Throwing up with open wounds in your mouth is a whole different kind of hell. Either enjoy the Vicodin or reschedule.

Good luck!
posted by Space Kitty at 3:28 PM on November 2, 2008

I normally wouldn't give such advice, but hey, it's election day. If you want to be sure you get Vicodin, tell them you can't take ibuprofen due to stomach issues. I really do have stomach issues, and as soon as I've said "no ibuprofen" they've said "ok, how about Vicodin then?"
posted by cabingirl at 3:29 PM on November 2, 2008

oh, and by "they" I mean my dentist's office, where I recently had to have a root canal and crown.
posted by cabingirl at 3:30 PM on November 2, 2008

If I can hijack a bit, what about the other way around? A friend (not me, really -- I got my wisdom teeth out in high school) has an appointment on Wednesday for a cleaning and a wisdom tooth pull. No general anesthesia involved. Would a cocktail the night before be out of bounds?
posted by sugarfish at 3:33 PM on November 2, 2008

I had one tooth pulled recently, and Advil was all I needed -- in quantity though (800 mg every six hours or so to make it act as a good anti-inflammatory). It seriously wasn't a big deal once the bleeding stopped a few hours after the extraction.

The only mistake I made was rinsing too much. A couple days in, I ended up with a dry socket, which was horrrrrribly achey and gave me the worst breath ever; it smelled/tasted like rotting garbage up in there, no lie. Mmm!

No sucking on anything, even with a straw; no playing with it, though it's hard to keep your tongue from wanting to check it constantly; and no smoking cigs if you do that. I hit a bong, but only if it was going pretty well and it didn't require any real suckage; I just breathed it in. That sure helped with the discomfort, and it also quelled the urge to stick my tongue in the gaping hole left by my tooth. Man, that is the roughest part, if you ask me -- just leaving it alone to heal.
posted by heyho at 3:39 PM on November 2, 2008

I agree that you don't want to be putting booze in your mouth, and other delivery methods for ethanol are not cute. Here are my suggested alternatives to pair with Vicodin. If you are a Republican, try dextromothorphan, if you are a Democrat, take a low dose of psilocybin. As tea, perhaps. GHB could be fun either way.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:54 PM on November 2, 2008

I know AV is probably kidding, but GHB and vicodin will likely kill you.
posted by jessamyn at 4:04 PM on November 2, 2008

I had an extremely good wisdom tooth operation where I had all of my top and bottom out at once. The doctor described it as a medium difficultly operation due to some compacted teeth. Anyway, that night I was able to eat steak...granted cut into extremely extremely small pieces...well, more or less just shredded.

As for the booze, you wont need it!!! you will most likely be on vicodyne (hydrocodyne). That stuff was crazy, especially when your pain was gone ;-). But you can't drive or operate heavy machinery while on it. Well, really you cant do anything, it makes you pass out - a lot. Within five minutes you will feel fine and awake and then all of a sudden you will just lay down and pass out for 15-20 minutes or so. It made watching movies a pain in the ass.
posted by Black_Umbrella at 4:06 PM on November 2, 2008

If they aren't impacted/don't require some digging around, they might not give you the pain meds. When I got my teeth out, I got nothing. Depends on your doctor/dentist and his opinion of the universe.

However, if you're like me, it might be hard for you to get out of bed to vote. I had a pretty poor reaction to the IV sedation, and felt pretty wretched afterward (nausea and general headachey ickiness, not localized toothy pain). I probably would have made it if I was given a ride there and back, but I didn't want to do anything that involved long periods of time out of bed. So my biggest worry would be the "UGH MOVING UGH" feel more than needing painkillers or the like.
posted by that girl at 4:16 PM on November 2, 2008

I had my wisdom teeth out when I was 14 or so, and the Vicodin made me feel... well, pretty drunk. Don't worry about the lack of alcohol.
posted by MadamM at 4:35 PM on November 2, 2008

As someone who has had to have done what you are getting done...

You're not gonna even WANT to drink.
posted by Windigo at 4:44 PM on November 2, 2008

Dry socket is one thing you do not want to deal with.

Most websites I am reading encourage not drinking for 2-3 days after surgery, because alcohol will thin the blood and increase the amount of time needed to heal. Apparently it also increases your chance for dry socket. Don't risk it.
posted by rachaelfaith at 4:44 PM on November 2, 2008

Dry socket was the worst part of my wisdom teeth extraction, by far. Folks are not overselling the pain and unpleasantness it represents. Take your painkillers, take it easy, and promise yourself you can knock something back a week after while watching Daily Show reruns on hulu or whatever.

Any worthwhile tradition should be flexible enough to accommodate the occasional interruption, and avoiding dry socket is a damned good reason to exercise the flexibility.
posted by cortex at 4:50 PM on November 2, 2008

If I can hijack a bit, what about the other way around? A friend (not me, really -- I got my wisdom teeth out in high school) has an appointment on Wednesday for a cleaning and a wisdom tooth pull. No general anesthesia involved. Would a cocktail the night before be out of bounds?

One or two and your body will be long done with the worst of it by the time you see the dentist's, anyway. I'd avoid getting tanked, however--you don't want any alcohol in your bloodstream when the pain drugs hit your system (whatever they may be).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:00 PM on November 2, 2008

Seriously, painkillers aside, you do not want to do this. Alcohol is a completely serviceable disinfectant. Because it's a toxin. And it burns like a m*therf*cker if you put it on an open wound. As in "screaming-your-lungs-out-oh-god-make-it-stop" pain. There are much less effective tortures.

Then again, I usually drink whiskey and skip the whole light beer nonsense, so that's what I've got in mind here. Beer probably wouldn't actually hurt but the warnings about alcohol and painkillers apply just as much there as for the harder stuff.
posted by valkyryn at 5:28 PM on November 2, 2008

One of these is a practical, real concern; the other is something you do for fun. You should simply postpone the drinking and to hell with the tradition; the misery you avoid in the long run will be well worth it.

Personally, after I got a wisdom tooth pulled I spent most of the afternoon drooling everywhere. That was pretty entertaining.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:14 PM on November 2, 2008

I didn't need anything stronger than advil after I had my wisdom teeth pulled, but the next day I had a sip of sparkling wine at dinner and holy shit did it sting! Like jumping up from my chair and spazzing around the room with eyes watering type stinging that took way too long to stop, lol. If you're not in pain from the teeth currently then I'd just reschedule the extractions for another day.
posted by zarah at 7:28 PM on November 2, 2008

I had a bit of a queasy stomach after I got my wisdom teeth out (from the Tylenol and lack of eating) and if you're anything like me, you might not feel like drinking alcohol.

You might also be underestimating how stoned you'll feel already! :) Enjoy.
posted by cranberrymonger at 7:32 PM on November 2, 2008

My friend Mark picked me up on the day I had my wisdom teeth pulled (all 4). We drank a 5th of whiskey split the Vicodin then went to see Poltergeist. Fucked up or not that movie sucked. I wouldn't miss this election for anything so maybe take it easy on the painkillers. Obama!
posted by pianomover at 10:37 PM on November 2, 2008

I recently got a tooth extracted. I was advised to stay away even from alcohol-based mouthwashes, like Listerine, because it will dissolve the blood clot in the hole that's left. If you like a blood fountain with your beer, then I guess it's not a huge deal as far as that particular issue goes.

I didn't need painkillers after my extraction so I didn't take any. If you're taking them, don't drink. Besides, watching the election fucked up on painkillers is probably as good as watching it drunk, eh? At the very least, it might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you to change things up this year, and this election is all about change!
posted by Nattie at 2:19 AM on November 3, 2008

What you're really, really wanting to avoid with teeth being pulled is developing this thing called 'dry socket' where it doesn't plug up properly, and takes ages, and pain, and stinkyness to heal.
Trust me - do not want.

I'm nthing my fingers off in agreement. Nth, nth, nth, nth, nth.
posted by Evangeline at 7:24 AM on November 3, 2008

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