Wisdom Teeth Questions
October 26, 2005 2:31 PM   Subscribe

ToothFilter: I just had 4 wisdom teeth removed today and I have few questtions.

First, the bottom set were both sides, while the top ones came in straight, does that mean I'm more at risk for dry sockets?

It's been about 4 hours now and most of my mouth is still numb, with not much pain yet, and I've only taken one vicodin. I still get blood every now and then from the teeth, is something wrong? I've already began rinsing with saltwater.

Any tipcs to avoid dry sockets?

I'm 21 btw,
posted by AMWKE to Health & Fitness (28 answers total)
"Any tips to avoid dry sockets?"

Don't smoke.


Your oral surgeon also likely gave you a pretty good set of instructions regarding rinsing with a warm water solution, etc. Be sure to follow those instructions.

I'm frankly surprised you're awake and posting after just four hours. I slept for almost 24 hours straight when I had mine done, and I bled like a stuck pig.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:33 PM on October 26, 2005

I was going to say, you won't even remember this post tomorrow.
posted by smackfu at 2:35 PM on October 26, 2005

I had blood after mine too. Bloody saliva, at least. Probably a bit more blood than that, actually. If you are concerned, check with your maxillofacial surgeon.
posted by NucleophilicAttack at 2:36 PM on October 26, 2005

Be gentle gentle gentle in your rinsing. You want those blood clots in there. Don't rinse more than your doctor has indicated.

Take it easy in general, you've just had major surgery and have got some healing to do.
posted by Specklet at 2:36 PM on October 26, 2005

Best answer: I had 4 wisdom teeth pulled a year ago although mine were the opposite of yours. The top were growing sideways and the bottoms were straight.

You'll probably bleed for longer than 4 hours. I remember still seeing some blood for most of the day, but it was obvious there was less as the day progressed.

I guess I had it easy since while there was pain, they healed very quickly and I had no problems. I just followed the doctors instructions and my own common sense and didn't have any problems. Just make sure to clean up any food back there with the water squirter they give you (I didn't get mine until the follow up the week after FWIW).
posted by johannes at 2:40 PM on October 26, 2005

Response by poster: Also, should I plan to be quite swelled when I wake in the morning?
posted by AMWKE at 2:42 PM on October 26, 2005

Follow the salt water gargling routine given to you by your DDS. Other than that, pudding and jello is your friend, as are milkshakes.

Take it easy. It took me about 4 days to be able to eat PB&J, a week to eat most solids, and about two weeks to be back to full eating ability. Thankfully the digestive system features some of the fastest healing tissues in the body. Yay for that.

Good luck.
posted by ruwan at 2:49 PM on October 26, 2005

Also, should I plan to be quite swelled when I wake in the morning?

I have a particularly round face (not a hurf durf buttereater) and I had chipmunk cheeks for almost 2 weeks, well after the pain subsided.
posted by chiababe at 2:54 PM on October 26, 2005

Should I plan to be quite swelled when I wake in the morning?

When I had my wisdom teeth out a couple of years ago, I iced my cheeks like crazy. This helped with a) pain management and b) swelling. A lot. So much so that I was actually able to work four days later and was only a tiny tiny bit puffy (people only noticed if I pointed it out). Of course, if you do choose to use ice, make sure to take breaks from the ice (or frozen peas or whatever) and only apply the ice for 10-15 minutes at a time.
posted by lumiere at 2:58 PM on October 26, 2005

ruwan: ...milkshakes are your friend
IIRC, you shouldn't drink anything through a straw, and particularly not a nice, thick, frosty, malted milkshake -- you know, the kind you'd have to suck pretty hard to get out of the cup -- you'll get your gums bleeding again. Use a spoon instead.
posted by spacewrench at 3:05 PM on October 26, 2005

When I had my wisdom teeth out at age 17, there was a so-called friend in my class that called me "Alvin" for days because of my chipmunk cheeks.

Enjoy your vicodin.
posted by matildaben at 3:07 PM on October 26, 2005

Re: pain

It definitely depends on the oral surgeon - mine was manageable, a friend of mine was in agony for about a week before it became manageble, and another friend was completely fine after a day or two.

Try to avoid using straws to eat your mush - the vacuum isn't good for the holes in your mouth. Some kinds of baby food can be quite tasty.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 3:11 PM on October 26, 2005

Don't do ANYTHING that involves sucking. No straws, no popsicles, etc.

People get Vicodin for wisdom teeth removal? I had all four done with just novacaine and saltwater rinses.
posted by xyzzy at 3:22 PM on October 26, 2005

Parts of my face and scalp remained numb for about 24 hours. Anything you feed yourself, use a plastic spoon as you can do quite a bit of damage missing your mouth or hitting your front teeth with a metal one.

I could eat non-crunchy/chewy foods within a day. Meatloaf, fish, pasta, soft tacos, and casseroles were all quite fine. My jaw itself was not particularly sore, though, probably because I was put on prophylactic mega-ibuprofen for 24 hours before surgery. (And it depends on what kind of force it took to get them out; my friend who had hers done two weeks after me by the same surgeon had bruise thumbprints on both sides of her face.) I took the vicodin out of fear of pain for a day and a half and then realized I didn't need it and switched to ibuprofen.

The way to avoid dry socket is to not create a vacuum in your mouth. No straws, not even for liquids, and no sucking trying to get crud out of the holes - there's packing in there that's meant to help you, don't disturb it. Use a spoon, a turkey baster, a funnel, or just a big bib.

Resting tomorrow is the best thing you can do for your immune system. You'll probably feel fine tomorrow, but take it easy just to let the healing start.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:41 PM on October 26, 2005

Take it easy, don't use straws, do the salt water wash as directed, rest, don't screw around with the holes, don't smoke.

I've had all my wisdom teeth out - but one at a time. Long story, no insurance, etc. Plus all of them were severely impacted, and spreading out the pain over four extractions was really probably the right thing to do.

However, I do smoke. Not smoking wasn't a pleasant option for me at all - in fact, going through nicotine withdrawls while trying to heal might have been a very bad thing for my immune system. I don't know if I just got lucky, or if I've got the constitution of a granite boulder or if just having one extraction at a time helped or what, but I smoked after each of my extractions. (I also biked almost 10 miles home after two individual extractions through urban traffic, all doped up and hurty. So, boulder-like constitution is likely.)

Anyway, here's what I did. (And I asked my dentist/surgeon about this, and he said "Uhh, don't do that. But if you must, yeah, do it like that. But seriously, don't do that. Dry socket hurts even more.")

I was given a huge pile of gauze to keep wet and wadded up over the root holes. When I smoked - much more infrequently than usual - I kept that salt-water soaked gauze packed down over the hole tight with jaw pressure and just smoked around it. After the smoke I immediately replaced the gauze with a fresh, clean packing.

Keep in mind I healed very, very quickly. It was only a matter of a two or three days until I was pretty much back to normal with a minimal amount of deep tissue soreness and no blood at all after the first day. YMMV. Don't smoke.
posted by loquacious at 4:04 PM on October 26, 2005

I strongly echo the whole no straw thing. I avoided straws for about two weeks and ate lots of hearty soups once I was able -- no dry sockets.

And whatever ever you do, DO NOT go shopping on Vicodin. I went to the mall the day after I got mine out and came home with three brown skirts.
posted by awegz at 4:53 PM on October 26, 2005

Man, I can't believe you weenies all got it done under a general. Me, I toughed it out with just a local. Which was, in the end, fortunate, because the dummy dentist didn't know how to use his cauterizing scalpel and ended up nearly electrocuting me!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:35 PM on October 26, 2005

Also, I only had two on the same side removed, so that I could continue to, you know, chew food.

The one disadvantage to not having them all done at the same time is that I've yet to go back to have the remaining two removed.

Maybe now that Dr. Zap has left the practice, I'll give it another shot.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:36 PM on October 26, 2005

You should really call your surgeon if you have questions like this!
posted by Miko at 5:46 PM on October 26, 2005

Who you calling a weenie, MC Freshly Fish?

On two of my extractions I had to go to the county clinic where some small, sadistic Vietnamese guy had to literally climb up on my chest with a pair of pliers and section the suckers into pieces to yank them out. Under a botched local. Took him five tries to find the nerve, and even then it wasn't really knocked out. Then I rode my bike home. Holy crap. That's about as close to frontier dentistry I ever want to be.
posted by loquacious at 5:46 PM on October 26, 2005

I had all 4 out in one go. I had chipmunk face for several days and went into shock from the pain on the first day bfore the Tylenol w/ Codeine took hold. I didn't have to remember to take the pain killers, the pain would remind me, including waking me up.

I ate custard style yogurt (no fruit bits) and juice for a week. Took that long to work up to spaghetti-o's.

I healed up pretty well after they took out the stiches until the first time I played trumpet. Ecch.
posted by plinth at 6:15 PM on October 26, 2005

I had all four out at once, bottom two impacted, top two straight. I didn't follow the dentist's instgructions very well and I got the dreaded dry socket. I compensated for the pain by downing more and more AC&C and two weeks later I had bone infection in my mandible. The dentist discovered this by pressing really hard on the infected gum until he could see pus. Then x rayed me to confirm. Then put in 8 needles into the swollen gum before slicing the whole gum open, inserting a shunt, and sending me home for a week off work. A month later I was more or elss pain free.

So yeah, follow the hygiene and treatment instructions to the absolute letter.
posted by Rumple at 7:27 PM on October 26, 2005

If you are having only minor bleeding, try biting gently on a moistened tea bag for about 30 minutes. The tannic acid helps blood clots to form.
posted by forrest at 10:31 PM on October 26, 2005

No using straws.
No wine or spirits for the first few days.
Very very very very gentle rinsing and gargling with the salt water.
Plenty of fluids. No hot drinks - very warm is the limit.
No exercise. It'll raise your blood pressure and start the bleeding again.
YMMV, but generally no smoking. If you do smoke, don't draw hard on the cigarette AT ALL, and expel the smoke from your mouth within a second of drawing it in. Afterwards, rinse.
If you had dissolvable stitches, you'll find that they will be gone in about a week and there will be some scratchiness while they dissolve.
DO NOT tongue your sockets. AT ALL.
posted by paperpete at 4:30 AM on October 27, 2005

Good god, don't smoke. I did, got an infection and spent two weeks in agony with snot that stank of manure.
posted by Frasermoo at 6:02 AM on October 27, 2005

The holes are gonna taste very weird for a week or two. Try not to taste them.
posted by flabdablet at 8:46 AM on October 27, 2005

Good god. I'm gonna take the dry socket fear a little more seriously next time around.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:42 AM on October 27, 2005

Lucky kids. I spent more time throwing up than I did eating any food or resting. Lovely, lovely painkillers did more hurt than good!

I distinctly remember two giant, yellowish-purple bruises on my cheeks a little while proceeding my four wisdom teeth coming out.
posted by sian at 2:54 PM on October 27, 2005

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