Wisdom teeth removal pain
October 5, 2017 9:41 AM   Subscribe

My husband is scheduled to have his wisdom teeth removed next month, and he is super super super anxious about the pain. For people who have been through this, could you please let us know how painful it actually was for you?

Husband is 40. He has extreme anxiety about all things dental-related... which is why he hasn't had his wisdom teeth removed yet. He recently began seeing a dentist again after about 15 years. All four wisdom teeth need to be removed, and we met with the oral surgeon who explained the procedure. The surgery will be in hospital, under IV sedation. The teeth will be sliced into pieces and then removed.

He is mostly anxious about the level of pain he will experience after he wakes up from the surgery. The oral surgeon mentioned that he will be given Tylenol 3's to help with the pain. However, Husband had surgery on a leg as a child, and remembers the excruciating pain of that surgery (the doctor broke his leg, rotated it slightly due to a misalignment, inserted some bolts to keep it in place, and then wrapped it in a cast). He is concerned that the wisdom teeth surgery will be just as painful.

Could anyone with personal experience please set his mind at ease? We both realize that there will be some pain. But will it be as awful as his leg surgery? I have tried to reassure him that wisdom tooth surgery should be less painful since it doesn't involve a large bone in his body, and that the recovery should have a shorter duration. Any further personal anecdotes are welcome.
posted by barnoley to Health & Fitness (76 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have gotten a wisdom tooth removed a couple times, with just local anesthesia and no sedation, and I actually don't remember experiencing much pain during the healing process? Just some soreness, certainly nothing severe.

Make sure you follow every. single. rule. about avoiding dry socket and he'll be fine.
posted by lalex at 9:45 AM on October 5 [8 favorites]

I had mine removed in a similar fashion (under sedation) about 20 years ago. When I woke up from the surgery around 8 hours later, I was at home with ice packs and pillows on both sides of my head. I was given a small prescription (around 10 pills, IIRC) of either Darvocet or Percocet for when the pain became REALLY bad - which did happen once or twice, but not more than that. After the first couple days I was able to manage pain using Tylenol.

In terms of duration, I was able to eat solid foods after about a week. Nothing quite like a diet of jello, mashed potatoes and soup.
posted by Roger Pittman at 9:46 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I had my wisdom teeth removed and got, I think, Tylenol 3s. The first day I was pretty much doped up and slept the whole time. The second day, I was doped up, feeling no pain and spent the day eating ice cream and reading in a glorious state of calm. (Seriously, I remember this as one of the happiest days of my life - I had two new fantasy novels, both of which were really good, lots of ice cream and no stress.) After that it didn't really hurt much.

Your mouth has a lot of blood supply. Even though it also has a lot of nerves, it tends to heal up pretty fast.

I unwisely ate solid foods about four or five days in, but luckily nothing bad happened.

I had ice cream and toast dipped in soup for the most part.
posted by Frowner at 9:52 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

My experience was very similar to that of Roger Pittman, I guess about 18 years ago. I had Percocet or something similar for pain. I only took one pill because it really knocked me out. I was also knocked out and vomited afterwards, which didn't ruin my life like I was worried about. I'd say that my experience having braces on/off was worse.
posted by possibilityleft at 9:53 AM on October 5

I maybe was sore the next few days, but we tied ice packs to my head with a sweatshirt and because of that there wasn’t even much swelling. I used barely any of my pain meds-I was nervous too but it was seriously no problem.
posted by clarinet at 9:54 AM on October 5

It's basically a bad headache. I took regular tylenol for the pain from all my wisdom teeth removals (I had 2 extra sets!).

The toothache I had before the last ones (they had barely erupted and so were rotting in the gums) were removed was far worse.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:54 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed in college, and I remember only *needing* one of the Percocet pills in the prescription they gave me. Given that dentistry and pain management have progressed considerably since the 1990s, your husband stands to have an easier time than I did.
posted by emelenjr at 9:55 AM on October 5

When I had my wisdom teeth out, many moons ago, my girlfriend forgot to pick me up from the dentist. So I walked out of the office and took the train home. I took Vicodin the first day and then Advil for the next few days, laid in bed, ate smoothies and soup. The pain was annoying, never excruciating.
posted by gnutron at 9:57 AM on October 5

I had all four out in July at 23 and didn't have any issues with pain. I used the Percocet I had been prescribed for a few days, but in retrospect I probably could've managed all of the pain with strong ibuprofen. I got through the whole thing without feeling any serious pain. I was tired and slept a lot for a few days after surgery, though. That kept me from doing things more than the pain did. It was certainly less painful than recovering from foot surgery I had a couple years ago on a broken fifth metatarsal, which was manageable but definitely hurt a lot if I didn't take my pain meds. Everyone's experience of pain is different, though.

My nurse or doctor apparently suggested starting the pain meds while I was still feeling the anesthetic to "get ahead of the pain," that is, not to wait until I was hit in full by the pain to start managing it. I was still loopy when this advice was given and it was relayed to me by my aunt who drove me, but it seems like sound advice.
posted by Gymnopedist at 9:58 AM on October 5

I had all four of mine removed about 20 years ago (so I'm sure the tech is better now) under twilight sedation and local anesthetic. I took heavier painkillers (I think it was tylenol and codeine: I might be misremembering, but something similar to that) for about a day, and OTC ibuprofen for three or four days. Things ached, but with the meds, it wasn't so distracting that I couldn't do other things. Tiring, not harsh, more than anything.

The sockets were sore for a bit - we went on a trip about two days after I had my teeth out, and that was not ideal (another day or two with only soft foods at home rather than negotiating restaurant menus would have been easier) but I didn't hurt unless I made a stupid food choice more than fairly mildly.

One thing that might help him think through it: the mouth is one of the places we heal fastest, and what they're doing is taking something out. It's not like healing a bone that is moving, dealing with adjustments in muscle tension and body position and so on.
posted by modernhypatia at 9:59 AM on October 5

He sounds like me. In brief: it'll hurt a bunch and he'll be fine. Hopefully he can arrange a couple days off after the extraction--give him a remote and some ice and he'll be through it in no time.
posted by quarterframer at 9:59 AM on October 5

I had the same sort of removal as your husband, and kind-of a rough removal since they had trouble getting one of the teeth out and I had some bruising as a result, but two days of tylenol 3s and it was basically fine. Way, way, way less painful than gallstones. (All the other serious pain I can think to relate it to is uterus-related, which probably doesn't help him!)

I don't react real well to anesthesia, so the nausea coming out of the anesthesia was actually worse than the post-operative pain; the pain was not that big a deal and fully managed by the Tylenol 3s.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:00 AM on October 5

it will not be nearly as painful as the leg surgery!!

when I had mine out a few years ago they gave me vicodin which did an A+ job of keeping the perceptible pain minor.

as a kid I had broken bones twice and that was definitely much much worse.
posted by anotherthink at 10:01 AM on October 5

I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed when I was in high school. I was awake for the procedure, numbed out with novocaine. It took about an hour.

For me, the pain was pretty mild. I had a sensitivity reaction to the high octane pain meds they gave me, so after the first dose, I just switched to ibuprofen. It felt achey and sore for a few days, and I took the weekend to watch movies and eat apple sauce and ice cream, and I was back to normal within a couple weeks.
posted by spindrifter at 10:02 AM on October 5

I had mine out under general anesthesia in the 90's. Like your husband, I had put it off for years because of dental phobia and fear of pain and complications. Luckily, I had a great oral surgeon and things went fine.

I took the prescribed Vicodin for a day or two and then switched to Advil because I wanted to be awake and alert. I also used a LOT of ice packs. For food, I was lucky to live near a Japanese restaurant so I ate lots and lots of udon. Stock up on soft, not-spicy food like ice cream, soft scrambled eggs, soup, and so on.

Whatever you do, don't get dry socket! No sucking on straws or eating chewy food until the extractions heal up.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:03 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

Mine were removed in the way you describe, each tooth being removed in pieces. They gave me vicodin to take at home. I basically slept for a day with pain no worse than a low level migraine, woke up and took a Vicodin, tried to eat something and became very nauseous, swore off vicodin forever and fell back asleep. The next day I was pretty much fine, I'd say pain levels were equivalent to a sinus headache when you have the flu. I tried to take more vicodin a few times and became horribly nauseous which is worse than pain for me so I powered through it, though I didn't need much power honestly.

I also got one case of dry socket about a week later, and the dentist gave me a clove patch on it, which ruined the taste of food for days and was utterly horrible, please do everything possible to prevent dry socket.

I was 16 and a cis girl used to bad period cramps so YMMV. As a comparison, my brother got his out at 18, just pulled whole and not cut into pieces (mine were all diagonal or sideways, his were upright) and later than afternoon he was happily riding roller coasters at Busch Gardens with his friends.
posted by Mizu at 10:06 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I had all four wisdom teeth removed last year at age 40. I had sedation and local anesthetic, plus percocet for pain after. My extractions were actually done in the dentist's office. The pain meds they gave me were totally adequate, and I didn't even take all of them. I was fine in a day or two.
posted by jeoc at 10:07 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I've had mine out in two rounds. The first two (lower wisdom teeth) were removed twenty years ago. The procedure was fine, but recovering was no fun: it hurt too much to eat for a week or so without the pain meds, but the pain meds I was given made me too nauseated to eat much. Nowadays I'd solve that by requesting different meds, but back then I wasn't sure what to do.

I had the last two out maybe ten years ago, and was really worried after my first experience. That one turned out to be ridiculously easy, and I didn't bother with any pain meds beyond some ibuprofen for a day or so.

I also had the sort of surgery that involved breaking a bone and putting in a bolt many years ago. Neither wisdom tooth extraction was anything like as painful as that.
posted by asperity at 10:07 AM on October 5

I had mine removed at 18. Two were easy (just required pulling) and two were impacted (and required...cutting). The next day I ate a cheeseburger and went shopping for college dorm supplies. I took OTC pain killers and slept a little more than usual for a few days; otherwise, no big deal. I was lucky to have such an easy recovery but for me personally, the horror stories about removal are bizarre.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 10:07 AM on October 5

When my husband was getting his wisdom teeth removed, my dentist father said, "They will tell you to take 1-2 pills every 4-6 hours. Take two pills every four hours." I think that's what people mean when they say "getting ahead of the pain" which I recommend. I've literally set alarms when on pain killers to remind myself to take them so I don't fall asleep and wake up in agony.

Do you know whether he can tolerate pain killers? I ask because I had surgery on my foot once and found out the hard way that whatever my doctor prescribed made me sick so then my foot hurt *and* I was throwing up.

Similar to Frowner, I have fond memories of the times I've had oral surgery. When I had my bicuspids removed (which I realize is not the same as wisdom teeth), the oral surgeon was cute and nice to me, and it was my brother's birthday so we got him an ice cream cake when my friend was working at the ice cream shop, so she let me make myself a crazy sundae. I only had two wisdom teeth and when I got one removed, a good friend said she'd take me home since it was during the work day, but then my husband met us at home soon after. I rode the bus with my friend with an ice pack bandaged to my face. My friend was disappointed my husband came home early because she wanted to take care of me but she had her husband pick up chili dogs for dinner and a milkshake for me. We watched Head of State and she taught me how to knit.

Heed the warnings and know the symptoms of dry socket. I had no idea what it was but a friend in high school came over to my house after having her wisdom teeth out and I didn't realize but her face started swelling and by the time my father saw her, he was like, her mom needs to call the dentist ASAP.
posted by kat518 at 10:08 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]

Just another voice to add to the chorus -- had mine out, took the Vicodin maybe twice then switched to ibuprofen, was diligent about following instructions re: icepacks and soft food, and had minimal pain. And I'm someone who frequently has to get double-shot at the dentist because the first round of novocaine didn't do enough, so I'm not operating with a really high dental pain threshold or anything.
posted by katemonster at 10:11 AM on October 5

I've heard a story about someone who got all 4 wisdom teeth pulled at once and didn't take any of the pain meds he was offered to do it - extremely potent cannabis-butter turned into very very soupy medicated mashed potatoes did the trick. also lots of ibuprofen, regular icing right when you get home.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:14 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I had mine removed under IV sedation, and had absolutely no pain or even swelling afterwards, and went out with my friends that very night.

One thing though: as I was coming out of the anesthesia, I couldn't stop crying. I wasn't upset or anything, it was just a response to the anesthesia itself. It's happened a couple more times when I've been under. But otherwise, no other upsetting after-effects at all, except freaking out everyone who saw me crying and assumed I'd been through some painful, traumatic experience!
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 10:15 AM on October 5

I had all four removed at about 30 under twilight sedation, with a prescription for several days of percocet or vicodin or something similar after. I took one dose after the anesthesia wore off and never needed a second.

It was very sore the next day, but not in a sharp excruciating way, ibuprofen was plenty, and it probably was only even that sore because while I was on the stronger stuff my family and I played silly games that had me laughing and giggling for hours, which in retrospect was not the smartest thing to do to my jaw in the state it was in. But it was fine, and I am kind of a wimp when it comes to pain.
posted by solotoro at 10:15 AM on October 5

It was mostly just achey after and all of mine were impacted. The ache lasted several days. I ate soft foods for about a week and then switched back to regular foods. I did have difficulties eating, though. I remember going out for a burger and being all upset because I couldn't open my mouth wide enough to take a bite.
posted by hazel79 at 10:17 AM on October 5

I had mine out when I was about 18 under general anesthesia. Mine were also removed in pieces. I didn't have a ton of pain, but they gave me something stronger than Tylenol to use. I hated the way it made me feel, so I went with Advil the day after that. I had giant bruises down the sides of my face and was swollen up like a chipmunk for well over a week. (My body is really good at inflammation. An overachiever at it.)

My sister had the same surgery and was on the prescription pain meds for quite a few days. She also nearly fainted a couple times. Not from pain, but from I don't know--not eating enough and generally being woozy from the pain meds?

Fwiw, I don't remember the pain aspect at all. I don't remember the day of the surgery hardly at all because the anesthesia had an amnesiac effect. I do remember how bad it hurt to break my ankle and the time I broke my foot. This probably will not hurt like that.
posted by purple_bird at 10:18 AM on October 5

Yeah, mine was not bad either - I took a lot of ibuprofen and a few Vicodin (or something similar), and I slept a lot. I felt achy and sore but there was never, like, shooting pain. I've been fortunate enough to live a fairly pain-free life, and the wisdom tooth recovery pain was much less bad than, say, a bad hangover headache in my 20s, or a nasty ankle sprain.

I took public transit home from the surgery (I had them all out under local - my minor dental anxiety was outweighed by my desire to not ask for help with a ride!) and I had forgotten my prescription card so I had to go all the way home to get it and then to the pharmacy around the corner to fill the Vicodin prescription. I didn't feel *great* by the time I took that first Vicodin but it was totally manageable.
posted by mskyle at 10:19 AM on October 5

I had all four out under general anaesthesia in 2015 (including slicing the lower ones into pieces and extracting them) and it was a surprisingly pleasant experience even though I was nervous about it going in about pain/bruising/the anaesthesia/dry socket.

100% agree with the advice about keeping on top of the pain with painkillers - I tried to take what I was given as often as the surgeon told me to. When I did this I did not really experience pain (including on the day of the surgery/the days immediately after), especially for most of the first day after when my whole face was super numb from the local anaesthesia. When I failed to do this by accident and began to experience pain, it was harder to get on top of it again even when I took some more painkillers. If you're starting to feel pain, you're not taking another one soon enough, basically.

I was surprised by the type of pain - I was expecting sharp tissue pain at the extraction sites but it was more like a pointed-but-deep ache in my jaw. Uncomfortable, sure, but not the kind of pain I was scared of beforehand. It wasn't really like toothache or even bad wisdom tooth infection pain (bad wisdom teeth infections were way worse).

Things I wish the surgical team had told me but they did not which may be useful to know:

- That they'd stitched the insides of my cheeks over the lower extraction sites to help the clot form/keep mouth crap out while they healed. I spent at least a day thinking "I remember my mouth being a lot bigger than this" before it was clear that this was what had happened what with the swelling and numbness and all. I was vaguely worried it might be permanent, but the stitches broke after 3-4 days and the cheeks healed easily.

- That they'd given me fentanyl while I was under. I felt slightly loopier than expected afterwards and didn't realise why until I saw my chart.

It was a much, much better experience than I expected and I would definitely recommend it over having wisdom teeth in your mouth that are causing problems. I feel really strongly now like I have the right amount of teeth in my mouth (I have a small mouth and they were really crowding things), and it's a weirdly satisfying feeling. I was well enough to drive 300 miles three or four days after I had the surgery, and I was beginning to eat soft solid stuff like bread again by then as well.
posted by terretu at 10:21 AM on October 5

When I had mine removed, I followed all of the instructions and for whatever reason my cheeks still swelled up huge like I was a chipmunk with my cheeks filled with food. I couldn't open my mouth very wide because it hurt and smiling hurt! And laughing hurt which for some reason made everything seem hilarious and I'd start laughing and then crying and then laughing some more. But even that wasn't scary or terrible. Just annoying. And I'm the biggest dental phobic person ever. It took a couple of weeks for me to be able to eat like a normal person again.
posted by ilovewinter at 10:24 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I had all four removed in my 20's under local, including two that were badly impacted, got only over-the-counter meds for them, and it was a week or so of annoying jaw/tooth ache. (I had no insurance at the time, and a prescription was too expensive for me.)

His memories of childhood surgery are likely inflated - as a child, the pain is everything; as an adult, he's almost certainly been through worse than even really rough tooth surgery recovery. The hard part was the diet restrictions - just soups and very soft things for several days, which got boring quickly.

Not trying to downplay his childhood surgical pain; doctors are often annoyingly careless about how painful things are for kids, on the premise that they need to "get tough" to deal with life. But recovery from dental work is very much recovery-pain, not "must break bones without anaesthetic" pain. Two days of "ouch gimme more tylenol they're wearing off" and five days of "oops why did I try to chew on that side? It hurts when I do that. Oh right; both sides hurt. Damnit."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:28 AM on October 5

I got them removed in my mid-20s. The pain was a dull ache, nothing distressing. In my case I skipped the Percoset I was prescribed and just took ibuprofen. I was also cheerfully woozy for a couple hours from the anesthesia and that helped distract me from any initial pain.

Recovery did take a while, but it was annoying rather than painful - swollen cheeks and no solid foods for about a week. I lived on box soups and yogurt!
posted by toastedcheese at 10:29 AM on October 5

I had Tylenol for pain; that worked well. I ended up eating a lot of yogurt and miso soup.

One thing my dentist told me to do, which worked like a charm, was to get bags of frozen peas for the swelling. I found that they wrapped around the jaw much better than a regular ice pack; I had a few bags that I just swapped out when they started to melt. If you don't like peas, corn is equally as effective. The veggies afterwards are bruised, but definitely still edible.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:34 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I'm your husband's age and I had mine out about 4 weeks ago.

I was incredibly nervous about the whole thing. When he wakes up, he'll be feeling absolutely no pain. His face will be numb for a couple hours at least.

I was prescribed 600mg of ibuprofen and tramadol (mild opioid). I was able to manage the pain mostly with the ibuprofen (it actually worked out that getting the 600mg prescription was cheaper than just buying a bottle of 200mg generic ibuprofen pills). For me, it only hurt when I would touch my back teeth (the ones next to the incision sites) together; only when I tried to fully close my mouth. If you spend 12 hours telling yourself "don't clench your fist, don't clench your fist, don't clench your fist" eventually you'll just clench your fist. That's what I would do with my jaw. Two or three times a day I'd just bite down hard for no fucking reason and that would shoot pain through my mouth. Try not to do that.

I found ice packs to be completely ineffective and stopped using them after the first hour or so. Maybe he'll find them helpful.

They're probably going to tell him no food/water about 8-12 hours before the procedure. This means that by the time he feels like he's hungry, it might be that 36 hours have passed. He's going to be weak. And because he's been horizontal for so long, he's going to have really low blood pressure, and that's just going to drop when he tries to stand up (I nearly passed out).

He's going to want to first sit up in bed and stay there for about five minutes, then sit at the edge of the bed, then finally stand and walk. It's rough. Not from the pain, just from the lack of nutrition.

Every day is better than the previous. I was eating soft foods (scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, yogurt) on day 2 and by day 4 I was eating just about anything. I had the procedure on a Friday and could have returned to work on Monday, but I decided hanging out in bed one more day was worth it because why not.

TLDR: pain is totally manageable. Try to eat something as soon as you're ready. Take it as easy as possible.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:47 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]

My wisdom teeth were taken out under a local. And under goooooooood drugs. To hear bones breaking inside your skull and simply Not Care? Fascinating.

Afterwards, it was only nuisance pain. It's annoying to have to deal with it and work around it. That's it.

I had surgery for a broken knee, including hardware installation and all that -- wisdom tooth pain doesn't even register compared to it. I've also done burst my appendix -- wisdom tooth pain is nothing.

Your fella's got nothing to worry about. If anything, he can look forward to the drugs. (Seriously -- those were good fucking drugs. A+++, would trip again.)
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:57 AM on October 5

I'm dental-phobic and a baby when it comes to pain, and I think I have some sort of mutant power when it comes to drug resistance (OTC pain meds do nothing for me, caffeine doesn't wake me up and alcohol doesn't make me drunk, when I have been hospitalized and getting serious pain meds the nurses always get nervous they are giving me too much, etc), but when I had all 4 wisdom teeth out in my 30s under general anesthesia, the pain after was really no big deal. Achy and annoying, like an average headache, but nothing worse then that.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:57 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I had all 4 removed under twilight anesthesia as an adult. It didn't hurt at all? Like I took a nap after the procedure and expected to wake up in pain but it just...didn't hurt. I've never really understood why, I think the surgeon used a lot of local anesthesia but I would have been fine to go back to work the next day if I didn't have a mouthful of gauze. I wouldn't consider myself someone with a very high pain tolerance either.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 10:59 AM on October 5

I had mine out when I was 21. It was done by an oral surgeon with local and mild sedation. I remember him working really hard to get a couple of them out, but it never hurt. Afterwards I didn’t even get any Narcotics, just ibuprofen or something similar. I took them on a regular basis for 2 or 3 days (it was 30 years ago so some details are a little hazy) and was a little sore, but never really uncomfortable. I was surprised how easy it all was. The main thing is to listen to the dentist’s advice on avoiding a dry socket, then follow it to the letter.
posted by TedW at 11:05 AM on October 5

I had mine removed under general anesthesia when I was 17. The worst part was having the IV put in (I hate, hate, hate needles.) I don't remember having any pain- I didn't take any of the painkillers they prescribed, only ibuprofen on a schedule. I just ate soup for the next few weeks. Was pretty lazy about irrigation, but never had any problems. Feeling the stitches come out in my mouth was rather gross.
posted by mollywas at 11:08 AM on October 5

Like possibilityleft, I found that getting my braces off (hey, nothing like having people attacking your teeth with pliers while you're completely awake) was far worse than having my wisdom teeth out. It was done under general anesthesia. I didn't even bother with pain meds, to be honest--just had soft foods for a few days.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:10 AM on October 5

He'll be fine. There will be zero pain for the first 4-6 hours after surgery. He'll want to sleep. He'll probably be prescribed a few days worth of Percocet or Vicodin. Assuming he has no allergies/sensitivity/insensitivity to them, use as directed, taking the first before the post-op pain begins, then 2-4 Advil (whatever is recommended by his doctor) a couple of times later in the day (helps with swelling and the pain). If you get opioids with ibuprofen, obviously don't take more ibuprofen. Usually they prescribe the Tylenol combos, though.

As long as you keep ahead of the pain, taking meds before it hurts, you don't ever have to deal with more than a dull ache. I only needed one Percocet a day at bedtime to ensure I didn't wake up with pain. So long as I didn't wake up in pain, Advil on the normal dosing schedule was fine. After a few days, there was no more aching or anything so I quit taking the meds and was fine. I was out and about (with a driver since I was kinda loopy from the meds) the day after and had no problem carefully eating solid food and stuff. Usually they tell you to eat soupy things for a day or two to help avoid getting something in the socket, but my oral surgeon was all about me having an Arby's roast beef sandwich for dinner. I had a cold one at about midnight once I finally woke up from the first Percocet.

Georgia doesn't get much pain relief from opioids, so she had a far worse time of it, but she just doubled the usual dose of Advil (with her doctor's concurrence) and was OK after the initial WTF period where the meds weren't working as expected. That was dealt with inside of a few hours, though.

The recovery from nonsurgical wisdom tooth removal is much more painful in my experience. (I had two done each way) Not only is the recovery a lot worse, but the process of having your tooth yanked out of your jaw while awake is not a great experience even if you are loaded up with enough lidocaine that it doesn't hurt. It requires a lot of force to pull out a relatively healthy tooth.

Dry socket is pretty easy to avoid, even for a smoker who enjoys drinking through straws. Just do what they tell you and rinse several times daily with salt water.
posted by wierdo at 11:25 AM on October 5

Just another vote that it really wasn't that bad. I'd forget (!) to take my next dose and the previous one would wear off and it would get a little achy, and I'd take the next one and go back to eating ice cream and watching YouTube.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:44 AM on October 5

Had all four severely impacted wisdom teeth out on my seventeenth birthday (yay) under a general anaesthetic. Looked like a hamster on a binge for a week, but no real pain - all they told me to do was rinse with warm salty water and I didn't get prescribed any painkillers after leaving the hospital.

One thing - part of my tongue was numb for years afterwards (probably still is but I don't notice it now) because there was some problem getting one of the bottom ones out (it had five roots, apparently, and they kept it in the dental hospital because freaky) and there's a nerve that got damaged.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 12:16 PM on October 5

I had all four teeth removed about twenty years ago in two separate local anesthetic surgeries and I don't remember any pain at all.
posted by col_pogo at 12:25 PM on October 5

I got my wisdom teeth removed two at a time, so I'd always have one side to chew with. Had local anesthesia, got sent home with Tylenol, didn't use the Tylenol. I think I bit a tea bag for the tannins and to distract from the taste of blood.
posted by batter_my_heart at 12:26 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I managed my pain with ibuprofen.

A note about the ice: it's not so much for pain, it's for swelling. Depending on how your face is built, having your jaws swell (not just from the surgery but from having your mouth held open for that long) can create cramped conditions for your parotid glands and lymph nodes, which are going to be on high alert anyway, and it can be horribly crampy-feeling or like an earache, and leave you jaw-stiff for a day or two. Ice helps prevent that, and reduced swelling means faster healing. Use the ice as directed. Do not frostbite your face (that's legitimately painful), so follow instructions, but use the ice as directed.

What's great about mouths over limbs is that your jaw doesn't get slung all over the place every time you move. You don't sit on your teeth or use your chin to move the bulk of your body weight around. It's a pretty protected area. If he has a hobby of towing Volkswagens with a rope held in his mouth, he should avoid that for a few days (or lifetimes, really), and it won't be a good week for taffy-chewing or cracking nuts in his mouth, but he shouldn't anticipate anything more painful than a mild sinus face-ache.

He may have a sensation like a paper cut on his gumlines in the back after the bulk of the anesthesia wears off, but it's more annoying than painful. His jaw may be sore, like "I did a thing with those joints I probably shouldn't have" sore. There should be no desperate agony. This is the sort of thing I think of as "grown-up pain", like a kid might very well freak out about it because kids haven't had the life experience of all the dumb shit we can do to ourselves, and they are accustomed to everything pretty much feeling 100% all the time.

But as an adult who's likely had at least one kitchen accident, half a dozen stubbed toes, a painful broken leg as a kid, probably at least one extreeeemely bad hangover, a horrible headache, some kind of dire food poisoning/gastro flu...this should barely rate. The anesthesia leaves you feeling grumpass and jumpy for a day, the experience is scary and unfamiliar and completely exhausting, it's a logistical pain in the ass and a garbage use for a day off from work. It's not a delight to go through. But the pain shouldn't be proportional to the disruption, and if it is he's got a problem and needs to talk to someone right away.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:48 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I had four impacted wisdom teeth so I had them all removed at the hospital under general anesthesia. The pain wasn't bad. I'd equate it with a sore throat. The stitches got itchy, which was annoying

I was warned that dry socket is what really hurts, so he better follow all of the instructions for avoiding that. (NO STRAWS,)
posted by Stonkle at 12:51 PM on October 5

I don't remember being in tremendous pain after the procedure, just discomfort. It was a swollen, burning sensation, my mouth felt stuffed and full and ached. It was not unbearable pain. He's going to be uncomfortable for a while, definitely not in excruciating pain. I think the more important thing here is to focus the mind on other things, because he has no control over what happens to him with this procedure. He needs to get busy with life and enjoying himself and dwell less on his surgery. I cannot imagine it will be as painful as his leg operation. I tore my ACL and MCL and had to wear a leg immobilizer for months, that experience was much worse than having my wisdom teeth removed. This is a routine procedure and most everyone I know has gone through it, and these people are all fine. I was prescribed Vicodin after my surgery for the pain but never took it. I was just grossed out by the saturated gauze and having to replace it, and then eating was a hassle, but I came through it fine. Just be sure to have him take any antibiotics he's prescribed, and follow any post-op directions to the letter. Taking a probiotic during this time should keep tummy troubles at bay. The mouth heals quickly, I think it's a surival mechanism. It's one of the fastest healing parts of the body because mucosal tissue is much easier for the body to regenerate and the mouth is full of blood vessels, and the more plentiful the blood supply in an area, generally speaking the faster it should heal.
posted by Avosunspin at 12:53 PM on October 5

I had four impacted and infected wisdom teeth removed, I was under IV sedation as well as gas during the procedure. When I woke up I felt NOTHING. The pain didn't really kick in until a couple of hours later when I was back at home. It was moderate to high level pain. I was given Vicodin and told to take them every 4-6 hours. Unfortunately, the Vicodin made me so nauseated that I preferred to just be in pain. I switched to 800mg of ibuprofen the next day and honestly, the pain was totally manageable. I even ate solid food that day.

I might also have a high tolerance for pain though. I am a redhead and dental anaesthesia hardly ever works on me.
posted by joan_holloway at 12:55 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, the edges of my mouth hurt the most, from being clamped open during surgery. That was a stinging pain - noticable, but it didn't make me tear up or anything. Really, wisdom teeth pre-surgery hurt more than the experience of getting them out.
posted by Stonkle at 12:55 PM on October 5

I had mine out in my mid-20s, and I really only have fond memories about that day, because of those drugs! I recall laughing hysterically while watching the surgical team set up around me, because everything was just sooo funny. Then I had a nice sleep and next thing I know, I'm awake and surgery is done. I kept saying how wonderful the drugs were to my friend who drove me home. I had soup and slept for the rest of the day.

I think they gave me hydrocodone, but I didn't need to take any. I took the prescription ibuprofen on a schedule, and I'm sure I must've been a little sore but I can't remember it being bad at all. Unfortunately I have a sensitivity to ibuprofen but didn't know it (I never really used it), and I had to take heartburn meds for a month - but your husband probably has a better idea of NSAID sensitivity than I did.
posted by sweetpotato at 12:57 PM on October 5

I had all four of mine out in the same way, some years back, and I remember mostly a dull ache and being frustrated about not being able to eat normally. I took the meds and felt no severe or sharp pains, but it did take a couple of weeks to be able to eat solid foods. Mostly it was an inconvenience.

Prior to the surgery, the teeth had begun to erupt but were trapped under the bone. THAT was painful. Compared to that, the surgery was nothing. What is the alternative here? I assume he doesn't have the choice to keep them, and much worse things would happen if he did. It might be worth contemplating that further.
posted by epanalepsis at 12:57 PM on October 5

My teeth grew in at different times and I have two different experiences for getting my wisdom teeth removed. Note: I am a big ol baby about dental pain, and getting a temporary filling or temp crown removed is ... worse or as bad as all the wisdom tooth removal stuff I went through.

First time: I was ~18 and went to my local dentist, who wasn't very good. He pulled out two wisdom teeth, both on one side, top and bottom. I chose novocaine. I was in pretty bad pain that day (eg, moped on the couch all day being a baby), and a bit sore for a few days afterwards. I was also a bit swollen but I tend to swell up. I didn't take any pain meds aside from normal tylenol.

Second time: I was ~25 and went to a dental surgeon because the last two wisdom teeth were impacted. Again opted for the novocaine, which the surgeon was a bit hesitant about, but I'm not about that 1% chance of dying (note: that's mostly due to very elderly people, I am HIGHLY risk averse). I was a bit sore and a little swollen for basically one night. I had a whisky and chose not to use pain pills. Felt basically fine the next day.

Both times I was extremely concerned about a dry socket and healing, so I followed all directions and made sure to take it easy and not skip things like rinsing my mouth out, etc. I used a lot of salt water as per the recommendations.

The second time especially, I was kind of amazed at how much less my face hurt than it had when I had the teeth in. Like, that night my face overall felt a LOT better than it had in the previous weeks/months due to the teeth growing in where they don't fit. If I could do it again, I would have gone to the second dentist for both but neither time was especially bad.
posted by love2potato at 1:12 PM on October 5

I had all four taken out at once around age 36. I was under IV sedation but in a dentist office. The procedure was first thing on a Friday morning. I was given a prescription for percocet. I used the full schedule of pills Friday but I mostly laid in bed sleeping and listening to podcasts. On Saturday, I took one dose when I woke up and one before I went to bed. On Sunday I took only one dose right before bed and it was iffy if I really needed it. The rest of the pills got dispose of. I was back at work on Monday and I remember having a lovely bowl of soup at a restaurant on Tuesday.

I didn't really have any large amounts of pain but rather a dull ache/throb. That was better described as annoying rather than painful.
posted by mmascolino at 1:15 PM on October 5

I had mine out via surgery in a dental surgeon's office with a variety of anesthetic (nitrous oxide, followed by IV Dilaudid). No pain during. Soreness and swelling after. General was enjoyable; I woke to find myself singing along with the Muzak. Getting to my mother's car in the parking lot was when I started feeling poorly.

I was prescribed hydrocodone for pain for two weeks post-surgery in addition to ibuprofen. I got dependent on it very quickly even though it didn't do much for the pain. Looking back, with the experience of assorted injuries and dental work over the last twenty years, I blame the opiates for most of my slow, crappy recovery, if only because it's difficult to take proper post-surgical care of oneself when one is on the nod.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:18 PM on October 5

It's probably also worth noting that the Narrative that wisdom tooth removal (and root canals) are Canonically The Worst comes from a much older, comparatively prehistoric era of dentistry. Even when I had mine done relatively effortlessly in 1989, they just didn't have the miniaturization or electronics to do the kind of work that gets done today.

My friend who went to the same surgeon within a few months of me got the cheap anesthesia and was awake for the HAMMER AND CHISELING. The dentist had a knee up on the arm of her chair. While I suspect there are still teeth that are damn hard to get out, I also suspect the amount of violence required to do so is orders of magnitude less than 20-50 years ago. These aren't incapacitating procedures anymore, and as others have noted are often a relief after the pain of the precipitating event. I was a dumb 18-year-old kid and I literally begged to get my wisdom teeth out; the pain of them pushing on the rest of my teeth was like having my braces tightened every day for weeks, and I was hardly sleeping.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:47 PM on October 5

My sister and I both had all four wisdom teeth out on the same day. From what I recall, I had vicodin that I used for a few days until the side effects (nausea) got too bad, and then I just stuck with ibuprofen. It hurt a little for the first day or two, but most of that was residual soreness from having my jaw clamped open for them to work. Muscle pain, rather than injury pain, if that makes sense. Nothing worse than resting up after a sports injury.

My sister of course went out to a huge New Year's Eve block party that night, had effectively no pain, and took a grand total of two ibuprofen, once.

I did mention we had these both done New Year's Eve, right? Even in retrospect some of my parents decisions don't make sense.
posted by Phineas Rhyne at 1:47 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I had three impacted wisdom teeth dug out when I was 19 or 20 on DARVOCET. They wanted to take all four, but I wouldn't let them, which pissed off the doctor no end because he lost $500 on the deal and was probably looking forward to that one because it wasn't impacted and would've been easy compared to the other three. He tried everything he could to convince me, including telling me it would be a "bad breath trap," which only made me more convinced he was just spouting more dentist quackery like them constantly trying to get me to get braces for my slight overbite or get bleaching treatments.

They cranked open my mouth to an insane degree and strapped my head to a torture chair and spent three hours hauling my teeth out of my face. I woke up briefly in the middle and observed happily to myself that the doctor was yelling abuse at his nurse like a total dick and putting a crazy degree of pressure on my jaw while yanking violently, trying to get some tooth out of there or something. "Wow," I thought breezily, "this guy is a complete asshole, plus clearly still pissed about that last tooth. Maybe I'll have a jaw after this or maybe he'll tear it right off, high ho!" Then I went peacefully back to sleep. My attitude was basically: "Aaaah! All's right with the world." I woke up after the whole thing feeling fanTAAAAStic. This glorious condition lasted for hours and hours and hours after the surgery and made me delighted that I'd hung on to that fourth tooth, because "Maybe they'll have to pull it one day and I can get more DARVOCET!"

He should be sure to take his Ibu, or whatever they give him for the actual physical pain. The good stuff doesn't touch pain: it just makes you feel so great, you're like, "Welcome, pain, old bud! Let's swing on the porch swing for six hours while laughing and singing around wads of bloody cotton!" The drugs are GLORIOUS. Recovery after the drug wore off wasn't particularly painful, just kind of gross and you can't eat like a normal person. But every time I thought about complaining about any aspect of my wisdom tooth removal experience, I'd remember the quality time it enabled me to spend with my dear friend DARVOCET, and the complaint would float away unspoken, borne aloft on a happy sigh...

20 years later I had the final tooth pulled. They just gave me novocaine and yanked it in about ten minutes. Heartbreaking disappointment; OTOH, I am alive right now, and I'm really not sure I would be had I taken another spin on the opioid merrygoround.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:59 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I got them removed at 19 (after living with the pain for three years because I was scared). I was fully sedated and one of the teeth came out in bits. When I woke up, I was woozy but felt no pain. In fact, I never took the drugs they gave me after the first night when I took them just in case.

On the very next day after my surgery, I packed my gums with black tea bags (I'd read that they're good againt pain and also antibacterial? IANAD, but I believed it) and spent a day riding horses! Honestly, the only upsetting part of the entire process was that the novely of milkshakes wore off after two days.

I used teabags for a couple of days and was obsessive about flushing the wounds and they healed really quickly and easily. Good luck to your husband!
posted by TwoStride at 2:11 PM on October 5

I had my 4 wisdom teeth out when i was 17 and went out with my friends that night, had very little swelling and only needed pain meds for a day, but that's not the story I'm going to tell.

I've been pulling wisdom teeth in my general practice for 27 years. Big or small, the result is a tooth sized hole in the jaw that has to heal, and everyone heals differently. Teenagers heal quickly, but they aren't great at following instructions; adults tend to have more factors that slow healing -- systemic diseases, long histories of smoking, slower metabolisms, but still the differences are not too remarkable if the post-op instructions are followed closely.

These wounds in themselves should be nowhere near as uncomfortable as what your husband experienced with his leg. There are factors that add to the general discomfort after, since immobilization of the jaw is pretty much impossible. The muscles might be sore from the jaw being open for the procedure; stitches tend to get more uncomfortable as the wounds heal because they become loose and move and irritate, and of course any hard bits of food that get into the sockets will cause a bit of discomfort. Swelling can make the entire face uncomfortable as well.

Pain is very subjective. Patients differ, and, most importantly, each 3rd molar is its own thing. Some are small and have a single root that's shaped like a candy corn and it takes 30 seconds to flip that tooth out. Almost zero pressure applied and consequently almost zero swelling. Other teeth are more stubborn, and require more technique or specialized equipment or time to release from their happy home. Teeth that have to be sectioned (sliced into pieces) are often then easier to remove, even though it sounds like it would be worse.

I like to give my patients realistic expectations on healing time and will prescribe meds accordingly, so i won't give you any estimate on how long he will need meds, but a combination of NSAIDS (if he can take them) and mild to moderate narcotics (if he can take them) should easily manage the post-op pain of extractions.

The very best advice has been given above: follow those post-op instructions and take the meds as they've been directed. In no time things will be healed and then no worries.

Best of luck to you both.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:41 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]

The day after I had it done, c age 19, I went on a day trip to San Francisco and ate tortellini. It was not at all a big deal. And I had five of them - wisdom teeth that is, not tortellini.
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:59 PM on October 5

I've had three teeth removed and all four wisdom teeth removed at 17, for a grand total of seven extractions, and they were all pretty much a breeze with a day or two of inconvenient eating in which I would do things like get mashed potatoes from KFC.

I got the special drugs for all but only took it once or twice and then switched to Tylenol or Advil, not liking the feeling of codeine.

Get him some Xanax, they'll let him take it even if he has anesthesia though he should absolutely call the office first (and even see if they'll prescribe it).

Not a big deal at all, Xanax or not.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:04 PM on October 5

I had 3 out at once under anesthesia, 2 had to be broken to remove. I didn't feel much as I was under. I drove myself home across 3 towns in rush hour traffic and was beginning to feel pain when I got home, so have him remember to take pain meds before the pain kicks in. I worked the next day and was a little slower and pretty achy but was pleasantly surprised to feel as well as I did. The pain was practically zero compared to the pain of an abscessed tooth I had years later.

My dentist had me take motrin for a week prior to surgery, he said it would help reduce swelling. I actually remember feeling a relief after the teeth came out, like a pimple was popped and pressure released. It hurt but during surgery my mouth felt better, less tight I guess. I expect it won't hurt nearly as much as the procedures he had as a child, that was serious surgery for a child! If he can swing it, have him to plan for the next day off, he can rest at home on the sofa with ice bags, pain meds, soft foods and a movie or 2.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 4:56 PM on October 5

I had all four removed at once and had very, very little pain. It was so mild that I didn't even take the prescription the doctor gave me - I just took a few Advil.
posted by tacodave at 5:06 PM on October 5

I had decent medication for the extraction. I read all of 'Ulysses' by James Joyce while on painkillers for my recovery. I still think it's a work of genius.
posted by ovvl at 5:23 PM on October 5

I had mine removed a year and a half ago (as a late 20s adult) and it was nothing. I was also nervous and expected major pain and swelling - it was such NOT a big deal that I don't remember anything any pain or even special eating after taking 1 pain pill a few hours after. I don't even think I took ibuprofen after that.
posted by raspberrE at 5:30 PM on October 5

I had the same procedure about 20 years ago. I straight up don't remember the first two days afterwards I was so dopey. The rest of the week I was so swollen I couldn't open or close my mouth at all. It was stuck partially open. Made eating even milkshake difficult. I was miserable from that. But, it didn't actually *hurt* that much. I was doing normal things at home, trying not to think about food.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:00 PM on October 5

I felt no pain whatsoever during the entire process except the very first needle sick, since I took only a local anesthetic. I was a teenager at the time, though.
posted by dbx at 6:25 PM on October 5

I had all mine out at the same time, and had very little pain. They sent me home with a bunch of strong painkillers and I think I took one, and that was it.
posted by OolooKitty at 6:29 PM on October 5

My dentist gave me some sort of steroids to reduce the swelling, which helped with the pain more than the pain pills he also gave me. Don't remember which exact meds, but the steroids were great.
posted by slateyness at 6:45 PM on October 5

I had all four of mine out at once. Pain was very minimal. I took the heavy duty painkillers for a couple of days dutifully but they really felt like overkill.

I'm currently avoiding some other dental work because of dental phobia but the wisdom teeth were maybe some of the easiest dental work I've ever had done. If I knew the rest of the work I need done would be that easy, I'd stop putting it off!
posted by Stacey at 6:51 PM on October 5

Awwww! Your husband sounds like me: poor pain tolerance/low pain threshold; scared nothing will help/no one will take it seriously.

I had all four taken out as an uninsured teenager in 1999. I did it as part of a drug study so I could get the procedure done for free.

They gave me laughing gas (which just made me act like Roger Rabbit's a-hole sister the whole time, which annoyed them, and their admonishments annoyed ME despite my laughter because WHAT THE HELL DID THEY EXPECT?!) and local injected analgesics which didn't much cut the pain, but again, I was delirious so I didn't care. Three teeth came out easy; one they drilled until it broke into shards for easier pick-n-pull, I guess.

After the surgery was over and the gas wore off, my true crybaby self emerged. They gave me a dose of EITHER the study medication OR the control medication. Double-blind, so I'll never know. Whatever it was might as well have been a placebo, for all the good it did. They "monitored" (read: ignored) me overnight, then sent me home.

The pain lessened significantly once I was home with an actual hydrocodone Rx. I just looked like a redheaded Minnie Driver and talked like a stoned Sylvester the Cat for a week, and I got really sick of baby food. Still, I didn't visit a dentist again for 17 years, so tell your husband he's among friends.

NB: An unrelated facial surgery, years later, happened under general anaesthesia and recovery was with Tylenol 3. Much better! If I could go back and get my wisdoms done under the same protocol, I'd opt for it in a heartbeat. (I hope this is an encouraging epilogue to my downer story.)

I wish him hilarious drug-dreams and a speedy recovery!
posted by armeowda at 7:57 PM on October 5

I don't think I need to add to the chorus of "not that bad" (in my case I didn't take any of the prescribed percocet and just took normal ibuprofen, although the first day was pretty bad and I maybe should have taken at least one percocet), but also, for anxiety the surgeon prescribed me a single xanax to take a few hours before the surgery and I didn't take it (it got lost...) which I seriously regret because that beforehand stress was by far the worst part for a surgery-phobe like me or your husband. It's not at all inappropriate to ask the surgeon about providing something like that, if he thinks it might help.
posted by mosst at 8:30 AM on October 6

I had all four of mine out a few years back under IV sedation and local anesthetic and I certainly felt sore afterwards, but it was the kind of pain that was more diffuse and less sharp and it was easily taken care of with my post-surgery percocets.

Re: dry sockets. They're not fun, but I also wouldn't worry too much about them? I got dry sockets in both of my bottom teeth, and the way I could tell was that, a week later, I was still living percocet to percocet. Like, my jaw would start aching every 4-5 hours like clockwork, I'd wake up with a sore jaw, etc. Not EXCRUCIATING pain, kind of in the "definitely a bad headache, ow, but not quite a migraine" sort of area.

So we went back to the oral surgeon and the solution was to coat some gauze in clove oil and sort of...stuff it down in there. It didn't hurt, but it felt kind of weird. And it worked fine, but I still carry a bit of a grudge against cloves, because when they do this, it'll just FLOOD your mouth with clove flavor every so often for no reason. So maybe stick to foods that taste good with cloves for a couple of days. Good excuse to eat pumpkin pie. :)

Protip: If he does get dry sockets (hopefully not) and this is what they recommend as a solution, see if you can ask for the dissolving gauze instead of the traditional stuff. That way you save yourself a trip back to get the gauze removed.

Good luck!
posted by helloimjennsco at 8:43 AM on October 6

Is your husband actually MY husband??? who has a 15 year dental phobia!

He just had his wisdom teeth out at the dentist under General Anesthetic and found that (a) it was MUCH easier than he expected and (b) apart from not being able to eat solid foods, he was actually in zero pain afterwards and didn't need the T3s or the Codeine he was provided afterwards.

Good luck!
posted by JenThePro at 12:56 PM on October 6

Percocet, Percocet, Percocet... I had both lower (impacted) wisdom teeth out a couple of years ago under general anesthesia. I chose not to take antibiotics, and the dentist agreed and said to watch for swelling. There was no swelling but there was pain, and I absolutely needed the Percocet at night. I also think ibuprofen which can be harder on the stomach , but it's for a very short duration, is better than Tylenol which is harder on the liver. I had 800 mg ibuprofen every 8 hours for a week with Percocet at night for 4 days. If his teeth are not impacted it will be a more straightforward procedure with far less pain. Mine were rather badly impacted and so the surgery was more intense. Drink all the fatty shakes , now is the time and don't go near a straw. He will forget it all in a couple of weeks. All the best!!
posted by whatdoyouthink? at 4:38 PM on October 7

I had three wisdom teeth removed at once three decades ago. The dentist seemed competent. I was given codeine for pain.

It was extremely painful for me, which surprised me because I normally have a high tolerance for pain. (I was an amateur boxer for years and normally have stitches done without the Novocain injections; when my body produces kidney stones I often wait them out at home with nothing more than oral ketorolac.)

I suspect that the problem for me was that I wasn’t given much to deal with the inflammation, so the codeine was fighting a losing battle, and I’ve since discovered that I have or lack some kind of cellular receptor and so opiates don’t work very well for me. IV ketorolac works a wonder when my kidney stones have occasionally gotten out of control, such that I don’t even bother with morphine.

So, clearly I am the outlier here and it’s *very* unlikely your husband will be one as well. And modern pain management protocols can be a lot more effective than the old method of throwing opiates at the pain. Your husband will almost certainly be fine, and in the very unlikely event he is an outlier, there are hardcore NSAIDs that should bring the pain under control.

Edit: To be clear, I’m not suggesting he necessarily forgo the painkillers! I mean to say that painkillers and suitably strong anti-inflammatories should be more than sufficient to keep him from serious pain and misery.
posted by alaaarm at 11:31 AM on October 8

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