My Wisdom Tooth Story {Pt 3}: Extraction Day + Day 1 Recovery

If you’ve been reading along so far about my wisdom tooth extraction, you’ll know that by the time I woke up on extraction day, I’d completed a little bit of soft food prep, had a medication sheet ready to go and mentally prepared by reading some realistic and helpful blog posts that I found online. I was also several hours into a fast, required by my IV sedation. I was able to pay some of my monthly bills that morning prior to my appointment so that I had less stress on my shoulders and could take the next few days off. I remembered that I needed to wear short sleeves, comfortable clothes, chapstick and no jewelry. Getting ready in the morning was fairly easy. The only bummer was that I couldn’t have my morning coffee due to fasting, so I was moving a little slowly.


The Only Way Out Is Through

When my appointment came around, James drove me to the oral surgeon’s office. They received payment ahead of the surgery and the oral surgeon came out to ask if I had fasted and to reiterate that we’re removing all four wisdom teeth via IV sedation. I did bring a darkly-colored towel with me in case of drooling, but it stayed in the lobby with James (who, unfortunately, had to bring his laptop and work in the waiting room during the procedure). I went back to the surgical room almost immediately.

The nurse was very kind and asked for my driver’s license. Since I do not have an Ontario Health Card, my NC Driver’s license functioned just as well as the photo ID that I would need to show when I visited the Shoppers Pharmacy to fill my prescriptions. I’d let her know that I was more nervous about the sedation than I was about the procedure. Once I was sitting back on the chair, she took my blood pressure and slid the pulse monitor onto my left pointer finger (Remember: no nail polish for this reason). I remember that it felt very strange to feel my heart beating and to also hear it on the monitor. Shortly afterwards, she put an oxygen mask over my nose. It was a bulky looking thing, but it also served to my advantage in that it blocked my view of the procedure. I didn’t ask if it was oxygen-only or also nitrous oxide (laughing gas), but I also didn’t care at that point. I was ready to get on with the procedure.  She prepped my hand for the IV. I was a little nervous because I was so dehydrated, which can make it tough to find a vein, from what I understand. But, it was one of the most painless needles I’ve ever felt. Very small, and over very quickly.


Drowsiness and Daydreams About My Cat

Once the IV was in, I began to feel very relaxed, a feeling very similar to when you’re up late and suddenly sleep overtakes you. I daydreamed about one of my cats playing with mouse toys and then I assume that I fell asleep. I don’t remember the oral surgeon coming in. I do remember feeling a very dull and deep pain when they injected the local anesthetic to numb my jaw in a few different places. I’ve had some minor dental work before so that was a familiar feeling. I do remember hearing a drill at one point, and I recognized where I was, but the sound honestly felt like listening to someone blowing a leaf blower outside of an office window; It felt very far away and I never felt it touch me. I daydreamed more about my cat and then I heard the oral surgeon say “That is it! Your tops came out very fast.” It felt like it lasted all of 15 minutes from he time I had my IV to the time that they helped me to walk into the recovery room. They handed me a small blue packet of my top teeth to keep as mementos since I’d requested to keep them.


My two top teeth given to me after the extraction.

Once in the recovery room, James joined me and one of the nurses. She packed some sterile gauze for us and went over recovery instructions with James. I tried my best to listen, but I have memory lapses from that time. I remember my mouth feeling numb all over: jaws, tongue, lips. I tried not to move since I knew that awkward drooling would be a part of the game from this point forward. Time passed very quickly for me on this day.

James and I left the office and went to the pharmacy by our house to fill the prescriptions. I was given 3 medications: Tylenol 3 (acetominophen/caffiene/codeine), Extra Strength Advil (Ibuprofen) and an antibiotic (amoxicillin). I sat on the blood pressure reading chair while James gathered a few extra supplies (like extra gauze) around the store, which included a set of mouse toys I picked out for the cats (likely due to my daydreaming during the procedure). After this, we went home.


Homeward Bound

Once I got home, I settled into one of the easiest days of the entire recovery with the single-most challenging moment of the recovery: my first meal. I was not very hungry once I got home, but I knew that I needed to eat since I’d gone so long without food and water. I also knew that I needed to get ahead of the pain as soon as possible, which would require me taking my tylenol and amoxicillin asap. I gathered my Glucerna shake, extra gauze medications and some water in the bathroom. James came with me to make sure that I was alright and unfortunately, witnessed one of the unsexiest moments in my adult history: attempting to swallow Glucerna. I opened the shake the pour a little in and it ran all down my shirt and into the sink. It hit me what my current, largest problem would be: My tongue was completely numb. Not only was my tongue numb, but so were my gums and lips. The only real thing that I could feel in my mouth was when liquid had gotten so close to my throat that my swallowing reflex kicked in. This led to some unexpected coughing and some extremely slow pouring of liquids. Because I could not tell if I had swallowed my pill or not, I had to spot check to see if it was still in my mouth. I admit that I got a little weepy here because I’d never felt helpless like this before. And, I was drooling delicious strawberry Glucerna everywhere, instead of swallowing it. After taking my pain medication and antibiotic, I was able to get a few more sips down, but realized that my jaw muscles were getting heavy feeling, so I refolded my gauze and sat on the couch in the living room.

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Day 1: Fresh from the extraction and cheeks full of gauze.

Finally, Sitting

One of the things my husband and I were watching for was any kind of medication sensitivity during this first day. Pain meds can cause gastro disturbances, but I found that I didn’t have any signs of nausea or upset stomach. This may have also been due to the fact that I ate little bites prior to each round of medication that I took, as well as a few bites afterwards. Mashed potatoes served as a good choice since they were on the heartier side of mushy foods.

On the first day, my priority was switching out gauze. It occurred every 30 minutes, which was a real irritation, however I coped well because my energy was functioning on completely normal levels. I tried to stay off of my feet to reduce swelling, but there was a lot of back and forth between the bathroom and the couch during this time. I wasn’t interested in TV so I worked on my blog, ate some mashed potatoes once the feeling was restored in my tongue and lips, and finally went to bed around midnight that night, sitting upright with a nice drool-y towel placed around my neck and shoulders to hold my head still as I slept.


Day 1 review:

Pain Level: Low

Energy Level: Normal; High energy

Cognitive Functioning: Normal; Felt alert

Discomfort Level: Medium (The gauze maintenance was cumbersome, time consuming)

Embarrassment Level: High (So much drool)



Want to know about the following days of recovery?

Check out >> My Wisdom Tooth Story {Pt 4}: Day 2 + 3 Recovery

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