Hi there! I hope you’re doing well. ❤ Earlier this month, I had my four impacted wisdom teeth surgically removed. It was the first major surgery I’ve had done, and not knowing exactly what to expect was probably the hardest thing I faced. The actual results of how everything turned out was much better and went more smoothly than I had anticipated!
I wanted to share a three-part blog series on this topic to aid anyone who will be having the same surgery done. Whether you already have a scheduled date, or you know it’s something you’ll need done soon, these posts are for you! ❤
(I will include the links to the next two posts once they have been written!)
Even though I didn’t particularly want to go through with this surgery, I was also very tired of having a sore jaw – and extremely crowded teeth! If you’re in a similar situation, I want to assure you that this surgery is worth it to have done, and the recovery truly isn’t awful.
No two surgery experiences are the same, and my desire in writing these posts is to share how something I was initially frightened by was much easier to bear than I would have expected. By sharing the tips that worked for me, from food suggestions to how to help with pain/discomfort, I’d simply love to be an encouragement. 🙂
Today, I will be talking about how the day of the surgery went for me. In the next two posts, I will cover my tips and tricks during the healing process, as well as how I ate in the recovery weeks! Thanks for reading 🙂
I hope you appreciate this three-part blog series!
Surgery Day: My Experience
Pre-Op – The Day Before: I was required to not eat or drink anything for at least eight hours prior to the surgery. This means that because my appointment was scheduled for 9AM, I hadn’t had any food the night before past 1AM (although I didn’t have anything past 9PM that evening).
TIP: Drink a good amount of water shortly before the cutoff! I didn’t know to do this, and I didn’t end up being thirsty the following morning, but being hydrated is definitely an essential.
The Day Of The Surgery: I wore comfortable clothing (a t-shirt and jeans), as instructed by the oral surgeon – no one wants to be wearing anything less than comfortable when waking up after surgery, haha! I kept my purse in the car and left my phone with my mom because I wouldn’t have any need for either while having this surgery done.
Waiting Room: Once we arrived at the office (my mom took me, and baby Isabella came along, as well) and signed me in, the wait time was only about twenty minutes. Other people my age were also having oral surgery that morning, because the office I went to does surgeries in the mornings and consultations for new patients in the afternoons.
TIP: Pick an appointment time as early in the day as possible! (Within reason, of course.) Mine was at 9AM, which was perfect because we had time to get ready without it being unearthly early.
Pre-Op: It wasn’t long before a nurse called me back, and I was taken to a room. I would like to share that they didn’t bring me to an OR (operating room) – it was the same type of room I’d had the consultation in a few weeks before! There was a desk, a typical dentist chair, and a nice window letting natural light in. I had previously been frightened by the prospect of being in a scary-looking surgery room, but this wasn’t the case at all. They brought the things needed for my surgery to me, which was honestly a much better experience. Plus, it showed me that this was a VERY common procedure and not something that has to be immensely prepared for!
Preparation: The nurse that led me back is the one who signed me in, asked me simple questions (confirming who I was, asking when I’d eaten last, if I had any medication/food allergies, etc), then she gave me a form to sign. Some of the things I signed and agreed to not hold anything against them didn’t sound too great, haha, but that’s true for a lot of medical procedures that they have everyone sign. Nothing listed on that disclosure paper happened to me 🙂
IV: Once I had signed it, she started setting things up to give me the IV. She made sure that I was feeling okay, which I appreciated because I was rather nervous. After taking my blood pressure, she cleaned my right arm and put the tourniquet around my upper arm. I realized later that she had done it too tightly, because it stung some, but I was okay to go through with that extra bit of discomfort – I was terrified by the thought of having an IV done in the top of my hand.
Nitrous Oxide: While she was administering the IV, I was given laughing gas to help calm my nerves … but I honestly didn’t feel at all soothed by it. I don’t know if it’s because I hadn’t been breathing it in for long enough, or what, because I felt fully awake while the nurse did it. However, I focused on my breathing like a fellow blogger advised me to do (thank you, Mandie!), and after a bit of initial stinging, it was over and done with. I didn’t once look at what the nurse was doing, and I kept my eyes away from my arm until I was waking back up forty minutes later. By that time, it was just a band-aid!
Reassurance: One extra thing I’d like to add about the IV: this nurse let me know what she was doing while working with my arm, so I knew what was happening since I wasn’t looking. The people who do IVs, especially nurses working with adolescents, realize that most younger patients (maybe all patients) are scared of needles. She did mine quickly, efficiently, and let me know when she was done.
Nearly Time: Very shortly after she’d finished, the oral surgeon I’d met with a few weeks earlier entered the room. He asked me how I was doing, checked my blood pressure, and made sure the IV was doing well. A new nurse brought in a large tray arrayed with different surgical tools, which I didn’t dare look at because those tools would be being used in my mouth, lol. I asked the oral surgeon how long it would be before I was unconscious, and the nurse said within a few minutes.
Under General: I was expecting for there to be a countdown of sorts – you know, “Count to ten and you’ll be asleep,” or something – but I ended up being out before I knew I was! All I have is one, extremely faint memory of the oral surgeon and a few nurses, but I didn’t feel a thing.
Waking Up: The next thing I was aware of was when the second nurse I mentioned was helping me into the wheelchair (which I’m not sure how she got me into, I was barely awake haha), and then she wheeled me into the area where my mom was coming to meet me. I attempted a few times to open my eyes, but that didn’t work, haha – my vision was flitting back and forth! That was the first thing I told my mom once she entered the room, too – “I can’t see, so I’m closing my eyes.” XD
TIP: Take it easy, and don’t try to say too much with the gauze in your mouth. If you do end up saying something weird or acting funny, don’t worry, because the oral surgeon staff and your loved one/s know that it’s not the “real” you acting that way!
Leaving The Office: My memories of the nurse wheeling me through the halls and down the elevator to our car are faint, and the drive home is patchy in my memory, as well. I wasn’t in any pain, although the gauze in my mouth made it hard to talk, and I felt extremely sleepy. While I didn’t feel like taking a nap, and I was pretty aware of everything being said around me once we got home, my body felt weak. Have you had those moments when you’re sick and your body isn’t doing well, but your brain feels almost fully awake? It was similar to that, haha
Getting In The House: When we got home, my mom helped me by supporting under my arms so I could walk up to the house. I was only halfway across the driveway when I had a bit of an accident … standing up made me nauseous, and the gauze near the back of my throat lightly gagged me, which resulted in my mom quickly helping remove the gauze just before I threw up on the pavement. I stood there hunched over weakly until my brother brought out a chair for me to sit on. I watched as a bit of blood came out of my mouth, but I wasn’t aware of how much was still IN my mouth at the time. My mom, who lovingly helped me replace the gauze and led me into the house (we have a wheelchair for whenever someone in our family isn’t feeling well enough to walk), is the only reason I got cleaned up and arrived safely to my room. I’m so glad she was able to help me, despite how gross it was, because I couldn’t have done that myself. ❤
TIP: If at all possible, I highly recommend that you have a wheelchair on hand for getting you inside the house once you’re back home! I don’t know what I would have done if we didn’t have one, because I couldn’t stand/walk comfortably until nearly four hours after the surgery. I couldn’t have stayed outside that whole time, but I wouldn’t have been able to get inside the house, either. Wheelchairs are awesome, haha!
Taking It Easy: My mom and brother set up pillows on my bed so that I could relax in an elevated sitting position. Laying down wouldn’t have been a good idea since I still had gauze in my mouth, and I wasn’t wanting to choke and gag again. While I wanted to change into sweatpants, I stayed in that t-shirt and jeans for the next few hours since standing made me feel as weak as it did. My mom encouraged me to have a bit of yogurt so I could take some pain medication (ibuprofen), which I slowly did, although it was definitely a challenge. The first time I actually experienced any discomfort in the surgery areas was the third or fourth time the gauze was replaced, which was when the top-left one started stinging some. No pain was long-lasting, though, since I kept up with taking medication and my antibiotic, which my dad got off of work to drop by the pharmacy for.
Relaxing: Over the next few hours, I watched episodes of a TV show, took a short nap, drank water as I was able, and interacted with my family when they came in to see how I was doing. I was finally feeling well enough to slowly get up, go to the bathroom and change my pants around 4PM (the surgery was finished around 10AM), and after that, I was happy to get to play my favorite video game.
Surgery Day Wrap-Up
Getting ready to leave for the office made me extremely nervous, but that was the peak of my anxiety! As soon as the surgery was in the works and I knew it would all be over very quickly, I was relieved to know I was on my way toward healing – and the obtaining of a happy, healthy mouth and jaw. I’ve had teeth problems for going on a decade now, from sensitive gums to crowded teeth, overbite, etc., and this was the biggest step I had to take toward this goal. Over the next year or so, I’ll be looking into getting braces, which I’m definitely looking forward to.
Be on the lookout for the next two posts in this series! I’ll be sharing eating tips, as well as the different things that helped me to quickly return to full health. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading!