Back on March 23rd, my poor hubby had to get his wisdom teeth out. You all probably don’t know this, but I had mine out last year on April 15th, so the experience was quite recent for me and I could definitely relate with my love. (It also gives me a chuckle that we got our wisdom teeth out nearly a year from each other–so close!)
Can I just say…this was the longest week of my life?! I honestly do feel bad saying that because I wasn’t the one who had the surgery, but getting up every two hours around the clock for multiple days completely exhausted me. This was also our first surgery as just the two of us, so it was my first time having the whole job of taking care of someone else put on me. I feel like I became a little grumpy, but my husband doesn’t think so, so I suppose that’s all that matters! 🙂
Thankfully, though, he was able to get all four teeth out, which is definitely recommended so you don’t ever have to go through it again. When I got mine out, I remember not being able to imagine going back and doing it all over again! My husband feels the same way!
Joshua is recovering super well; he’s actually doing better than I remember doing at this point in my recovery, so I’m very proud of him! He can eat way easier than I could by now. At this point, my jaw was still aching terribly and I had to be very careful and slow while eating. He is still gentle with his jaw, but he can pretty much eat like normal now! That just goes to show how everyone handles the surgery and recovery differently. His post-op appointment is on Thursday and hopefully after that he’ll be all clear!
One thing I have to say about the wisdom teeth surgery is that it’s frustrating when everyone acts like it’s nothing and you should be good to go in two days with hardly any pain meds or ice. Yes, it’s a very common surgery, and some people recover amazingly fast. Others, though, like myself and my husband take about a week to feel normal again and even then our energy was still draining faster than normal, with some residual pain and limitations. It bugs me when I talked about my experience, or about my husband’s and people say things like, “You should be fine by now”–because they had an awesome experience.
All I can say is this: everyone’s different. Everyone reacts differently and if they take longer to heal, it’s not because they are lame or pathetic. It’s just because their bodies are different. And that is okay.
I remember feeling such pressure after my surgery to feel normal again within three days tops, and I was actually disappointed in my own body’s healing abilities for taking longer. I firmly believe now that I shouldn’t have felt that way because everyone is different and it certainly didn’t help my recovery to push myself long before I was ready.
If this comes across as venting, it’s just because this is a mindset that needs to change. People need the freedom to heal however their bodies demand, whether that’s in two days or fourteen. Society puts way too much pressure on people to fit in a box.
Anyway, here are some tips for those of you looking at wisdom teeth surgery:
—Food. Stock up on applesauce cups, pudding cups, Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks, mashed potatoes, ice cream, soup, cottage cheese, macaroni and cheese, etc. Basically all the soft foods you can think of! For the first day or so, just opening your mouth hurts a LOT. Also, you may think Jell-O is a good option, but it actually doesn’t have any substance to it so it won’t give you very much nutrition-wise.
—Support. Make sure someone will be available to help you through at least the first day of recovery. I needed someone with me for the first few days because I had such a hard time, but the first day is the most important. Their job is at least to wake you for your meds, refresh your ice pack, and make sure you drink enough to stay hydrated. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but right after oral surgery, these tasks are very difficult.
—Straws. No straws for ten days, or that sucking motion will risk losing your blood clot and getting dry socket (where the bone & nerves are exposed). Neither my husband nor I got dry socket, but I’ve heard it hurts horribly and then you’ll have to go back to your doctor for a re-packing and prolong healing.
—Rinsing. After the first day, gently rinse with warm salt water after each meal (or in our case, after every time we ate because we needed to take a narcotic with food every two hours, so “meals” didn’t exist). Be careful with spitting so as to not dislodge the blood clot.
—Rest. Sleep as much as possible. Give yourself all the freedom in the world to sleep. Sleeping through the pain helped me through the first few days! My husband was unable to sleep and he had such a hard time with the pain. 😦
—Exercise. No cardio or heavy lifting for ten days. Apparently it can prolong your healing by causing issues….
—Reclining. When resting/sleeping, make sure you are in an elevated position. Recliners are the best option, but lots of pillows in bed will work as well. You just to stay partially upright.
—Medication. Take your pains meds every four hours or as prescribed, but exactly when they say. Don’t push it back just because it isn’t hurting too badly at the moment. Pain is much harder to alleviate than to prevent. You want to keep it away to begin with–you’ll actually heal faster if your body isn’t so focused on the pain.
—Ice, ice, ice. Ice keeps the swelling down as much as is possible, and swelling is what causes the majority of discomfort. Ice won’t keep the swelling away for most people, but it’s your best shot at coping with it.
—Time off. Plan to have at least four days off from work, or better yet, plan your surgery around a long weekend. If you end up healing quickly, and you don’t need that much time, great! If you don’t heal quickly, you’ll be grateful for the extra time off.
—Heal. Last, but not least: give yourself permission to rest, sleep, and heal for as long as you need. Don’t rush to feel better. Think of it this way: if you got all four teeth out at once, you’ll never have this surgery again. It’s okay to take all the time you need to recover, even if it’s way longer than everyone else you know. Your body will thank you.