This post will be about my worst experience with a routine wisdom tooth extraction. Brace yourself. It may be a bit gruesome.
Not sure about you but I had to extract all 4 of my impacted wisdom teeth. The first 3 weren’t too bad. That last one. It was the worst!
One summer in college, I went to see my dentist for a routine wisdom tooth extraction. I wasn’t experiencing any pain. It was impacted and it had to be removed. X-rays were done and everything looked fine to proceed with extraction.
My dentist numbed the upper left side of my mouth. He properly made the incision and began the extraction. Easy as pie… until after the tooth came out.
Immediately after that extraction, I somehow had a weird tasting fluid in my mouth! He was sitting over me with a blank stare. I knew something was wrong. He quickly snapped out of it and finished up the procedure. Then he placed a big, fat gauze in my mouth.
We walked into his office and sat us (my father and I) down. He prepared us for the speech. The bad news. Apparently, my wisdom tooth was touching my sinus and somehow acting as a plug. Pulling that plug created my sinus fluid to constantly drain into my mouth. It was really gross.
I was so upset at this point… holding back the tears. I kept thinking to myself that if he knew this beforehand, then I could have avoided this appointment. I could have gone straight to the oral surgeon who would have done the extraction and fixed everything up. I was furious. I had this big hole in my mouth and my sinus!
He referred us to a great oral surgeon nearby. My father came with me to the consultation. Dr. L explained the details of the necessary and costly surgery. I had to be admitted to the hospital with general anesthesia. My father had a worried look on his face because this surgery wasn’t covered under our insurance plan at that time. But the best part of the whole miserable experience was Dr. L telling us that he would do it pro bono. What?! We couldn’t believe our ears! We thanked him a million times. He was too generous and too kind.
My surgery was scheduled for the following week. This time, my mother and grandmother came along. I was a nervous wreck. This was my first surgery ever. I was 19 years old. I was prepped for surgery, gave hugs to my mother, and they wheeled me into the operating room. We entered the room and there was a whole team of people. I would say about 10 people were in the room waiting for me. I am assuming that most were residents and observing the surgery. I got the feeling it was something uncommon and the specifics of it would call for an audience. Here’s the specifics:
- bone graft of chin
- synthetic filler in its place (there is still a weird sensation around this area and I could feel this foreign object in my chin)
- extraction of one molar tooth next to the affected area
- bone graft placed in the sinus cavity to seal it up
In the recovery room, I opened my eyes to see my mother crying by my bedside. Apparently my face was so swollen it was unrecognizable. My chin was bandaged and a big tampon was placed in my left nostril (I didn’t realize this until the following day). And to make matters worse, my blood was splattered on my gown and face. She began wiping me as she was crying. Just moments later, I started to throw up furiously. (I also vaguely remember that I threw up as I was being wheeled to the room while in and out of consciousness.) The nurse came in to help and she explained that blood cannot be digested so that’s why everything is coming up. Ugh.
The whole car ride home with my poor grandmother sitting next to me was just that. Throwing up blood.
I was medicated with strong pain killers like Codeine and I was bed-ridden for days. I could not eat and I was resorted to a strict liquid diet. I was losing weight week after week that summer. I was skin and bones when I returned to school for the fall semester. My friends thought I was dying. Well, it did feel that way.
The whole point of this post is to make you aware that anything can happen. Life is too short. Complications like my surgery and detours can make things difficult. But it’s how you follow through and how you learn from it that matters. You just need to dust yourself and pick up where you left off. That’s what I did. Be truly grateful for what you have.
Outdoor educator, animal advocate, trailblazer, and writer