Friday, 9 November 2012

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

During my time with braces and attending the hospital regularly for check-ups, my wisdom tooth on the bottom right started to come through. At this time, I was mid-way through my orthodontic treatment and although tender, my wisdom tooth did not really cause me much discomfort. Although, this did not cause me any problems my orthodontist was adamant the tooth had to be removed. Due to problems extracting teeth, when I was younger and my fear of needles, it was decided, that I would be sedated for the removal of my wisdom tooth. Then if there were complications I would be asleep and the dentist could try other methods. I have always been a very trusting person and believed in the professional’s experience and expertise 100%. After all, they know what they are doing… right???? So therefore, I did not ask many questions and thought it would be the same procedure as a normal tooth extraction. I arrived at Guy’s hospital around 3:00pm and I knew I needed to be out of the building by 4:00pm. Otherwise, I would be travelling home in the rush hour, semi-sedated and having to balance on a packed train. Typical, we were not seen until 3:30 so I would definitely be traveling home during rush hour. I was getting nervous and worried at this point. I have been terrible with traveling on public transport since the age of 17 after being attacked by a group of boys. I had my mum with me, who reassured me she would help me to get home.  But my mum is only 5ft and finds it hard to balance herself after having a shattered knee cap some years before. The dentist called me in and before I knew it I had a line in my right hand and he was explaining what would happen. Apparently, when you are sedated you are in a semi-conscious state and you can still respond to instructions and move slowly. From the point he put the fluid in, I was away with the fairies and I do not remember a thing until they asked me to sit up and walk to the recovery area. Everything had gone smoothly and I felt fine.  I actually felt more than fine, I felt good.

The hospital sent me on my way at 5:30pm with a leaflet with instructions on how to keep the site clean. I was still dazed and felt slightly light headed and nauseous when walking but felt okay when I was sitting. I waddled with the help of my mum to the packed platform and was lucky to get on a train within a few minutes. Being a packed London commuter train, I was not expecting this journey to go well. I remember saying to mum “I actually do not care what happens to me I am going to sit on the floor”. By this point my face had begun to swell significantly on the right side, which we both presumed was normal after being pulled about. I must have looked rough and in need of a chair, within 10 seconds of boarding the train a lady had offered me her seat. I am still thankful till this day for that lady being kind enough to give me her seat. We got off at our stop 25 minutes later and my boyfriend was calling continuously wondering where I was... I was unable to talk very well and told mum to order us a cab home from the station. When I got home I remember having a glass of water and then washing my mouth around with a salt rinse. I then took some Paracetamol and slept for 12 hours.

I felt unwell the next day and grossed out by the bloody and tender hole left by the wisdom tooth. I remember feeling sick and not wanting to eat much. By the evening I had a high temperature and very tender face. Mum called NHS direct who put her through to an out of hours doctor’s surgery. The doctor prescribed me some antibiotics and instructed me to see my local dentist in the morning. I booked an emergency appointment with the dentist the next morning. I had an infection and it was quite disgusting (apparently). My dentist cleaned out the wound site and placed some gel antibiotic into the pocket where the wisdom tooth had once been. I was then prescribed 7 days of oral antibiotics and asked to return to the dentist in 3 days to make sure the site was healing properly. When I went back, a few days later I was feeling a lot better and the facial swelling and pain had decreased. The dentist explained that infections of the mouth can be very dangerous, especially with open wounds and it was lucky and wise that I did not leave this untreated. With any open or exposed wound, infection can get into the blood stream a lot quicker and easier causing Septicaemia. Therefore, it is so important to be aware of the signs of infections after the removal of your wisdom teeth and also the signs of septicaemia which is life threatening. If you are unsure speak to a doctor or pharmacist. Additionally, retrieve as much information as you can before the removal of teeth and any potential risks of having this procedure.

See below a few risks and symptoms you may want to look out for after the removal of wisdom teeth…..

  • Pain and swelling in your gums and tooth opening
  • Swelling of the jaw or face
  • Bleeding from the tooth site
  • Difficulty, pain from opening your jaw
  • Damage to existing dental work, such as crowns or bridges, or to roots of a nearby tooth
  • Painful inflammation called “dry socket”; this happens if the protective blood clot is lost too soon.
  • Numbness in your mouth and lips after the local anaesthetic wears off
  • Rare side effects =
  • Numbness in the mouth or lips that does not go away
  • A fractured jaw if the tooth was firmly attached to the jaw bone
  • An opening into the sinus cavity when a wisdom tooth is removed from the upper jaw


Symptoms or signs of septicaemia/ blood poisoning:
  • Chills or shakes
  • High temperature
  • Fast breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Generally feeling and looking unwell
  • Can cause confusion or other changes in your mental state
  • Red spots on the skin/ rash
  • Shock
  • Decreased or no urine output

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