Wisdom Tooth SurgeryWednesday, August 24, 2011
I removed two wisdom teeth at one go last Monday, namely the upper left one by extraction and the lower left one by surgery. Sounds excrucia...
My uncle (who's a fabulous dentist too, but he doesn't perform surgeries as frequently) recommended Dr Bruce Chew to me because he's an oral surgeon. It's important to find a good dentist to perform wisdom tooth surgery because a blotched job can impair your facial nerves, resulting in permanent facial numbness. I was quite perturbed by the thought of this, hence I prolonged my appointment till just 2 weeks before my back-to-back trips so that I have just enough time for recovery. :P
What was the process like?
Dr Chew did a fantastic job. Before the deed was done, I was given antibiotics and painkillers. He then proceeded to administer local anesthesia through injection until my entire mouth was numb.
Not once did I feel pain (my threshold is very low) during the whole process, including the injection. My upper tooth was extracted in the blink of an eye. I almost didn't realize it was already taken out.
The lower tooth, on the other hand, took slightly longer because it was necessary to break the tooth into smaller pieces. The drilling sound was deafening. I am not kidding when I say deafening because for someone who has had a lot of dental work done, this is the first time I've experienced drilling of this magnitude. There was also some pulling and tugging but both Dr Chew and his nurse, Doris, were very reassuring. Again, I have to emphasize that there was no pain throughout and the procedure was completed in about 30-45 minutes.
I was given a course of antibiotics, painkillers and an antibacterial mouthwash to prevent infection and speed up the healing process. You will also be given 5 days of medical leave to recuperate at home.
For the first day itself, do prepared for bleeding to last at least a couple of hours. It can be a gory sight, having to change your blood-soaked gauze every half an hour or so. I was told to only use the mouthwash before bedtime, after brushing, so as to give the blood ample time to clot. This is important because the nurse warned that some patients who turned a deaf ear to her advice suffered from excessive bleeding thereafter.
My lower facial nerve was exposed after the surgery because of my tooth's proximity to the nerve, which meant that there was a possibility that I would experience numbness for a few months. Dr Chew advised me to take Vitamin B should I experience numbness in my lips the next day, but thankfully, there was no numbness to speak of. ;)
Did I experience pain in the days that followed?
There was some soreness around the jaw and gum area and it was difficult for me to open my mouth too wide, but honestly, these inconveniences were pretty inconsequential. I could eat as per normal, except that I chose to stick to a liquid diet (e.g. porridge, soup etc.) for about 4 days so that brushing will be much easier.
My only grouse was that my left cheek swelled for 4 days, making me look like a chipmunk with walnuts stored in the left side of my mouth. JW had the time of his life teasing me and poking fun at my left cheek (yes, literally). He was so fascinated with my swollen cheek that he kept asking me when I was going to extract the wisdom teeth on my right! =S
What about now?
Nope, there is still no pain. After my stitches were removed on the 5th day, I was given a syringe and taught how to dislodge food when it gets stuck in the gap where my tooth used to be. I'm currently using the syringe to flush out trapped food after every meal. My jaw and gum still feel slightly sore as the wound will only heal completely after 3 months, but the soreness is subsiding with each passing day and I have been so busy it doesn't bother me at all!
What're your dentist's contact details?
Chew & Chew Dental Surgery
Mount Elizabeth Hospital
Tel: 6738 6033
What's the cost like?
For wisdom tooth surgery, the cost ranges from S$1000-S$1,500, of which a maximum amount of $950 can be claimed from Medisave.
For wisdom tooth extraction, it was about S$200. Unfortunately, Medisave cannot be used for normal extraction. :(
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