An Anecdotal Account Post-extraction

By: David Siegel

On December 7, 2007 I had my lower left wisdom tooth extracted while under general anesthesia. Certainly, one of the benefits of general anesthesia is that I have no memory of the actual extraction; but according to the orthodontist the procedure went well and they did not run into any complications.

Of course, this is not the end of the story! The post extraction process was an experience in and by itself. After being awaken from the anesthesia I was under observation for approximately one hour. My observation period was perhaps longer than the norm, because I was particularly nauseous after the anesthesia. The most difficult part of being under observation was trying to, as the orthodontist instructed, stay awake while sitting up for a set period of minutes. As soon as I was able to, I was moved into the recovery room, where I rested for 20 minutes. The Orthodontist gave me a specific list of foods to eat the first day, cold soups, Jell-o and milkshakes. As well as specific instructions regarding oral hygiene: i.e. to not brush or use mouthwash the first day.

There are some side effects of wisdom tooth extraction in general; and general anesthesia in particular. For me, the most intense side effect was the nausea, and at one point, the orthodontist gave me a shot to alleviate the nausea. The orthodontist gave me a specific list of foods that I could eat for the first day, primarily cold soups, milkshakes and Jell-o. I did not have much of an appetite for the first 24 hours, and primarily just drank juice. For me, the side effects from the anesthesia are similar to a 24 hour flu bug, nausea, grogginess and loss of appetite. You might have notice, that so far, I've made no mention of my tooth-the reason for the extraction in the first place. This is because my mouth felt fine. I had some bleeding for which the orthodontist gave me a gauze pad. I had no swelling, and even after the Novocain wore off, I only felt some slight discomfort. Even then, it was less painful than most tooth aches I've had. As the song goes, "What a Difference a Day Makes!" The next day, all the side effects, including the nausea were gone and my appetite was back. I was still tired; but other than that I was fine.

As part of the post extraction period, I also had to take medication: Amoxicillin to prevent infection, Motrin to prevent inflammation, and (if I needed it) Vicodin for pain. The Amoxicillin prescription was 3 times a day for 5 days; and the Motrin, 4 times a day for 2 days.

To sum up, the most intense side effects were in the first 24 hour period; and they were more related to the general anesthesia than the actual extraction.

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