Little confession time.
I am terrified of visiting doctors and dentists.
I feel like I’m being sent to the principal’s office, and the dreadful feeling of impending doom lurking around the corner overwhelms me. I know I’m probably being a little dramatic but that’s pretty much how I feel. I’ve avoided going to the dentist for THE LONGEST TIME because I know I have poor oral health, and I’m scared of finding out the condition of my teeth. Same logic as how a fit person wouldn’t mind stepping onto the weighing scale but an overweight person would be afraid of simply looking at a numerical digit on the machine. But, I’m at this stage and point in my life whereby I’m trying my best to act like an adult, and make all the adult-like decisions – as many as I can. One of those happen to be taking care of my oral hygiene because kids don’t care about their teeth, but responsible adults do because they’re smarter and know how important it is for your health and overall image. Everyone gets put off by bad looking teeth. Everyone.
Well long story cut short, I was getting my teeth cleaned and checked up at my dentist’s one day, when he suddenly lamented on how my wisdom teeth were growing out in a potentially harmful direction and they could cause problems for me in the future, if I don’t remove them soon. Gah. I had some pains with my wisdom teeth some time back which bothered me for a few weeks but eventually the aches ceased so I thought they’d miraculously disappeared or found a place to hide in my gums, and forgot about them. Turns out I’m not getting away with it so easily. Complications will get more severe the older you are, and so I thought…. the responsible adult thing to do and say: I might as well do it while I’m still young & healthy.
AND THIS HAPPENED NEXT.
Covered in cold sweat and goosebumps, I found myself sitting in the chair of death at 11am, stripped bare of make up, looking like some ailing hospital patient. Lol. Don’t judge my beady Chinese eyes that somehow manage to shrink to 1/10000th of its size compared to when I have make up on.
My dentist, Dr Chia, analyzing my wisdom teeth and discussing the process and what I can expect before the extraction begins.
I’m only getting the bottom two taken out out because for now, the top ones don’t seem like they’d bother me anytime soon. And I don’t think I could handle all 4 being taken out at once under just local anesthetic…. Look at the wisdom tooth on the right side of the picture!!! It’s in an odd position so they had to make an incision in my gums and hack it into a few smaller pieces in order to take it out with least damage done to other teeth and surrounding gum tissue.
“If it’s not hurting you now, why do you want to take them out?!”
Well, prevention is always better than cure, when it comes to health!!! You don’t get AIDs and then figure out how to cure it later, right?
Before beginning, Dr Chia explained some basic hand signals I should always display to show my level of comfort as I won’t be able to move my mouth or other parts of the body at all. A clenched fist stands for Zero, no pain or feeling. One meaning light pressure, two is more pressure… three is borderline painful and I guess five means LORD HAVE MERCY!
I thought I would’ve raised my hand to show a 5 at least once, because my pain threshold is rather low (I am a wussy) but the most it ever got was a 3 at one point, and then he injected me with more local anesthetic and after that I couldn’t feel a thing. Even the injections don’t hurt much, it feels like a dull aching stinging feeling. I don’t know why I did it, but the night before my surgery I was so tensed up and nervous about getting my teeth removed and I tossed and turned around in bed before deciding there’s no way I could fall asleep. So I went to Youtube wisdom teeth extractions, thinking if I knew how the process would be like, perhaps I’d be less worried because informed decisions always make more sense. But after watching THIS VIDEO I shat bricks!!!!!!
HOW PAINFUL DOES THAT LOOK?????
Very very much, I know!!! But don’t you worry, it’s actually surprisingly deceivingly horrific because I honestly couldn’t feel any significant painful sensation.. cross my heart on this. The most I ever felt was engulfing fear in my heart and some tugging and pressure in my mouth. For real, normally I wouldn’t hesitate to burst into spontaneous tears when I stub my toes a little too hard, but the pain level for this surgery is probably less than 1 on a level of 1-10, thanks to the local anesthetic. The worst part was probably when the tooth was coming out of the socket and they had to pull pretty hard……. I could feel a slight tugging sensation and I thought a burst of pain would follow, but nope. Just a tugging sensation. It would be almost impossible for me to feel any pain even if I wanted to nitpick. Ok then if I were to nitpick I’d say that dentist tools sound terrible. The drilling, scaling, scraping all echo through your throat and ears and your mouth literally feels like a construction site! I pleaded with my dentist to put me under general anesthetic (the type where you fall asleep & have no feeling or recollection of the event whatsoever until you wake up later on) but he insisted it was unnecessary for a small procedure like this, unless I had very tricky wisdom teeth positions that’d make it difficult or tedious to remove, but mine was supposed to be a super easy extraction. When it was all over and done, he proved to be right, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, feeling like I didn’t need to worry so much after all.
About 30 minutes later, the surgery was completed…. And this is the aftermath!
Yikes!!!!! I am a tooth murderer. D:
And if you ever wondered how beautiful I would look with a swollen, numb mouth….. well your dreams just came true, you son of a gun.
I’m sexy and I know it.
So glad I got the procedure done, because now I don’t have to worry about my bottom wisdom teeth any more!!!! And it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I’d anticipated. Woop woop!
Something to remember your little friends who helped you to chew by.
After my teeth were extracted and my gums stitched up, I was given a gauze pad to gently bite on and then sent off on my merry way with some painkillers and meds to help with the aftercare. I did feel pretty woozy after that and wanted to go to sleep straight away but I wasn’t allowed to lie down until night time because the pressure change might cause bleeding. Dr Chia told me I was lucky I decided to take them out because he actually discovered a growing infection where the tooth was affecting my brushing techniques, so consequences would be more dire had I not rectified the problem in the early stages. For the sake of people who are thinking of getting their wisdom teeth removed soon, here’s some possible scenarios you can anticipate to happen, based on my own personal experiences!
What To Expect When You Extract Wisdom Teeth
1) Your biggest hurdle to cross will be the mental fear
Or at least mine was. You’re not going to feel much, or any pain at all. Even after the surgery, I didn’t need to take the painkillers because the discomfort level was very little, aside from the fact I oozed so much blood my mouth tasted like salty metal for hours after the surgery and I choked on my own blood a few times. They say you’re supposed to swallow all the blood and not spit, because spitting would cause more bleeding. Every damn thing causes bleeding, even breathing, lol.
2) Expect blood. A lot of blood. Avoid anything that will cause prolonged bleeding
After the surgery I tried to keep my mouth closed as much as possible, and I didn’t want to swallow so I just sort of kept the pool of blood in my mouth (grossssss) but would you rather swallow it?! Anyway when I finally did spit out the blood, it looked like a crime scene. So. Much. Concentrated. Dark. Red. Blood. I rinsed my mouth once, and then distracted myself with TV. You’ll be tempted to rinse & spit very often but don’t do it!!!! Dr Chia advised me to throw away the gauze after an hour because too much gauze may cause even more blood to be sucked out and dislodge the blood clot. Eventually, bleeding stopped completely after approximately 6 hours.
3) Eat soft foods for at least a few days after the surgery
My mum took care of me after the surgery at her place, and she bought me my favorite selegie tao huey. What an angel. Tao huey tasted like angel brains because the sweetness and smoothness of the bean curd effectively cleansed my mouth of the bloody residue. Have a nice large meal before your extraction because you won’t be able to have solid or chewy food for probably 4-5 days after the surgery.
You are supposed to avoid sucking on straws, eating extremely warm or cold foods, chewy foods, and food that will stick to your gums / get stuck in your teeth. Some people apparently only consume liquids for the first 3 days but I am a fat pig so by a few hours after the surgery I was actually eating minced pork congee. Yum. HAHAHAHA omg I’m really a pig.
In fact, I felt so fine that I completed my surgery in the noon and by evening I went to catch the sexy and stunning Le Noir circus show at Marina Bay Sands, tickets courtesy of Nuffnang and Churp Churp, where I was seated next to the charming and handsome Nat Ho and I somehow managed to have a conversation with him despite my mouth being so swollen I looked like a chipmunk. And you know what else? By two whole days later, I was already eating hot and spicy tom yam noodles for dinner. I must be superwoman. (Or just a really hungry person)
Here’s me 4 hours after the surgery. Hey presto! If I didn’t tell you, would you have guessed I just had my gums cut open and molars extracted? Ok my cheeks were a little swollen so I hid them behind luscious purple hair hahaha.
4) Swelling will be the most obvious on the third or fourth day
As you can see, one cheek / side of my jaw is a lot more swollen than the other! It was the left one where they had to cut the gums and drill the tooth into pieces. But other than looking a couple of kilograms fatter on my face than I should, there was no discomfort to the swelling at all. I almost couldn’t believe how much everything did not hurt.
If you’ve hesitated about removing your wisdom teeth for awhile now, perhaps this will give you the push you need.
Here’s Why You Should Remove Your Wisdom Teeth (source):
• A few people are born without wisdom teeth. Others have enough room in their mouths for the teeth. But many of us get our wisdom teeth taken out as young adults, and are first alerted to the problem when our wisdom teeth can’t come in all the way. If that happens, part of the tooth may be covered by a flap of gum. Bits of food and bacteria can get trapped under the flap. This can cause swelling and a low-grade infection called pericoronitis. This usually happens with lower wisdom teeth. Pericoronitis, and the pain it causes, are the most common reasons people need wisdom teeth taken out.
• In many people, the wisdom teeth are blocked from coming in, usually by bone or other teeth. Sometimes the teeth are tilted under the gum. Dentists call these “impacted” teeth. They may cause pain, but not always. You may feel nothing at all for years. You may not even be aware that you have wisdom teeth until your dentist sees them on an X-ray. Regular dental visits are important during your teens and early 20s. If you visit your dentist regularly, he or she can use X-rays to follow the progress of your wisdom teeth. Any problems will be seen early.
• Even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing any pain or other problems, they may cause problems at some point. The most common problems are decay, infection and crowding or damage to other teeth. Teeth next to the wisdom teeth are more prone to developing gum problems. But more serious complications can occur. Some people develop fluid-filled growths called cysts. These can cause permanent damage to bone, teeth and nerves. In rare cases, other tumors may develop as well.
• Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. But if there’s a chance your wisdom teeth will cause problems, it’s easier to take them out when you’re young. That’s because the roots of the teeth are not fully developed yet, and the bone around the teeth is less dense. Younger people also heal faster than older ones. As you age, it will take longer to recover from the surgery.
Possible Complications (source):
• Pain and swelling in your gums and tooth socket where the tooth was removed.
• Bleeding that won’t stop for about 24 hours.
• Difficulty with or pain from opening your jaw (trismus).
• Slow-healing gums.
• Damage to existing dental work, such as crowns or bridges, or to roots of a nearby tooth.
• A painful inflammation called dry socket, which happens if the protective blood clot is lost too soon.
• Numbness in your mouth and lips after the local anesthetic wears off, due to injury or inflammation of nerves in the jaw.
Rare side effects:
• Prolonged numbness in the mouth or lips, AKA Paresthesia. I had this for a week. Apparently I am allergic or sensitive to the local anesthetic used called Articaine, I had a half tingling, half dull aching sensation in my lips for a week, causing me to speak funny for awhile. After going back to Dr Chia for a check up he prescribed me some Daneuron to help with injured nerves or altered nerve sensations and I’m almost fully recovered (95%) now after 2 weeks! I only have a slight numb feeling in a much smaller area compared to the large patch a week ago. For some people it may take a longer time to heal, up to 9 months, and some people never get sensation back at all. However, I’ve heard this is incredibly rare. This has nothing to do with my dentist’s skills or professionalism level as it could happen to anyone, especially if your wisdom tooth is located near the nerve that runs along the jawline, but for my case it’s an allergic reaction.
• 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.
Having said all of this.. of course, different people have different thresholds of pain and dental experiences, and there are two keys to a pleasant wisdom teeth extraction process:
1) Go to a reputable dentist. Some are more gentle, patient, and professional than others.
2) Follow your dentist’s instructions. Take your meds as instructed and don’t do anything stupid like sports a few days after the surgery. Get lots of rest and limit physical activity.
(old picture from when I had red hair)
I am very fortunate to have had my wisdom teeth extracted by Dr Melvin Chia, from Tooth Angels at Clarke Quay because his gentle nature made me feel relaxed and assured at all times! I have heard stories of people who suffer aches and pains for days or even weeks after their surgery but I had none of that, thanks to Dr Chia’s expertise. We’re posing beside my teeth X-ray at the clinic Look at his uber straight and white awesome looking teeth!!! I know this is a no-brainer but dentists always have such perfect teeth. I don’t have to be jealous any more, because Dr Chia is urging me to get braces done…. I have relatively straight top row teeth but my bottom teeth are completely messed up due to an underbite jaw problem. Should I or should I not be metal teethed? Would you guys judge me? :3 I hate to admit this but I’ve always looked at people with braces in a funny way…. I know it’s not very nice (but I’ve never made fun of anyone for it! I just keep it to myself) because most people aren’t born with perfect teeth and I should actually give people who bother to make the effort of having better teeth some credit but I can’t help but pay a lot of attention to it when someone with braces talk to me. It looks so… weird. The aesthetic factor is definitely the biggest thing holding me back at the moment.
Nevertheless, here’s a big shout out and a HUGE Thank You to the wonderful people at Tooth Angels for this extremely smooth experience. I hate going to the dentist’s but Tooth Angels makes it so much more bearable for me because everyone there is incredibly nice and caring, the vibe is great, the location is central (literally at The Central) and the dentists and oral surgeons there are great at their job!
Looking for a good dentist you can trust to frequent?
Tooth Angels & Co. Dental Surgeons
The Central (Clarke Quay MRT Station). 6 Eu Tong Sen Street #B1-01
Tel : +65 6222 6220
I will find it difficult to ever visit another dental clinic now, because none I’ve ever patronized in the past have been as professional or friendly as Tooth Angels, the place feels like a second home to me!!! I actually look forward to visiting them to get my teeth cleaned and checked up because I know I’m always one step closer to better, healthier, nicer teeth when I leave their clinic.
If you haven’t gotten your teeth checked in awhile, do it please!!! It’s more important than you’d think. You’ll thank me and yourself in time to come!