Before I go into detail about my recent wisdom teeth surgery and the recovery process, allow me to recite a little anthropology lesson about this dental matter.
Twenty millennia ago, our ancestors were able to use their wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, to chew on a diet of coarse, uncooked, and raw foods such as roots, nuts, and meat. As centuries passed, evolution reduced the size of our jaws, rendering our wisdom teeth vestigial organs–in other words, completely useless–despite that they still develop. Wisdom teeth erupt between the ages of 17 and 25, the time-frame they call the “age of wisdom.” (Ironically, neurologists say that the frontal lobe of the human brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 25, so I don’t see why anyone would be considered wise at age 17 because of the eruption of wisdom teeth, no offense to some of the teens who may be reading this.) Because wisdom teeth are deemed non-functional today, oral surgeons extract them to prevent a host of oral health problems in their patients–infection, inflammation, tooth decay, and gum disease.
The night before my surgery, I munched on my Stouffer’s pepperoni French bread pizza and a few slices of chocolate pound cake like it was my last real meal because I learned in advance that I can’t chew anything for a week after the procedure; everything I eat has to be in liquid form. I barely slept at all because, although I had the best oral surgeons in my town to operate on me, I was still terrified about what will happen to me while I’m under the knife, given it was my very first surgery ever. I read stories about some teens who died during their wisdom teeth surgeries because they were under anesthesia for too long, and I was afraid that I would suffer that same fate, so my insomnia kicked into high gear until six in the morning.
The real surgery took 45 minutes, and thank God the anesthesia didn’t kill me in my temporary slumber. I wanted to see what my wisdom teeth actually looked like after the procedure ended, but my surgeon said they needed to be disposed of because they came out in pieces and they’re contaminated with bacteria. Was my mouth really that bad? When the surgeon escorted me outside, my brother saw that my face looked like a chipmunk (Alvin, Simon, or Theodore; I had no idea which one of them I resembled), as it was expected because it was swollen.
At home, I was couch-ridden for two days as my brother took care of me by following the post-op instructions given to me by the surgeon–feeding me only liquid foods, replacing the gauze pads every half hour or so until the bleeding stopped, pressing the ice pack on my jaw on and off every 20 minutes, and giving me the antibiotic every eight hours. As far as the pain goes…well, I barely felt anything until this morning because of the oatmeal, and I took Vicodin for the first time in two days. I’m not even sure how long it will take for the stitches on my sockets to dissolve completely.
Today, I’m gradually eating normal food again, beginning with oatmeal for breakfast, and scrambled eggs and a piece of toast for lunch. I don’t know what I’m gonna eat for dinner tonight, but as long as it’s not pureé (no offense to my grandmother because I really love her food) I’m fine. By tomorrow or Saturday, I should be free from the dietary restrictions placed on me as a result of the surgery.
My wisdom teeth surgery and the rules that came with my recovery–especially dietary changes–have been a little difficult for me to adjust to, but I have managed so much in the past two days. My brother’s wisdom teeth are gonna be removed in less than a week, and I don’t know how I’m going to be able to handle that one.