I’ve spent the past several days regaining jaw mobility, spending 15 minutes cleaning my mouth after every meal, and casually watching for signs of dry socket.
Symptoms of dry socket after wisdom tooth extraction are pain, “ranging from ‘dull’ to moderate to severe” and a foul mouth odor.
How pleasantly helpful.
So what does it mean when I wake up at 03:30 every night with atrocious jaw pain and stinky breath? Is this because I accidentally pulled on a stitch (the threads were long enough) when I gnashed my teeth in a bad dream, or because I have dry socket? Is the bad breath because I’ve been asleep for several hours, or because I have dry socket? Whatever. Take four Ibuprofen and listen to some Sade at full blast until the pain abates enough to go back to sleep.
I went in to Dr. Mid-West this morning, capable of opening my mouth rather wide with only a slight twinge, to have the wounds checked on and (theoretically) the stitches removed. I’ve never had stitches removed from anywhere else, so I wasn’t sure how the procedure was supposed to go. And I’m still not. He went in with a pair of dentist-tweezers and pulled very small pieces of something out of the bottom sites. No thread came out, and I know there was some thread back there–I just looked at it in the mirror last night. Maybe I do have the type that just go away on their own. He declared the top sites to be fine, but said there were still holes in the bottom ones. This means, yes, ladies and gentlemen: dry socket.
He pushed a blue liquid (like a mouth rinse) into the holes using an almost-syringe type of device, which I had to spit out. The hole was apparently some kind of a magnet for nastiness. (Don’t you just hate when you get to the dentist and realize that despite all your brushing and flossing and mouth-washing, there’s still ickiness in your mouth? There’s something to think about the next time you kiss your SO.) Then he pushed in some type of medication, which started up an odd and deep ache throughout my lower jaw. Now there’s this brown, slightly unpleasant-tasting medication all over the sites and my back molars, and I don’t know how long I’m supposed to be careful to leave the medication on. I just know I’m supposed to use warm salt-water rinses and do my best to keep things clean.
Boy, I just love that breezy Dr. Mid-West. The breezy, calm demeanor works well, of course, to cancel out my panicky tendencies (not that I was actually worried that having dry socket would be serious), but can we not just dump some medication on my teefuses and ship me out? For rizzle.
I was in the office for all of five minutes, and then back on the road for the nerve-wracking drive home.
(Everytime I drive to that office, I am reminded of why I hate city driving–that fast-paced, let’s-cut-across-three-lanes-to-make-this-left-turn/exit-now thing just isn’t my type of thing. Give me a long stretch (even a moderately crowded one) of highway and a car that can handle my heavy foot with good acceleration, and I’ll drive you anywhere you want to go, no matter how long it takes…)