How to Survive Your Wisdom Teeth Removal

I am only a little bit embarrassed by that photo.

Happy Tuesday.  I got my wisdom teeth out at 10 AM on Thursday.  I’ve never had surgery before and I am not signing up to do it anytime soon.  I like to think I have a pretty high pain threshold but once the numbness wore off on Day 1, I was in tears.  I swore they’d switched my pain killers with children’s Tylenol.  Once 4 or 5 PM rolled around I was doing better.  The rest of the evening was spent watching the Discovery Channel and laying in bed with ice strapped to my jaw using a jerry-rigged Ace Bandange and a pillow case.

Day 2 and 3 I was really swollen.  My mom wanted to go do things on Saturday and I didn’t want to even look at myself in a mirror, let alone face the outside world.  I was pretty solidly convinced my face would never be normal again.

5 Days later and I am still sore and unable to eat anything other than baby food consistency.  But now that this painful experience is behind me, I want to offer some advice for those of you who are facing it in the future.

DON’T believe your nurse when she tells you how speedy your recovery will be.  Just because she’s chipper doesn’t mean she’s right.  And just because she claims to have eaten pizza the night after her surgery doesn’t mean she’s telling the truth.

DO cover all of the mirrors in your house before you leave for surgery.

DON’T uncover them for a month.  At least.

DO try to brush your teeth.  It’ll be awkward.  And if you’re lucky like I was, you won’t even really be able to open your mouth wide enough for your tooth brush.  But at least try.  Your breath is going to be so gross.

DON’T spit when you brush your teeth.  Apparently dry socket is a bitch.  Also, don’t use straws to drink.  Drooling liquid through your numb lips is less awkward than the pain of dislodging a clot.  So I hear.

DO change your clothes periodically.  And put on new clothes after a shower.  I really tested the laziness threshold during my recovery period and discovered that wearing the same tank top for three days is really never acceptable.

DON’T go to CVS until you’re swelling is gone.  They will accuse you of smuggling cosmetics in your cheeks.  I don’t have proof of this but I would not doubt it.

DO listen to your mom when she says you almost look normal again.  She’s lying, but at least someone is giving you a compliment.

DON’T think too hard about all of the things you can’t eat.  Pizza, pasta, mozzarella sticks, Taco Bell, popcorn, Doritos, and all of that other deliciousness will still exist when you’re healed.

DO attempt to fashion a makeshift headgear out of an Ace bandage and pillow case in an attempt to ice your jaw.  Apparently ice helps keep the swelling down.  If this is true, I do not want to know what I would have looked like with out it.

I hope your experience is more fun than mine.  If anything, I am now relatively positive I will never be able to handle plastic surgery, so I will stop saving up for it.


Compulsive snacker. Bleeding heart. Unhealthy obsession with Tom Hanks and cats. Florida State and Syracuse University alum.

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  1. Glad to see you are getting your sense of humor back. Love you – Mom

  2. Good humor. Sorry you had to endure it to make us laugh.

  3. Gabrielle Ruffino

    I woke up this morning and thought “where's my damn vicodin, I want it now!!” Also “blood in the morning is never a pleasant flavor” thank God Matt is here to baby me. Apparently my mother called when I was high as a kite yesterday and I started crying saying I wanted her chicken fricassee and dumplings, Matt had to get me to stop crying and stop her from hoping on a plane he he. I'll upload the videos where I was crying about unicorns soon.

  4. When I got my wisdom teeth removed, I was out of it for the rest of the day. Luckily, I wasn't that crazy, and the drugs wore off pretty quick. My little brother however, we have some awesome videos of him right after, and he is quite the case. I go back and watch those videos whenever I feel bad. One of these days, I will probably make a little highlight reel, and post it online. It is worth sharing.

  5. I can't stop smiling as I read your blog. Yes, great humor! Now, after reading this, I think I am ready for my dental surgery at Estetico Manila.

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