Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

In late August I walked through Union City excited, ready for my orthodontist to take off my braces. I had my braces on for four years, since the fall of my freshman year of high school, and I was so ready for them to come off. I feel really blessed to have the opportunity to have my teeth straightened out and I will be eternally grateful for that. But I was so ready to see my smile without my braces and to see the product of their marvelous work.

When the nurse handed me a mirror to see myself I was so excited I nearly dropped the mirror. I was so happy when I saw my reflection, I really loved seeing the way my teeth had evolved throughout the years. Then, my orthodontist handed me a yellow envelope. When I took out the x-rays, he said: “It seems that your wisdom teeth aren’t positioned correctly. Please call the number of the oral surgeon for an evaluation.” I left that appointment happy with my brand new smile, but really confused. What was wrong with my wisdom teeth?

I hadn’t done much research prior to my appointment with the oral surgeon. All I knew was that my wisdom teeth are four teeth which were growing in the back of my top and bottom rows of teeth) For me, they were hiding under my gums. I remember hearing somewhere that I would’ve experienced pain if my wisdom teeth weren’t growing in correctly. So I went to my oral surgery evaluation with my mom, both of us were confident they would say I wouldn’t need surgery because I did not feel any pain. They took x-rays of my teeth, and after a while the doctor and nurse brought in my x-rays and told me, “Ok so your wisdom teeth are not positioned correctly; please go to the front to schedule a date for your surgery.” My mom literally said out loud, “What?” I added on, stating the obvious: “So I’m gonna have surgery?” The doctors confirmed, assuring me it was a common procedure and a very quick one too. After this appointment my mom and I were torn whether I should have the surgery immediately or postpone it until summer break or until I had symptoms of any wisdom teeth complications.

After that appointment I did some more research, mainly about what would happen if I decided to delay the surgery. I discovered a few complications awaited me if I didn’t remove my wisdom teeth, the first being pain. I could develop serious pain in my teeth and in my jaw. Secondly, I could get a bacterial infection, causing pain and threatening my health. Wisdom teeth could also cause my teeth to start shifting and moving, reversing the hard work my braces had done. There are more teeth and jaw complications that can arise that you can find here. Ultimately, after much thought, I decided to go through with the procedure without postponement. I scheduled it on the only Friday I didn’t have a full schedule, which was convenient for me. Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t realize how it would affect me in the coming days.

Rule number one of any surgery: do NOT drink or eat anything eight hours before your surgery. This is because you can choke if your food decides to come back up while you are unconscious. I was a bit nervous about the general anesthesia, and I prayed I wouldn’t react badly to it. I would recommend anyone who is going to get a surgery done to have tests performed to check their reactions to anesthesia in advance. My mom was very nervous for me too and made sure everything was ready for post-surgery. She is the absolute best to me. She had the freezer stacked with so much ice cream and had so much pain medication (which, trust me, is necessary). Before leaving my home, I brushed my teeth (important to prevent bacteria and infections that could enter during surgery), got dressed, ate NOTHING, and we made our way to the oral surgeon.

I arrived and they immediately took me in. After attaching me to heart and blood pressure monitors and getting everything ready for the surgery, the doctor asked me if I was ready, and I said yes. He immediately inserted a syringe of anesthesia into the IV in my arm. Boom — I was out. After having a really weird dream where I flew out the window, I opened my eyes and saw light. Everything was so blurry. I immediately started talking, but realized everything I was trying to say was muffled by the cotton that was in my mouth. I began to cry (I’m a very emotional person, so this was my gut instinct). I began to list all the people I loved out loud. I think I even told the doctor “I love you, God bless you, thank you.” It’s all a blur now. I remember feeling dizzy and seeing two of everything. After settling in a bit, the nurse brought me a wheelchair, and I sat down in it while she brought me to my mom. I was still very dizzy and only semi-conscious, but I could hear and see how nervous my mom was. The nurse gave my mom instructions and wheeled me to our car.

As time passed and I started to gain more consciousness, I realized how much I hated the cotton that was in my mouth, but I kept it in because I knew I was bleeding. I just wanted to sleep. But I also wanted to accompany my mom to the pharmacy to get my antibiotics (VERY IMPORTANT — they will help prevent infections). We finally got home, where I went to my bed to lay down. Then, the pain started to kick in. I hated it. There was pain coming in every direction. My mom gave me a bag of frozen vegetables to hold against my face. She brought me ice cream and fed me, being the loving mother she is. But there was still so much pain.

I’m going to give you a little summary of how the next few days were.

Day one: very bad. There was so much pain. I had to take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and my antibiotics very regularly. I had two bags of frozen vegetables smushed together on my face, only removing them to make them cold again. I ate nothing but ice cream and Pediasure. I couldn’t even eat mashed potatoes on day one. I stayed in bed the entire day watching the Addams Family movies, animated and live action. I cried a bit due to the pain, so prepare yourself for that. I woke up several times in the night due to the pain. Also, my face started swelling up so much and I could barely talk. Thankfully, my wounds stopped bleeding on the first day, so good riddance to the cotton!

Day two: Same amount of pain; I was taking pain medication as if my life depended on it. I could now eat ice cream, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes, but most of my nutrients were coming from the Pediasure. I couldn’t chew or move my jaw that much, so I ate very small pieces of food. I slept most of this day, which was probably for the best considering I wasn’t getting any decent sleep due to pain. I could talk a bit more, which was nice. I started to regularly rinse my mouth a bit with salt water, which cleaned the wound.

Day three: Horrible, horrible pain. I think the anesthesia had completely worn off at this point. I started crying once again because of the strength of the pain. I skipped out on mashed potatoes on this day. This day consisted of eating ice cream, placing frozen vegetable bags on my face, and watching Say Yes to the Dress (my only consolation). I really give my mother a round of applause for dealing with me all these days and nights.

Day four: It is a Monday and I am unable to attend classes. The lack of sleep and pain medication has me completely out of my head. At one point in the day I get ready to do salt water rinses, but I get nauseous, head to bed, and fall asleep for two hours. I wake up and eat the lunch my sister prepared for me, realizing that the nauseousness was probably because the antibiotics were affecting my stomach. I spend the rest of the day watching Say Yes to the Dress and eating ice cream.

Day five: It is a Tuesday and I am still unable to attend classes. I try to attend my last one, but I am still very out of it. The swelling begins to go down! The pain has also decreased, and I only wake up only once during the night because of pain.

Day six: To be honest, I can’t recall day six too well. I was well on my way to recovery. I remember I had to do a project then, but I was not focused at all. I took very frequent naps. The swelling and the pain had gone down. 

Day seven: Today is my first full day of classes! It is a pretty good day, but the antibiotics start to affect my stomach and make me nauseous. I am able to eat so much more, and I can talk better, too. I felt really happy knowing that my wisdom teeth removal is now a thing of the past  

If your oral surgeon recommends wisdom teeth surgery, please be aware that this isn’t a one day deal. You will probably feel pain, soreness, and swelling afterwards. We are all different though, so we won’t have the exact same experience as one another. I wanted to share my story, and if you have a similar experience as me, know that it’ll be okay. If something out of the ordinary occurs, contact your oral surgeon immediately. I wish you all the best of health and take care!

Izabella Lizarazo

Columbia Barnard '24

Izabella is a freshman at Barnard College, often found listening and/or singing along to show tunes or Latin jazz. She's a fan of journaling, organizing, and writing. She is almost always available to go out and talk over a bubble tea or ice cream with friends. Although she is undecided on what her college major will be, Izabella is interested in history, politics, literature, and Spanish and Latin American cultures.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️