Photo credit: joshDubya on VisualHunt / CC BY
By guest writer, June Pearl
The first sign I had of wisdom teeth was when my lower left tooth erupted when I was 15. My dentist was seriously surprised, seeing I was so young, but assured me I wouldn’t have to have them out before 20. I Googled “wisdom teeth” and was surprised to learn that wisdom tooth extraction was now being considered superfluous, just like getting your tonsils or gallbladder out. I thought, “Hey, I can keep them!” Since I am not a fan of dentists/doctors, I was thrilled at the prospect of omitting the dreaded visit. But last summer, the gums around the lower right tooth swelled up and became inflamed, my cheek swelled, and my jaw ached. The gums were oozing and disgusting! This lasted a couple weeks until the foreign contaminant worked its way out. (Fact: this was before essential oils!)
Back to Google…I discovered I had pericoronitis (a condition where the teeth cannot fully erupt due to lack of space, so they remain partially under the gums, even if “fully grown”) and that flare ups like this would happen. I also discovered that I could have an operculectomy done (a procedure where they laser off the flap of gum that covers the tooth).
So back to the dentist… At this point, over 2.5 years have gone by since my lower right tooth erupted. (I’ve had smaller flare ups with the pericoronitis, but used essential oils to control it). I’m also at a new dentist. I discussed with the hygienist the possibility of an operculectomy, but she reaffirmed a fact I’d found on Google: “Well,” she said, “it’s up to you. We can do that, but the gum may grow back and you’ll be right back where you started from.” On to the panoramic x-ray! The results showed that, yes, there’s no way my lower teeth would ever fully erupt because my jaw was too small, but also that my upper two teeth were impacted in the bone, with the left tooth’s roots growing into the sinus cavity. Not good! So, despite my earlier convictions, I made the appointment to have my wisdom teeth removed.
I researched to death (thank you Google and Alicia Dragic!) what essential oils to use. For the 3-6 days prior to the operation, I rubbed orange oil on the soles of my feet, since this oil is good for pulling anesthesia from your body. I also ate oodles of fermented foods to give my gut some support. And, of course, I forever diffuse my favorite essential oil blend: it contains cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, and rosemary essential oils, all of which help support my immune system and prevent infection.
Thursday: I was referred to a specialist due to the issue with my sinuses. (My dentist said that there’s a risk of pushing the tooth into the sinus while trying to remove it, and that would mean hospitalization.) The doctor was very knowledgeable, and in easy-to-understand language walked me step-by-step through the process. Upon closer examination, my upper left wisdom tooth (the one impacted near the sinus) had a balloon of liquid around it. This is present to help push the tooth through the gums. Unfortunately, mine would never push through, so the balloon just kept building fluid pressure. This eventually would result in an abscess. Ew. So it was good it was removed!
Prior to going under, I had filled out registration papers, etc. Little did I know that my allergy to eggs, soy, and sulfites would save me! Commonly, people are knocked out with nitrous oxide, aka “laughing gas”. This may make for interesting YouTube videos, but it does a number on your body! Fortunately, I was given the alternative intravenously. With this, I was “asleep”, but remember seeing dentists running around me 100 mph…through giant dunes of sand… OK, and then they walked me out to recovery, where I marveled at the pot of flowers that wouldn’t stop moving while evidently the doctor came out and talked to my mom (I don’t remember that…), and then we walked out to the car (don’t remember putting my coat on but know I HAD to have, since it was 10°!) Through all this, I wasn’t “loopy”, per se. 🙂 Mom said I talked coherently, though a bit slurred and odd, due to huge rolls of gauze (I remember signing that my throat felt like the Sahara, lol) By the time I got home, I was slightly nauseous and still quite numb, but otherwise clear. We changed the gauze and I had to keep them for an hour or so still. I kept up with icing my cheeks, 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off. By mid afternoon I was drinking chicken stock (with the aid of a spoon, since my lips were too numb to tell where the cup was) and eating soft food, like mashed potatoes and applesauce. I kept an essential oil blend (containing helichrysum, wintergreen, clove, and peppermint) and copaiba essential oil on my jaws for any pain and aid in healing. And more of the immune supporting essential oil blend (cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, and rosemary) in the diffuser! 🙂
That night, I felt pretty good! I was talking almost normal (didn’t stop me, lol) and the numbness was gone all except for the right tip of my bottom lip (I have a cherry tumor there, and the numbness seemed centralized around it. I rubbed additional orange oil on my chin to try to work out the Novacain) Before bed, I put on still more of the pain-relieving essential oil blend I used earlier (helichrysum, wintergreen, clove, and peppermint) and copaiba, but also a liver-supportive blend of helichrysum, celery seed, and ledum on my stomach and around my inner elbow where they put the I.V. to draw out anesthesia, the immune supportive blend again, oregano, and melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) on my feet (all natural antibiotics), nutmeg (good for gums) over my gallbladder/liver, and orange (pulls anesthesia and prevents post-op digestion ailments) on my stomach, rubbed clockwise. My pain was minimal, and I had not taken any of my prescribed meds (Vicodin, penicillin, and Prednisone!)
Friday: I continued my pain-relieving blend (helichrysum, wintergreen, clove, and peppermint), copaiba, and orange. I ate soft foods and kept my liquid intake up. I also began my salt water rinses (VERY gently), 1 cup water to 1 tsp salt, 5-6 times a day. (I also finally got to brush my front teeth!!! Brushed gently with Redmond EarthPaste™ and then rinsed with water.) And I iced. That afternoon, I got the expected low grade fever, which usually lasts 2 days for a wisdom tooth extraction. With oils? 2 HOURS! GONE! By night I was starting to ache, but we’d also had quite a bit of company, so I was pretty tired! I kept using oils and ice, and made it through. That night, I tried the essential oil equivalent of morphine: Idaho balsam fir, sacred frankincense, and copaiba. I didn’t notice any more pain relief than the initial pain-relieving blend I was using, and it smelled SO BAD that I had to mask it with Peppermint, but I slept soundly, so who knows…
Saturday: was a little better. I stopped using the orange and replaced it with peppermint, rubbed counterclockwise. I also used a digestive support blend (tarragon, ginger, juniper, anise, fennel, patchouli, peppermint, and lemongrass) after meals, to aid digestion, and rinsed once a day with a few tablespoons of water to 1 drop of my immune supportive blend (cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, rosemary) to kill bacteria and speed healing. I kept up with the pain-relieving blend and copaiba, and finished the last day of icing my cheeks.
Sunday: my pain was mostly gone! I was stiff and swollen, but I didn’t bruise and I never had to use the hot packs. I used little/no pain-relieving blend, and applied copaiba once or twice to speed healing. Kept up with “antibiotics” on my feet (immune support blend, oregano, melaleuca alternifolia (a.k.a. tea tree) ) and used peppermint when I felt queasy. (I believe Day 4 was when I reintroduced some chewable foods, like chunky soup)
Monday: a little swollen and stiff, but virtually no pain. Dissolving stitches look absolutely disgusting, but gums remain a healthy pink – yay! Also, the bad breath accompanying the extraction is subsiding, which is a pleasant relief 🙂 Used copaiba once, but no pain-relieving blend. Used peppermint on my stomach and rinsed with salt water after every meal (immune supportive essential oil rinse once) Ate some hot cereal, baked potatoes, even boiled chicken! On the verge of TMI, the upper gums still ooze a faintly pink, sticky discharge that tends to collect between my cheek/gums and on my back molars. I wiped it off with extra gauze and Q-Tips. Continued to gently brush with EarthPaste™ and rinse.
Tuesday: my sinuses feel tight, and my upper jaw’s a little puffy, but I’m back on my feet (I had minimal pain and was a little tired/dizzy while out-and-about)! I continue rinsing with salt water after every meal and apply my oils at night before bed, with the exception of peppermint, which I use on my stomach whenever I need (surgery does a number on my gut!)
Wednesday: Applied lemon oil to my wrists, and that nixed the dizziness. I put the immune supportive blend on my feet throughout the day and diffused. Felt well enough to go out and do volunteer work! Top stitches came out, but still waiting on the bottom ones, which are quickly dissolving. Before bed, I used the immune supportive blend, nutmeg, grapefruit (good for liver, which no doubt the surgery taxed), orange, and a little hormone supportive essential oil blend (containing clary sage, yarrow, lavender, jasmine, fennel, marjoram). I also applied copaiba to my cheeks.
Thursday (today): According to my instruction sheet that the doctor gave me, the holes at the incision sites should close within, mmm, 4-6 weeks? That is the average for one on pain killers, antibiotics, and steroids. On oils? It has been 1 week, and my holes are already closing! MY STITCHES ARE NOT EVEN ALL OUT YET! So, do you think essential oils are effective?
So there it is! To the best of my knowledge, that is the way my first week after wisdom teeth extraction went (my memories of the first few days are a little foggy, lol). I am functioning and quickly healing, and I did not need to take a single medication.