I mentioned the other day about coming to grips with the fact that I was going to get dentures. Molds of my mouth were taken and a new set of teeth was being fabricated. June 4th was the big Extraction Day and I would like to document the experience here while it’s still fresh in my mind.
I feel fortunate that this procedure was completed in a modern US facility. I spent much of the last couple of weeks thinking about how dental care has progressed over the previous centuries. I consider myself blessed that what I just went through didn’t have to be performed in medieval, third world conditions or after a collapse in our civilization.
The extraction was scheduled for 8AM on a Monday. To save us money, the dentist had prescribed an oral sedative (happy pill) that was to be taken one hour prior to the appointment time. Halcion .25mg to be exact. So at 7AM I took the pill and by 730AM it was having a slight effect… almost like the feeling you get right before you fall asleep.
We got to the dentist’s office and it looked like everyone was running a little late… I didn’t get into the chair until about 8:15 but when I did the pill was still working and I went into sort of a half-sleep. Even though I was anxious and apprehensive about this day, the pill brought me down enough to stay very relaxed.
It must have been around 9AM when the dentist and assistant came into the room. A topical anesthetic was rubbed onto my gums and the dentist made several injections of septocaine into the roof of my mouth and along the lower molar area, they left the room again and I think I heard the assistant say that I had just endured the worst part. When they returned I had no idea what time it was but my entire upper and lower jaw was numb. This seemed to be a much stronger anesthetic that I had ever been injected with before.
I kept my eyes closed during the entire extraction procedure. I don’t think the dentist had to use very many tools and, yes, I could feel him remove every tooth, 20 teeth to be exact. Most of them seemed to come out very easily but there were a couple teeth that put up some resistance. On the 1-to-10 pain scale, I would have to say that at no time did the pain go above a 2 while I was in the chair. Or to put it another way, the tooth pain I had been dealing with for last 25 years was much worse than this.
The dentist announced that he was all done and was placing the immediate dentures into my mouth.The assistant crammed a piece of gauze between them and told me to bite down. Still in a fog, they led me out to where my wife was waiting and told me to come back at noon the following day. It was 10:10AM… not too bad, about 2 hours total and most of that was spent in a sleepy haze watching “American Pickers”.
Still feeling no pain, I laid down when we got home and tried to sleep but could only catch cat naps. The blood was draining pretty good and my mouth was so numb that it felt like I couldn’t swallow. It took several hours for the septocaine to wear off. Once it did, the pain was very mild and was easily managed with ibuprofen. By late afternoon it was easy enough to swallow a bowl of Ramen with smashed noodles.
By 8AM the following morning, the bleeding had pretty much stopped and the dentures settled into place. There was very little pain. The top plate is hardly noticeable but the bottom plate was sort of loose and flopping around. It didn’t feel like the top and bottom plates were fitting together close enough to chew anything. I spent the morning trying to eat some solid food but wasn’t having any success.
The second dentist appointment arrived and I learned quite a bit more about the new teeth. The dentist checked my gums to see how they were healing and then had a technician help me “fit” the plates to my mouth by placing a soft temporary lining inside each plate. The plates were 1000 times more comfortable after that.
The rest of day 2 was spent practicing to chew and attempting to eat solid food. I know that sounds odd but there is definitely a trick to chewing and swallowing with these dentures that needs to be learned. Soft foods will be the main diet for a couple of weeks I’m sure.
I hope this helps someone that may be apprehensive about the process, I know I was. The pain after the extractions was minor and it was easily managed with OTC ibuprofen. Overall, I’m glad to have saved some money by not taking a different form of sedation and I’m also glad that a surgeon wasn’t required to perform the extractions. The dentist that is handling all this has a denture program with free visits and fittings for several years to come.